“Panel rules out untimeliness of appeal related to error in identification of movant"
"Company shall have time limit to bring appeal bond paid at lower amount into good standing"
“Dismissal of appeal due to incomplete number in the form for collection of costs"
"Error in filling out petition sent via Electronic Judicial Proceeding (PJe) does not invalidate examination of appeal"
“Panel rules out irregularity in power of attorney with expired term of duration”
“Attorney with power of attorney granted when he was an intern may represent company"
"Company demonstrates that it has not been summoned to prove payment of costs and rules out dismissal"
“Panel rules out default applied due to six minute delay at hearing"
All of the excerpts transcribed above have been circulated in the news section on the website of the Superior Labor Court (TST) in recent months. The professionals who have been litigating in the Labor Courts for some time know that decisions favoring greater reasonableness and flexibility in the application of procedural law were not common.
A few years ago, appeals were being seen as dismissed due to immaterial differences in the payment of the appeal bond, often in the amount of a few cents. Irregularities were found in procedural representation due to a lack of authentication on the copy of power of attorney submitted to the record. It was considered to be default by a company when it arrived a few minutes late for a hearing while the plaintiff was still testifying.
At the time, when attorneys were faced with these difficult circumstances, they sought aid in civil and federal case law, which had long seen in such situations, mere procedural "setbacks" perfectly curable in the name of the principles of instrumentality, reasonableness, and a full defense.
But then, what helped to make the understanding of the Labor Courts more flexible?
Certainly, the advent of the Code of Civil Procedure of 2015 and Normative Instruction No. 39 of the TST were of great importance in the process of adapting the application of procedural rules, especially to make cogent and codified principles previously ignored by the Superior Labor Court.
In other words, the new code of civil procedure, whose articles are applied in a subsidiary manner in labor procedure, has introduced rules that ease the formalities of procedural acts, thus allowing litigants to repair, in certain circumstances, any defects/errors. In this manner, formal prejudice is avoided with a view to the full delivery of an adjudication.
Another factor that may have influenced the flexibility of the exacerbated formalism was the implementation of the Electronic Judicial Proceeding (PJe), which considerably reduced case processing time.
The CNJ, in a very interesting research study commissioned by the FGV, showed that less than 25% of electronic proceedings exceed the four-year processing level, compared to 50% of proceedings in physical media.
Thus, some defects such as procedural representation, insufficient payment of costs, clerical mistakes in filling out court forms, among others, that previously could moot an analysis of the merits of the litigation and impact greatly on the length of the proceedings, and as a consequence, violate the principle of speed, today can be resolved in a few days and few clicks.
Nor can we ignore the fierce advocacy of lawyers who have relentlessly brought before the higher courts the catastrophic repercussions of this rigorous understanding for the parties, the proceedings, and, why not, the lawyers themselves.
The news highlighted at the beginning of this article indicates that labor procedure finally moves towards reasonableness, thus avoiding innocuous formalisms and ceasing to be an end in itself in order to meet the true social, political, and legal longings for which it was conceived.