We are a specialist infrastructure and construction law firm. Our breadth of expertise covers all sectors including oil & gas, energy, social infrastructure, transport, and water & waste. Within each of these sectors we have advised on large-scale projects including oil refineries, nuclear plants, airports, metro systems, ports, sanitation systems, highways, hospitals, railroads, etc.
Combining legal expertise with practical experience, we work closely with our clients, often at the site of their projects, to provide them with comprehensive support at every stage of their projects, both private and public.
We advise on various stages that may be relevant for the implementation of a project, assisting our clients with specific procedures for expressions of interest for projects, formulating bids for public and private tenders and in conceptualising, drafting and negotiating contracts.
We also defend our clients’ rights in relation to other contracting and third parties, assisting them with related discussions and negotiations.
After a contract has been signed, we assist our clients with the full range of issues that may arise on large projects such as delays, interruptions, variations, modifications, accelerations, “excessively onerous” obligations, contractual imbalance, penalties and suspension. We also advise on procedures relating to the termination of contracts and the various issues that may arise during this phase.
We also assist our clients in defending their legal rights which may involve, for example, receiving damages or orders for the renegotiation of contractual terms. In such cases, our focus is on clearly identifying all facts that harm the interests of our clients and demonstrating their legal and economic consequences.
We assist our clients with the critical analysis of loss calculations and with repricing, following budgeting guidelines accepted by specialised doctrine or recommended by the auditing entities to which the contract is subject.
Our focus is always to help our clients to find an amicable solution to any points of difference, but there are times when it is necessary to litigate in order to protect their interests. Where this is the case, we provide full support to our clients in a range of areas including disputes relating to construction contracts, bidding procedures, and also auditing and regulatory matters.
We have acted in the Supreme Federal Court and Superior Court of Justice, and regularly represent our clients in the federal, state and municipal courts. Our depth of experience enables us to provide strategic advice to our clients in relation to the potential actions of third parties, in particular, government bodies, and the impact of such actions on our clients’ projects. We also help our clients to comply with the various guidelines and directions issued by government bodies.
Compliance with environmental obligations in Brazil is a complicated process as the legal rules are very detailed and are continuously being updated. Adding to this complexity is the fact that the laws are enacted at federal, state, and municipal levels.
We make these legal rules as easy as possible for our clients to understand, in order to give our clients legal certainty in relation to their operations. We also work with our clients to find the most appropriate and cost-effective way for them to comply with their environmental obligations.
We assist our clients in discussions with governmental bodies regarding the environmental, social and cultural impact of their infrastructure projects and the rights of affected land owners and protected communities. We also advise our clients on how to proceed in relation to heritage and archaeological sites and environmentally protected areas, including assisting them with obtaining licenses where necessary.
We provide legal advice in relation to the structuring of mineral research and exploration projects. We also assist our clients in negotiating various types of contract including contracts for mining services and for the assignment and leasing of mineral rights. We also represent our clients in discussions with the relevant government authorities as well as in mining disputes.
We advise on public and private sector procurement processes, including the interpretation of rules of participation, preparation of documents and bids, and negotiation of contracts, among other things. In the case of public procurement, we provide full support throughout the process assisting with the preparation of objections to tenders, administrative appeals, responses to appeals filed by competitors, as well as carrying out any legal work in the courts that may become necessary during the process.
In Brazil, public projects are subject to internal and external audit to ensure that they are being carried out legally and cost-effectively. The bodies responsible for such audits have a key role in public infrastructure projects, as they can affect companies’ rights and obligations by establishing general guidelines to be followed by the public administration or issuing specific decisions for a particular project.
Understanding how such bodies operate and what impacts their actions can have on each type of project is fundamental in order to effectively and efficiently manage public projects.
We regularly represent clients in proceedings in the Brazilian Federal Audit Court (TCU) as well as in state and municipal audit courts. The firm has acted in several leading cases of the Federal Audit Court and other audit bodies as well as participating in important discussions concerning budgeting for public works and the legality of the contracting processes for some of the main infrastructure projects in Brazil.
We also act for clients in proceedings of other bodies such as the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Office of the Comptroller General.
Where the decisions of the audit bodies appear to be mistaken or overreach the competency of the body to the detriment of the client, we assist our clients with administrative appeals or judicial review of the decisions. These are effective measures to ensure just outcomes and avoid damages or the threat of damages to our clients.
The Brazilian Anti-Corruption Law triggered an increased awareness among business people of the importance of having compliance programs. At the same time, the Federal Office of the Comptroller General (CGU) made significant efforts to bring together the best compliance practices and set them as parameters for analysing the effectiveness of compliance programs.
However, the development and implementation of standardised compliance systems may result in additional operational costs that do not necessarily result in efficient compliance programs. The efficiency of the program relates much more to the way in which it is developed within the culture and structure of the company rather than from replicating models from other companies or countries.
From our vast experience acting in relation to federal audit bodies in Brazil, whose remit goes far beyond just corruption, we have acquired specialist expertise concerning the requirements of these bodies enabling us to effectively advise our clients on creating efficient and appropriate compliance programs for their specific needs.
In assisting our clients with their compliance programs, we generally start with the careful analysis of the company’s documentation, practices, systems, protocols and procedures in order to identify the existing management dynamics and the resources available. This information then forms the basis from which a relevant and effective compliance program can be outlined.
We also assist our clients in modifying their corporate documents, where necessary, in order to include bodies and people responsible for managing and monitoring the compliance program. We also help our clients in choosing the resources most appropriate for these programs. Furthermore, we provide support to clients in drafting the documentation of the compliance programs, such as a Code of Ethics, policies and rules for their relationship with the public sector, policies and rules for their relationship with suppliers, service providers, partners, stakeholders, etc.
We advise our clients on their interactions with other companies, as well as with regulatory bodies and other authorities thereby forming an integral part of their compliance system. The compliance support we provide includes assisting with ordinary communications between our clients and the regulators as well as with crisis management that may require internal audits and the adoption of specific strategies for interactions with authorities that may define the future of the company and its executives.
Rua Helena, 260, 11° Andar, Conjunto 114, Bairro Vila Olímpia
Edifício Atrium IV, São Paulo SP - CEP 04552-050
Tel: +55 11 4550 1667
Avenida Rio Branco, nº 147, Conjunto nº 1.101, Centro
Rio de Janeiro - RJ - CEP 20040-006 Tel/Fax: +55 21 3861-2150
Setor de Autarquias Sul, Quadra 05, Bloco K, Salas nº 512 a 517
Edifício OK Office Tower, Brasília - DF CEP 70070-050
Tel/Fax: +55 61 3213-0500
Rua dos Timbiras, nº 1.754, 12º, 13º e 17º andares, Bairro Lourdes,
Belo Horizonte - MG - CEP 30140-061
Tel/Fax: +55 31 3248-2300
1 Royal Exchange
London - EC3V 3DG
Tel: +44 (0) 20 3751 6285