CAIO MÁRIO DA SILVA PEREIRA was born in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, in 1913, into a family that had come from the northern part of the state, in the region of Diamantina and Serro. He was the oldest of four children born of his father’s second marriage. His father, Leopoldo da Silva Pereira, a teacher of Portuguese, Latin, French and geography, died while Caio Mário was still in his teens, so he had to work to help support his mother, Leonídia, raise the family. He took a law degree in Belo Horizonte and then began practicing law there and teaching at Minas Gerais Federal University Law School. In 1970 he moved to Rio de Janeiro, where he taught at the Rio de Janeiro Federal University Law School and continued practicing law as well.

He took a law degree in Belo Horizonte and then began practicing law there and teaching at Minas Gerais Federal University Law School. In 1970 he moved to Rio de Janeiro, where he taught at the Rio de Janeiro Federal University Law School and continued practicing law as well.

He married his cousin, Marina, in 1943. Their union produced four children: Clio, Tânia, Leopoldo and Sergio. He had the pleasure of seeing four of his many grandchildren and great-grandchildren follow his footsteps in various areas of the law.

The author of many legal works, and an active participant in public life, Caio Mário was dedicated to his work and family, with Marina by his side for over 60 years. She is referred to as his “esteemed companion and loving mother who always was at his side in the difficult moments, sharing his conquests and setbacks.” Few knew of this contribution, nurtured by beautiful poems written by her that depict the important moments of their life together. Some of them were gathered in a small work – Poemas – dedicated to family and friends.

Caio Mário mainly identified himself as a professor and lawyer, but found time to participate in strategic moments in Brazilian public life, where he served as Solicitor General of the Republic under President Jânio Quadros.

He is known nationally and internationally for his body of legal writings and for his work as a lawyer, including arguing many important cases in the highest courts. During the most repressive period of the military dictatorship (1975-77), he served as president of the Federal Board of the Brazilian Bar Association, and took a leading role in defending political prisoners.

His name went beyond borders. Few Brazilians have had the privilege of membership in the Academie Internationale de Droit Comparé (Paris). Crowning his international recognition as a jurist, in 1999 Caio Mário received the title of Doutor Honoris-causa from the University of Coimbra in Portugal.

He was even happier to become a member of the Minas Gerais Academy of Letters in 2001, in Chair 21, formerly held by is dear friend Hilton Ribeiro da Rocha. At that time he launched his work Algumas Lembranças (“Some Remembrances”), which according to him was the fruit of a “moment of reflection and lucidity in the face of historical facts I have followed from afar and other political moments that I experienced intensely.”

Concerned with the new routes being taken by Brazilian law, he systematized in Manuscritos his comments on the bill that led to the new Civil Code (eventually enacted in 2002), particularly after 1984. His Instituições were updated with the help of young jurists under his guidance and oriented by the new paradigms of modern civil law.

Caio Mário died on January 27, 2004, at the age of 90, surrounded by his children and grandchildren. His lessons live on in his works and the daily example he set of high ethics and independent spirit.

Although he lived through moments of conflict, like the 1930 Revolution, the Second World War and the military dictatorship, for him ideological radicalism and religious fundamentalism must not be allowed to encroach on the democratic regime that we have rebuilt with sacrifice. His concern with preserving the Democratic State of Law, Justice and Freedom always served, and continues to serve, as an example to all those who admire him as a legal scholar.