Superior courts are considered the third instance, although this degree of hierarchy does not formally exist in the Judiciary Porder. Decisions taken at first and second instance may be reviewed by higher courts, through appeal. There are those who refer to the Federal Supreme Court (STF) as an extraordinary instance, as it is the highest Court of the Judiciaion, whose final decisions cannot be appealed to any other Body.
Briefly, see below what the superior courts are and what they do.
The higher courts are: the Federal Supreme Court (STF), the Superior Court of Justice (STJ), the Superior Labor Court (TST), the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) and the Superior Military Court (STM). These bodies represent the third and last instance of the Judiciary, acting in cases of original competence (appeals that start in the court itself) or as reviewers of decisions of the first and second instances (state courts and TRFs, respectively).
The judges who work in the higher courts are called ministers and all of them are appointed by the President of the Republic and previously approved by the Federal Senate.
STF – Highest body of the Judiciary, the Supreme is composed of eleven ministers. It is incumbent upon the STF to judge the so-called direct actions of unconstitutionality, a specific legal instrument to challenge the constitutionality of a federal or state law or normative act; consider extradition requests requested by a foreign State; and judge the habeas corpus request of any Brazilian citizen.
STJ – It is the last instance of the Brazilian Justice for infra-constitutional causes (not directly related to the Federal Constitution ), responsible for uniforming, standardizing, the interpretation of the Constitution throughout Brazil. It is composed of 33 justices appointed by the President of the Republic from a triple list prepared by the STJ itself. As a body, the STJ considers resources coming from common Justice (state and federal). Its competence is provided for in art. 105 of the Federal Constitution , which establishes which cases can be initiated in the STJ (originating) and those in which the court acts as a reviewing body, including judgments on special appeals.
It is important to note that the STJ is also competent to judge cases arising from the State Military Courts of Justice (and not the STM, as it may seem at first glance).
TST – Has the function of standardizing decisions on labor claims, consolidating jurisprudence (repetition of court decisions on the same subject). There are 27 ministers chosen from Brazilians over 35 and under 65, appointed by the President of the Republic after approval by the absolute majority of the Federal Senate.
Various types of proceedings are judged at the TST, such as: review appeals, ordinary appeals and instrument appeals against TRT decisions and collective bargaining of categories organized at the national level, in addition to writs of mandamus, embargoes opposed to its decisions and rescission actions.
TSE – It is the highest body of the Electoral Justice, composed of seven members, with terms of two years each, three ministers of the STF, two ministers of the STJ and two lawyers. It is incumbent upon the TSE, among other attributions provided for in the Electoral Code , to judge appeals resulting from the decisions of the regional electoral courts (TREs), including on administrative matters.
STM – Composed of 15 ministers for life. Three of them are chosen from among Navy squadron admirals, four from among Army general officers, three from Air Force air brigadier lieutenants, and five civil ministers. It is important to emphasize that, although it is a superior court, there is a review of the processes finalized in the Federal Military Justice, since the body also functions as a second degree of this branch of the Judiciary.