“São Paulo isn’t a name that immediately springs to mind when you think about international disputes,” says a senior arbitration partner at a top U.K. law firm. “But it will be.” 

On March 19, 2020, the sprawling Brazilian city of São Paulo introduced a new law designed to encourage warring parties to avoid the courts, to reduce litigation, and shrink the number of judicial lawsuits making their costly passage through local courts. This is just the latest move in a string of late legislative developments that have propelled the city’s disputes community to international notability.