STJ Allows for the Disregard of Legal Personality of Civil Associations


The disregard of the legal personality of a civil association was a topic of discussion in the Third Panel of the Superior Court of Justice. Unanimously, it was decided that such a measure is admissible, but its application should be restricted to the leaders of the entity, sparing the other members who have little influence on the committed irregularities.

The case in question involved a civil association that was ordered to pay compensation for the unauthorized use of a trademark. Given the impossibility of obtaining the necessary resources from the association, the court of first instance authorized the disregard of the legal personality to seize the assets of its leaders. The Court of Justice of the Federal District upheld this decision, claiming abuse of legal personality, commingling of assets, and deviation of purpose.

The rapporteur of the appeal at the STJ, Minister Marco Aurélio Bellizze, highlighted that the disregard of the legal personality was created to solve situations where the purpose of the legal entity diverges from that provided by law. Even without specific rules for civil associations in the legislation, he argued that the institute could be applied in these cases, but with caution, due to the large number of members and the difference between the position of management of the entity and that of mere membership.

Bellizze emphasized that the disregard of the legal personality of civil associations should not affect all members, but only those in positions of power in the conduct of the entity. This is justified to prevent many members from being held responsible for illicit acts of which they had little participation. He emphasized that the legal requirements (article 50 of the Civil Code) for disregard must be strictly observed.

In summary, the decision of the Third Panel of the STJ established that the disregard of the legal personality of civil associations is possible, however, its application is limited to the leaders of the entity, protecting the other members who do not play significant roles in the management and decisions of the association. This measure aims to ensure that the financial responsibility falls only on those who actually contributed to irregular practices.


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