Region Western and Central Europe

National Report

Summary of Contents


Portugal has been an independent country since 1143[1].

In 1911, it was declared as a unitary State organized under a republican form of government[2], thus abandoning the monarchic regime under which it was ruled since its foundation.

By the Constitution of 10 April 1976, it became a semi-presidential representative democratic republic “based on the dignity of the human person and the will of the people” “committed to building a free, just and solidary society”[3].

The Portuguese Republic was, then, established “on the rule of law, the sovereignty of the people, plural democratic expression and political organisation, respect for and the guarantee of the effective implementation of the fundamental rights and freedoms, and the separation and interdependence of powers, with a view to achieving economic, social and cultural democracy and deepening participatory democracy”[4].

It comprises the territory on the European mainland and the Azores and Madeira archipelagos.

The unitary organization and functioning of the state respects “the autonomous island system of self-government and the principles of subsidiarity, the autonomy of local authorities and the democratic decentralisation of the Public Administration”[5].

The Azores and Madeira archipelagos are autonomous regions with their own political and administrative statutes and self-government institutions[6].

“The validity of laws and other acts of the state, the autonomous regions, local government and any other public entities is dependent on their conformity with the Constitution”[7].

The Portuguese population is 10.3 million being 13 per cent aged 0-14,15 per cent aged 10-24, 65 per cent aged 15-64 and 22 per cent aged 65 and older[8].

Life expectancy is 82 years, both men and women.

95% of the population is ethnically Portuguese. The remaining 5% is composed by small ethnic groups that include Africans – especially from Cape Verde –, Brazilians, Han Chinese, Marrano and Gypsies.

The official language is Portuguese. There are some dialects and non-official and locally or ethnically spoken languages[9].

According to the 2011 Census of the National Statistic Institute – there were, in Portugal, among the population interviewed, 7.281.887 Catholics,         56.550 Orthodox, 75.571 Protestants, 163.338 Other Christians, 3.061  Jews, 20.640 Muslims, 28.596 Other Non-Christians and 615.332 with No Religion. 744.874 gave no answer.

The gross domestic product (GDP) for the last ten years was the following (in million of Euros): 2009 – 175.416,4; 2010 – 179.610,8; 2011 – 176.096; 2012 – 168.295,6; 2013 -170.492,3; 2014 – 173.053,7; 2015 – 179.713,2; 2016 – 186.489,8; 2017 – 195.947,2; 2018 – 204.304,8; 2019 – 212.302,8.

The Gross national income per capita – GNI (PPP) – referred to 2018 was 27,935 [10].

Chart 01. Portugal GDP

The Coefficient of human inequality reported to 2018 was 12.4 and the inequality percentage in life expectancy as to the period comprehended between the year 2015 and the year 2020 was 3.5%.

Life expectancy at birth was 81.8 in 2018[11].

The expected years of schooling in same time period were 16.3 and the mean years of schooling 9.2[12].

The Human development index (HDI) was, in 2018, 0.850[13].


3.1. Criminal Procedure[1]

The criminal investigation process in Portugal is, by law, committed to the Public Prosecutor’s Office[2].

The Office can delegate on the police forces the task of investigating criminal activities.

Certain types of crime, namely the most serious, are, by law, committed to the Judiciary Police which, however, reports to the Prosecutor´s Office.

The process starts with the knowledge of the crime or foul play. With this information, a public prosecutor will determine which police force will carry out the investigation or if the investigation will take place in house (run personally by him).

The public prosecutor will determine which actions are to take place in each procedure and define the time frame in which they will take place. At the end of the given time, the procedure will come back to the hands of the prosecutor and he, in turn, will determine if there is any need for further investigations and, in this case, which ones. If there is no need for further investigations the prosecutor can: (a) make an accusation; (b) dismiss the case; (c) propose a stay of accusation with probation.

There is no difference in proceedings whether the suspect is detained or not.

The only difference is that if one is arrested the time to complete the investigation is significantly shorter than if there is no one under arrest. Cases in which the defendant is under preventive arrest take precedence over the others.

During the investigation phase, the suspect can be detained for up to 48 hours by order of the police or public prosecutor with the purpose of being arraigned before a judge. The suspect will be presented along with all the evidence collected so far.

The prosecutor will make a summation of all the discovery carried out and present the evidence that supports his findings.

The defendant, in turn, will have the right to review the evidence, hire a lawyer or have one provided by the court, and be heard by a judge.

The 48 hours limit is not the time for the court to decide the fate of the defendant but rather the time the prosecutor has to present the suspect before the court. It is up to the judge to decide how long the defence has before the suspect is called to answer.

Only a judge can order an arrest.

Police and prosecutors can only detain or determine the detention of citizens up to 48 hours, in order to subject them to a summary trial or to appear before a judge that will decide which measures to take (there are exceptions to this rule: authorities can detain an individual for up to 48 hours for identification purposes; a detention can be ordered to present an individual before a judge or a prosecutor in a pending case but then it can not be for more than 24 hours).

Again. This time frame is only to present the suspect before the court or the prosecutor. Once the presentation takes place, i.e., once the suspect is out of police custody, the 48 hours limit no longer apply.

A detention can take place if a crime punishable with prison is being committed or has just been committed.

In this case, any member of a police force, prosecutor or judge can enforce the detention. A private citizen can also make the detention if there is urgency and the police can not be called in time. In this case, the detained must be handed over to the authorities as soon as they present themselves.

If the crime committed requires a complaint by the victim, the detention will only last if the victim declares that he/she wants the criminal procedure to go forward. Otherwise, the detainee is released.

If a crime is not being committed or has just been committed, the detention can only take place under a warrant issued by a judge or a prosecutor if:

(a) There is reason to believe that the suspect would not appear before the court or prosecutor in the time that it would be given to do so;

(b) When there is a risk of flight, risk of destruction of evidence, witness tampering or any sort of investigation tampering or when the crime is such that, by its nature, there is a severe risk of civil unrest or social alarm or the probability of the continuation of the said criminal activity and the detention is the only way to ensure that that does not happen;

(c) When the detention is paramount to the victim’s protection.

Police forces can also order detention on their own accord when the crime allows for preventive arrest, there are sure signs of flight or risk of flight, danger of upsetting the investigation, namely danger on acquiring retaining or maintaining the veracity of the evidence or danger, with regards to the nature and circumstances of the crime or the personality of the defendant, that he continues the criminal activity or seriously disturbs public order or tranquillity.

Once presented to a judge the detainee will be heard in the presence of the prosecutor in charge of the case and his lawyer.

He will be confronted with the gathered evidence and given a chance to tell his side of the story. He can also, should he choose, remain silent. Silence is not an admission of guilt or anything else. Silence is not valued in either way. However, statements given to police by the defendant after being informed of its rights can be used by the judge.

The proceedings are recorded in an audio file and can be used as evidence later on. For that to happen the judge informs the defendant of the fact that it is being recorded and that the file can be used in the investigation phase or the trial should it come to that.

Having heard the defendant, the judge then hears the prosecutor and the defence lawyer which will propose the way which they think the defendant will wait out the rest of the procedure.

The judge has a vast array of measures which he can apply that range from being released with no more than giving one’s address to pre-trial detention.

Such detention can only be enforced if:

(a) All other measures are deemed inadequate;

(b) It is proportional to the severity of the crime and the foreseeable sanctions it carries;

(c) When there is a strong suspicion that the defendant has committed a crime with intention punishable with a prison sentence of a maximum of 5 years incarceration;

(d) When there is a strong suspicion that the defendant has committed a crime that falls within the “violent crime” notion;

(e) When there is a strong suspicion that the defendant has committed a crime of terrorism or that falls within the notion of highly organized crime and is punishable with a prison sentence of more than 3 years;

(f) When there is a strong suspicion that the defendant has committed an intentional crime of qualified bodily harm, qualified theft, qualified damage, fencing, deceiving with recourse to Information Technology (IT) or communications, forgery of documents, attack on road transports, punishable with a maximum of 3 years in prison;

(g) When there is a strong suspicion that the defendant has committed an intentional crime of detention of an illegal weapon or other devices, products or substances in prohibited locations or has committed the crime using a weapon according to the Weapons and Munitions Act, punishable with prison of more than 3 years;

(h) If the defendant is someone who has entered or remained irregularly in the national territory or has an expulsion or extradition process running against him or her;

(i) There is:

(i.a) Flight or risk of flight;

(i.b) Danger of upsetting the investigation, namely danger of acquiring retaining or maintaining the veracity of the evidence; or

(i.c) Danger, with regards to the nature and circumstances of the crime or the personality of the defendant, that he continues the criminal activity or gravely upsets public order or tranquillity.

Pre-trial detention is subject to strict timelines which can not be surpassed. These vary with the phase of the procedure and type of crime.

These are (counting from the day it was enforced):


(a) 4 months without an accusation brought forth;

(b) 8 months, the defendant asked for a judicial review of the accusation and one has not been produced;

(c) One year and two months without a sentence in the first instance;

(d) One year and six months without a definitive conviction;

(2) The deadlines above are augmented respectively to six months, ten months, one year and six months and two years in cases of terrorism, violent or highly organized criminality or when the procedure relates to crimes punishable by 8 years incarceration or more or crimes of:

(a) Criminal association, forging of evidence or documents pertaining to the relations of the Portuguese Republic with other states or organizations and that are able to damage the national interests, diplomatic infidelity, inciting to war or violence in the country, connecting to foreign governments or authorities in order to subvert constitutional stability, coerce through violence or menace the workings of a constitutional body or a minister of the Republic, maintaining intelligence trade with foreign governments or entities in order to declare war or remaining neutral, change the neutrality status or allow a foreign state the chance to dictate national policy in such a way that it threatens National Independence or territorial integrity and damages military bases and installations;

(b) Car theft and car document forgery as well as car forgery;

(c) Money forgery, credit card forgery, seal forgery and respective transmission;

(d) Swindle, ruinous administration of public and cooperative assets, forgery, corruption and embezzlement;

(e) Money laundering of illicit gains;

(f) Fraud in acquiring or moving subsidies or grants;

(g) Crimes that fall under the air and maritime security conventions.

(3) The deadlines referred in item 1 are augmented respectively to one year, one year and four months, two years and six months and three years and for months when the procedure is by one of the crimes referred in item 2 and it reveals itself to be of exceptional complexity due, namely, to the number of defendants involved, the number of people affected or the highly organized nature of the crime.

The deadlines referred in (c) and (d) of item 1 as well as the deadlines referred in items 2 and 3 are augmented by six months if there is an appeal to the Constitutional Court or the procedure is suspended due to a trial on another court that is prejudicial to the one in which the preventive arrest has been ordered.

Should the defendant be convicted in first instance and if the sentence is upheld by a higher court, the maximum period for arrest becomes half of the confirmed time to serve.

The law defines the time the State has to investigate and produce a final decision in a criminal procedure.

In fact the Criminal Procedure Code (Article 276º) states that:

(1) The Prosecutor’s Office closes the procedure, dismissing it or bringing charges, in a maximum span of six months if there are defendants remanded in custody or under house arrest or within eight months in all other cases.

(2) The six month period is changed to:

(a) Eight months if the procedure pertains to crimes of terrorism, violent or highly organized criminality or when the procedure relates to crimes punishable by 8 years incarceration or more or crimes of criminal association, forging of evidence or documents referred to the relations of the Portuguese Republic with other states or organizations and that are able to damage the national interests, diplomatic infidelity, inciting to war or violence in the country, connecting to foreign governments or authorities in order to subvert constitutional stability,  coerce through violence or menace the workings of a constitutional body or a minister of the Republic, maintaining intelligence trade with foreign governments or entities in order to declare war or remaining neutral, change the neutrality status or allow a foreign state the chance to dictate national policy in such a way that it threatens National Independence or territorial integrity and damages in military bases and installations, car theft and car document forgery as well as car forgery, money forgery, credit card forgery, seal forgery a respective transmission of swindles, ruinous administration of public and cooperative assets, forgery, corruption and embezzlement, money laundering of illicit gains, fraud in acquiring or moving subsidies or grants, crimes that fall under the air and maritime security conventions;

(b) Ten months when, regardless of the crime, the procedure presents itself as highly complex in accordance to the final part of article 215-3, that is, due to the high number of defendants or victims or the highly organized nature of the crime;

(c) Twelve months when the procedure is highly complex and it refers to one of the crimes referred to in (a);

(3) The eight months period referred above is heightened to:

(a) 14 months when the procedure relates to one of the crimes referred to in item 2 (a);

(b) 16 months when regardless of the crime the procedure presents itself as highly complex in accordance to the final part of article 215-3, that is due to the high number of defendants or victims or the highly organized nature of the crime.

(c) 18 months when the procedure is highly complex and refers to one of the crimes mentioned in item 2 (a).

Although the law stipulates these deadlines the Portuguese Constitutional Court has maintained that such deadlines, if breached, do not carry any annulment of the procedure[3].

Chart 03. Main steps of the criminal investigation procedure

The investigation ends either with an indictment, a dismissal or with a stay of the indictment.

Only with an indictment does the procedure enter its judicial phase.

The indictment can be made either by the prosecutor´s office or by the assistant.

The prosecutor´s office produces delivers an indictment if:

(a) There is sufficient evidence that a crime has been committed;

(b) The perpetrator’s identity is known; and

(c) The crime pursued is that of a public or semi-public nature, that is to say, if the crimes are such that the law does not require a complaint for the State to pursue it (e.g. murder, corruption) or if it only requires the victim to press charges (e.g. theft, assault, rape).

The law specifies in which cases it’s necessary the pressing of charges and in which cases the crime is of a particular nature, in which case a complaint is necessary along with the assumption of the role of assistant.

All cases in relation to which no indication is given as to their nature have public nature.

Crimes of particular nature are those that need an indictment by the assistant and not the prosecutor (e.g. crimes of slander or insult or even theft amongst close family members).

An assistant is a person who has a particular interest in the case and, in crimes of particular nature, that has to produce an indictment.

After the production of an indictment there are two possible courses of action:

(a) The accused or the assistant (in crimes of public or semi-public nature) believe that the investigation phase did not yield the facts that the prosecutor translated into the indictment, in which case they can apply for the opening of the instruction phase;

(b) Nothing is required and the procedure moves forward to the trial phase.

The instruction phase is an optional phase in the criminal procedure where the interested parties (accused or assistant) can ask a judge to oversee the investigation phase and determine if all the legal procedures were correctly followed and if all the evidence has been correctly appreciated.

It does not imply, however, a repetition of all the steps that took place in the previous phase. It does, however, call for a second look on those. In the instruction phase, new evidence can be introduced or produced in the proceedings.

In the end, after hearing the interested parties (prosecutor included) the judge will produce a ruling called the pronunciation brief.

In it he can:

(a) Confirm the indictment in which case the procedure goes to the trial phase;

(b) Dismiss the case either because the evidence in play at the end of the investigation phase was not enough to secure a conviction were it to be replayed in court or because the new evidence presented was such that the conviction that existed in the end of the investigation phase can no longer be upheld and, instead, makes the judge lean toward a dismissal;

(c) Change the indictment in such a way that it represents a lesser charge than the one that formed the initial indictment;

(d) Send the procedure back to the previous phase if he finds that the events in question in the previous phase were of a different and more serious nature than what is depicted in the indictment[4].

The indictment will be the basis of the trial.

The court is bounded by it. It can not collect evidence as to other deeds or crimes committed by the defendant that are not in play.

The court is free to investigate as it deems fit all the facts and happenings that led or that derived from the “piece of life” under trial and that the indictment encompasses.

The notion of the “piece of life” calls up the notion that one is trying to make sense of a series of events that led up to a result or a situation that is deemed criminal (e.g. while trying a murder it is legitimate to investigate the facts that led up to it, the motives, the actions prior to the deed). All of this is within the scope of the investigative powers of the court. The prosecutor, the defence lawyer and the assistant’s lawyer can also contribute to the presenting of evidence as well as bring forward new evidence.

It is up to the court to rule on the need to produce evidence other than the one that exists in the indictment, the defence brief or the assistant´s brief.

Once the indictment is received, the judge to which the case is assigned will assess if the indictment and the procedure itself is in a condition that it can be tried (e.g. if the defendant is of age or if he was duly informed of the indictment or even if the court is the right one to try the case).

Assuming that nothing stands in the way to set a date for the trial, the judge will give the defendant the chance to contest the indictment and present the evidence he deems necessary to make his defence. The same opportunity will be given to the assistant.

Both the assistant and the defendant can call up new witnesses, present new evidence or ask the court to order the production of any evidence (e.g. ask for documents which are kept by the government or ask for DNA testing). The court can only refuse the evidence presented or asked for if it deems it to be of no interest or of difficult acquisition.

As a rule, the courts do not refuse such requests. The prosecutor, however, cannot ask for more evidence at this stage as it had the opportunity to previously acquire it during the investigative phase.

Having decided upon the requests made and having carried them out, the judge will set a trial date. If the judge sees that the hearing can not take place in one session he will set up as many trial dates as he sees fit. Sometimes new dates are scheduled as the hearing progresses.

At the hearing you will find the judge (or three judges if the crime or crimes demand a maximum sentence of over 5 years imprisonment)[5], the public prosecutor, the defence lawyer and the court clerk.

The presence of the accused is not mandatory as trials in absentia are allowed.

For a trial in absentia to take place the defendant must be warned in advance that that is a possibility. In fact when someone is informed that there is a criminal procedure against him he is also informed, in writing, of all his rights. He is also informed that he must provide an address and that all the notifications will be sent to the said address. At the same time, he is informed that should he fail a court appearance he can be tried in absentia and that the court ruling taken in his absence is legally binding.

If, for some reason, this information is not given, the trial cannot take place without the presence of the defendant.

The court will always try to bring the defendant to the trial and hear his side of the facts. Nevertheless, if it fails, the hearing will take place anyway.

A defence lawyer will always be present. Nothing is done without him and even if the defendant is not present the lawyer has full powers regarding the defence he wishes to perform.

If a person is judged in absentia, however, the judgment has to be served on him. Only when the sentence is known to him (and his lawyer) does the term of appeal begin, no matter how long ago the trial took place.

The trial will start with the hearing of the prosecutor, the assistant and the defence lawyer on opening statements if they wish so.

Afterwards, the court will read out the indictment and hear the accused if he wishes to talk about it. The accused can opt not to speak and remain silent. Silence can not be held against him. It is not considered a manifestation of guilt or acquiescence to anything.

The court will then hear the witnesses, beginning with those presented by the prosecutor followed by the assistant witnesses and, finally, the witnesses presented by the defendant.

Another type of evidence, such as documents, expert analysis or phone taps are already in the procedure and do not need to be renewed. However they can be called into question by the prosecutor, the assistant or the defendant. The judges are also duty-bound to find out what the law calls “the material truth”. So they can not stand idly by, must be a part of the fact-finding and must do everything in their power so that the trial does not end in doubt since, when in doubt, the decision should favour the defendant (in dubio pro reo).

During the trial, the court will also hear, if deemed necessary, the social technician that has produced a social report and who has accompanied the defendant during this period and can shed some light into his life and social interaction. This is most important in the sentencing phase where it is taken into account. The inclusion of a social report is mandatory if the defendant is under 21.

Every facet of the procedure, the trial included, is characterized by the principle of contradictory, that is to say, that no ruling or decision can be rendered without first hearing all parties concerned on the matter.

Trial finishes with closing arguments by all parties where they summarize what has happened during trial and suggest a course of action to the court.

The last act of trial is the final statement by the defendant where he can say what he pleases about the indictment and the procedures.

Then, the judge(s) withdraw to prepare the sentence.

Sentencing normally takes place one to two weeks after the end of the trial. Sometimes, nonetheless, due to the dimension of the procedure and the amount of evidence, sentences take longer. The court sets up the date for the reading of the judgment.

In it the court states which facts considers to be proven and those that were alleged but not established explaining why it found some facts to be true and others not proven by reference to the evidence presented before it. Only evidence presented before the court can be taken into account in the sentence. Courts follow the rule “quod non est in actiis non est in mundo” (which is not in the procedure does not exist).

Sentencing continues with the court explaining how the facts it held up to be true constitute a crime. In such a case, a conviction follows. If the facts do not add up to a crime an acquittal ensues.

If the court finds a crime has been committed by the defendant it will then find the scope and measure of the penalty.

The law defines the minimum and maximum of the penalty for each crime. It is up to the court, following guidelines set up by the law, to determine what type of punishment will take place and for how long.

Verdicts can range between a simple admonition to up to 25 years imprisonment. In between, there are sentences of probation, fines or suspended judgements…

If any interested party (be it the prosecutor, the assistant, or the defendant) do not agree with the court ruling they can appeal.

As a rule of thumb, any decision taken by the court can be appealed (only rulings that don´t affect the standing of the parties involved cannot be appealed).

Appeals are submitted to the Appeal Court.

There are five Appeal Courts located in Lisbon, Oporto, Coimbra, Évora and Guimarães.

These Appeal Courts can rule both on matters of fact and matters of law.

An appeal exists only to remedy an error in the previous decision. Therefore, the appellant needs to show the wrongness before the higher court. To do so, he must call on the evidence (which is recorded in full, since the trial is registered in an audio file). He cannot simply say that the ruling is wrong; he needs to demonstrate it is so.

The appellant can also dispute matters of law and on that, he will be heard.

If discontent with the Appeal Court ruling the party can appeal to the Supreme Court of Justice.

This Court only hears cases where the defendant has been convicted in a prison sentence of 8 years or more or has been acquitted of a crime that carries such a punishment. The Supreme Court, also, only deals with matters of law (there are some exceptions to this rule and they refer to situations where the Appeal Court acts as the first instance: e.g. when a prosecutor is on trial).

There are no differences in proceedings where the accused is and is not arrested/detained. In these cases, as highlighted in the previous chapter, the deadlines are greatly diminished and cases where the defendant is arrested or under house arrest take precedent in the courts, but that is all. Rights and proceeding are the same.

As to the previous phase, we have stated in which situations an arrest is allowed. They are exactly the same in this phase of the proceedings. The only difference is that, at this stage, the judge can, by himself, order an arrest and does not have to wait for the prosecutor’s suggestion to do so.

There is no deadline for completing criminal prosecution proceedings except for the statute of limitations that each crime ensues. However, Portugal has been, in the past, convicted by the European Court of Human Rights for unduly prolonging the duration of proceedings.

Portugal is a country that follows the rule of law and respects due process. The Criminal Procedure Code sanctions most deviations from the due process with the nullity of the act and orders it’s repetition and the repetition of the acts that depend on it.

The Constitutional Court has, over the years, enforced a reading of the law enlightened by the principles of human rights and due process.

Portugal ratified the European Convention on Human Rights on November 9, 1978, the date on which the Convention entered into force in the Portuguese legal system. The Convention is, therefore, binding on the Portuguese State and a source of obligations that must be fulfilled domestically, under penalty of international liability.

Portugal was, in 2019, convicted 8 times by the European Court of Human Rights. Those convictions regarded[6]:

(a) Lack of effective investigation (1);

(b) Inhuman or degrading treatment (1);

(c) Right to a fair trial (1);

(d) Length of proceedings (1);

(e) Right of respect for private and family life (1);

(f) Freedom of expression (3).

Therefore, of the 8 convictions suffered by Portugal in 2019, 3 were because or related to due process of law.

Chart 04. Main steps of the criminal procedure

3.2. Civil Procedure

In Portugal, the expression ‘civil procedure’ corresponds to a precise and strict meaning and not to an all-embracing non-criminal procedure. It does not include administrative, labour, immigration or social welfare cases.

Nonetheless, the rules contained in the Civil Procedure Code are subsidiarily applicable when other procedural rulings have no specific answer to a concrete regulatory need.

The national civil procedure stand on the conception that to any right must correspond the appropriate action in order to have it recognized in court, to prevent or repair its violation and to perform it coercively, as well as the necessary procedures to safeguard the useful effects of the action.

For this effect, it comprehends declaratory and enforcement proceedings.

At the moment of the allocation of civil cases between the judges, there are the following species of procedures:

(1) Common process actions;

(2) Special actions to fulfil pecuniary obligations arising from contracts and actions under the special eviction procedure;

(3) Special process actions;

(4) Divorce and separation without the consent of the other spouse;

(5) Enforcements;

(6) Enforcements for judicial costs, fines or other amounts defined in a judicial account;

(7) Insolvency proceedings;

(8) Special insolvency proceedings.

When deciding family law cases, the Courts apply the Civil Procedure Code.

Labour cases are submitted to the Labour Procedural Code[7]. It rules the following procedures:

(1) Common process actions;

(2) Actions for judicial challenge of the regularity and lawfulness of the dismissal;

(3) Actions emerging from work accidents;

(4) Actions emerging from work diseases;

(5) Actions to challenge collective dismissal;

(6) Actions to collect debts resulting from the provision of health services or any other comprehended in the jurisdiction of the labour courts;

(7) Precautionary procedures;

(8) Special litigation procedures of the welfare institutions;

(9) Actions of a union nature without a criminal character;

(10) Enforcements not based on a judgment.

The Civil Procedure Code is applicable to labour law cases where there is a direct legal remission in the Labour Procedure Code or where no specific labour procedure regulation is found.

In the Portuguese system, administrative law is outside of the civil order.

Anyway, since the present enquiry assumes such an inclusion considering the systems of some participant States, it must be said that the jurisdiction, in administrative matters, is exercised making use of a fully autonomous administrative procedure code[8].

There is a main declaratory procedure for civil trial or “first instance” hearing that is called “common action”.

Several special declaratory procedures envisage to allow the protection of specific rights.

There are preliminary procedures for urgent matters. Some are specific, oriented to legally indicated objectives, and one is general, intended to be used where there is no special precautionary procedure applicable.

Except in particular situations, expressly evaluated and declared by a judge, the urgent procedures require a posterior action for the definitive declaration of the rights protected.

Generally, in order to a preliminary proceeding being admitted, it is necessary to show a well-founded fear that someone will cause serious and difficult to repair injury to a right (periculum in mora).

The evidence is evaluated in light terms (summaria cognitio).

The preliminary protection is granted if there is an appearance of a well founded case (“fumus boni juris”).

It is up to the parties to bring to the case the essential facts that constitute the cause of action and those on which they base any exception invoked.

In addition to the facts brought by the parties, the judge also considers the instrumental facts that result from the taking of evidence, the facts that complement or materialize those that the parties have alleged and result from the investigation of case, provided that the opposite part has the opportunity to comment on them, the notorious facts and those of which the court is aware by virtue of the exercise of its own functions.

The judge is not subject to the parties’ allegations regarding the inquiry, interpretation and application the rules of law.

It is the duty of the judge, without prejudice to the burden of impulse specially imposed by law to the parties, to actively participate in the process and provide for its speedy progress, officially promoting the necessary steps for the normal course of the action, refusing what might be impertinent or dilatory and, after hearing the parties, adopting simplification and streamlining mechanisms that guarantee the fair composition of the dispute within a reasonable time.

The judge officially takes care of the lack of procedural requirements susceptible of remedy, determining the performance of the acts necessary to regularize the instance or, when the remedy depends on an act that must be performed by the parties, inviting them to practice it.

When conducting and intervening in the process, the judges, the parties and their judicial representatives (lawyers) must cooperate with each other, helping to obtain, quickly and effectively, the fair composition of the dispute.

The judge may, at any time during the proceedings, hear the parties and their representatives, inviting them to provide clarifications on the factual or legal matters deemed as relevant, making the other party aware of the results of that initiative.

The parties have to be represented by a lawyer if the value of the case is superior to 5.000,00 EUR or if the procedure always admit an appeal. Such a representation must always exist in the case of an appeal or litigation before a superior court. In the any other situation, the parties can choose if they want to appear alone or represented by a legal professional.

All the citizens that fulfil the legal requisites can have a lawyer appointed under the national legal aid system.

As to the common action, there are two compulsory settlement audiences: one after the application and defence submissions, at the preliminary audience, and the other at the beginning of the trial.

In the event of a settlement by any co-plaintiff or co-defendant, those who enter in a compromise benefit from a 50% reduction of judicial costs.

Chart 05. The common civil procedure in Portugal

The Portuguese civil legal system is a rule of law compliant system, inserted in the EU law demands on this field, that respects due process.

Anyway, it is not exempt from having rulings, practices and mechanisms that deserve better drawing and improvement. Sometimes, flaws are pointed to the system by the European Court of Human Rights[9].

3.3. Alternative Dispute Resolution

In Portugal, the State’s formal judicial machinery represents the core and, by far, most important structure for the dispute resolution.

Nonetheless, the relevance of alternative methods is gradually increasing, this way looking for shortening the length of time consumed by the judicial proceedings, making the system lighter and more adapted to the different types of conflicts and reducing litigation costs.

Both civil society and the government have been encouraging the promotion of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) through arbitration, mediation, conciliation and resolution of conflicts by Justices of the Peace.

In this field, the Office for Alternative Dispute Resolution, a department of the Ministry of Justice exclusively dedicated to ADR ‘is in charge of developing the necessary actions, as regards out-of-court dispute resolution, such as: support the implementation and functioning of out-of-court dispute resolution means, in particular, mediation, conciliation and arbitration; promote the implementation and support the functioning of arbitration centres, of   the justice of the peace and of mediation systems; ensure that the adequate mechanisms of access to the law, in particular as regards information, legal consultation and legal aid, are put in place’[10].

3.3.1. Conciliation

Conciliation is, in the national system, a form of conflict resolution in which an agreement is also sought with the help of an impartial third party – the conciliator.

This actor assumes a more active position than the mediator, having a more intervening role in conducting the process and being able to propose solutions to the conflict.

The conciliator’s proposals do not bind the parties who are free to reach an agreement or not.

The most common type of conciliation is the judicial conciliation where the judge assumes the role of conciliator in the context of a judicial proceeding (at the beginning of the audience between the parties that takes place after the pleadings and before the trial, it is mandatory for the judge to try to conciliate the parties).

3.3.2. Arbitration

The Portuguese legal systems admits the solution of the dispute through the intervention of arbitrators that are independent from the parties and have the task of deciding the conflict through equity criteria or reference to the law, as established in the arbitration agreement. Their decision is binding on the parties.

In Portugal, there are both public and private arbitration centres.

They are seen as beneficial in improving the efficiency of the dispute resolution and reducing the backlog of court cases.

Presently, the non compulsory arbitration is ruled by the Law 63/2011, of 14 December (Law on Voluntary Arbitration). According to this legal text, arbitration is allowed provided that the matter is not subjected, exclusively, to the courts of the State by special law or there is no mandatory arbitration.

Any dispute regarding patrimonial interests may be presented by the parties to the decision of arbitrators, by means of an arbitration agreement.

An arbitration agreement relating to disputes that do not have underlying patrimonial interests is also valid, provided that the parties can enter into an agreement on the disputed right.

The arbitration agreement may have as its object an existent dispute, even submitted to the jurisdiction of a State court (through an arbitral commitment), or an eventual conflict arising from a certain contractual or non-contractual legal relationship (arbitration clause).

The parties may agree to submit to arbitration, in addition to questions of a litigious nature, any other question that may require the intervention of an impartial decision maker, namely those related to the need to specify, complete or adapt long-term performance contracts to new circumstances.

The State and other legal persons governed by public law may enter into arbitration agreements insofar as they are authorized to do so by law or if those agreements are concerned with private law litigation.

The arbitration agreement must take a written form.

As to the mandatory arbitration, we can find some areas where it has been imposed by law, namely in the domain of the consumer conflicts, expropriation and pharmaceutical patents. As to the latter example, a recent law[11] changed the legal panorama suppressing the obligatory character of the arbitration leaving to the parties the choice between activating voluntary arbitration or the recourse to the State means (Intellectual Property Court).

Mandatory arbitration is particularly important in the consumer law field.

Consumer conflicts of low economic value are subject to necessary arbitration or mediation, at the express option of consumers, when they are submitted to an arbitral tribunal assigned to the legally authorized consumer dispute arbitration centres. Consumer conflicts of low economic value are those whose value does not exceed the jurisdiction of the first instance courts (5.000,00 EUR). In such a context, the consumer must be notified, at the beginning of the process, that he can be represented by a lawyer or solicitor and, if he has no economic means to do so, that he can apply for legal aid under the law that regulates access to justice. The consumer is exempted from the prior payment of the court fee, which will be determined in the final[12].

Suppliers of goods or service providers established in national territory must inform consumers regarding the ADR entities to which they are bound by adhesion or legal imposition resulting from necessary arbitration ruling, also indicating their website. Such an information must be provided in a clear, understandable and easily accessible form on the website of the suppliers of goods or service providers, if any, as well as in the purchase and sale or services provision contracts between the supplier of goods or service provider and the consumer, when these contracts take the written form, are reproduced on durable means or constitute subscription contracts[13].

ADR entities, the Directorate-General for Consumers and the European Consumer Center must disclose on their electronic sites on the Internet, through a link to the European Commission’s website and, whenever possible, on a durable basis at their premises, the list of ADR entities prepared by the European Commission. It is incumbent upon the Directorate-General for Consumers to promote the dissemination of the referred list on the websites of consumer associations and associations of suppliers of goods or service providers, on the citizen’s portal, as well as by any other means considered adequate[14].

In the transposition of a European Union Directive[15], it was created the Consumer Arbitration Network that aims to ensure coordination, the use of common systems and the harmonization of procedures followed in the activities of information, mediation, conciliation and arbitration of consumer disputes by the consumer dispute arbitration centres that it aggregates. It is also incumbent upon the Consumer Arbitration Network to promote the integrated functioning of consumer dispute arbitration centres and the collection of all relevant statistical information relating to their operation provided by the centres. Aggregated entities in the consumer arbitration network must use the common information system and adopt harmonized procedures in the activities of information, mediation, conciliation and arbitration of consumer disputes[16].

Portugal is a contracting party, since 18 October 1994, to the 1958 United Nations’ Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, (‘New York Arbitration Convention’)

3.3.3. Mediation

Portugal has established by law[17] a voluntary system of mediation that conceived this means as a type of alternative dispute resolution carried out by public or private entities through which two or more parties to the dispute voluntarily seek to reach an agreement with the assistance of a conflict mediator. This actor, called ‘mediator of conflicts’ is a third party, impartial and independent, without powers of imposition of his decisions who assists the parties in the attempt to build a final agreement on the object of the dispute.

It is necessary to obtain, previously to the mediation, the informed consent of the parties to carry it out, leaving them with the responsibility for the decisions taken in the course of the process.

During the mediation procedure, the parties may, at any time, jointly or unilaterally, revoke their consent to participate in the said procedure.

The refusal of the parties to initiate or continue the mediation procedure does not constitute a breach of the procedural duty to cooperate.

The mediation procedure is confidential in nature and is submitted to the principles of equality, impartiality and independence.

It is demanded to the mediator to acquire the appropriate skills for the exercise of his activity and he is bound by a principle of responsibility (the conflict mediator who violates the duties inherent to his activity and, in the case of mediation in the public system, of the constitutive or regulatory acts of the public mediation systems, is civilly responsible for the damages caused, under the terms of the general law).

Such an activity is also subject to a principle of enforceability, with the meaning that the mediation agreement is, as a rule, enforceable without the need for a previous judicial decision.

There are several types of mediation:

(a) Family mediation;

(b) Labour mediation;

(c) Criminal mediation;

(d) Civil and commercial mediation.

The parties may, prior to the presentation of any dispute in court, resort to mediation to resolve such disputes.

The use of mediation suspends the expiry and prescription periods from the date on which the mediation protocol is signed or, in the case of mediation carried out in public mediation systems, the date on which all parties have agreed to the mediation.

3.3.4. Justices of Peace

The creation of the Justices of Peace in Portugal represented an attempt to create an alternative to the Courts system[18] (in some levels of decision).

Having not the same guaranties of independence as the ones provided to the common Courts (considering their dependence from the legislative power), the Justices of Peace aim at allowing the civic participation of the interested parties and to stimulate the just composition of the disputes by agreement of the parties.

The jurisdiction of the peace judges is exclusive to declarative actions.

The provisions of the Civil Procedure Code and related legislation on the enforcement of decisions of the lower courts apply to the enforcement of judgments of peace judgments.

The judges of peace have jurisdiction over matters whose value does not exceed 15.000 EUR.

Not all civil case can be submitted to the Justices of Peace but only the ones expressly indicated by law[19].

As to the criminal facts, the judges of peace are also competent to hear claims for civil compensation when no criminal report has been made or after withdrawal of a criminal complaint.

The procedures in the judgments of peace are designed and guided by the principles of simplicity, adequacy, informality, orality and absolute procedural economy.

The process begins with the filing of the application at the secretariat of the local Justices of Peace. Such an application may be submitted orally or in writing, in a specific form, indicating the name and address of the plaintiff and of the defendant, containing a brief statement of the facts, the request and the value of the case.

The defence can be presented in writing or verbally within 10 days of the summons. There is no place for an extension of the deadline for filing the defence. The plaintiff is immediately notified of the defence and, if not previously, of the date of the pre-mediation session.

Once the request has been received and the process started before the Justices of Peace, pre-mediation is carried out, provided that either or both parties have not previously ruled out this possibility. Pre-mediation aims to explain to the parties what mediation consists of and to verify their predisposition to a possible agreement in the mediation phase. If the parties accept it, the first mediation session is immediately scheduled.

In the trial hearing, the parties have to appear in person, being able to be accompanied by a lawyer, a trainee lawyer or a solicitor. Assistance is mandatory when the party is illiterate, unaware of the Portuguese language or, for any other reason, is in a position of manifest inferiority. In these cases, the judge of peace must assess the need for assistance according to his prudent judgment. It is also mandatory to appoint a lawyer at the appeal stage, if there is room for it.

For the enforcement of judgments rendered by the Justices of Peace, the provisions of the Civil Procedure Code and related legislation on the enforcement of decisions of the lower courts apply.

There is no exemption of court fees but the legal aid national system is also applicable to all cases presented before the Justices of the Peace.

The use of this alternative system is subject to a single fee of € 70 to be paid by the losing party and the judge may also decide to allocate that amount between the plaintiff and the defendant.

If there an agreement rises during the mediation, the amount payable is € 50, divided by both parties.

Decisions rendered in the judgments of the Justices of Peace, in cases the value of which exceeds half the value of the jurisdiction of the lower court (€ 2.500,01 EUR), can be challenged by means of an appeal to the judicial district court where the court of justice is based.

The justices of peace methods and procedure have conditions to provide a swifter and cheaper solution of disputes, appealing to a consensual solution of conflicts through mediation and also providing less stressful and more harmonious forms of dispute resolution for litigants, granting higher levels of self-regulation, especially in the area of the collection of small claims, thus better meeting parties’ underlying needs and widening access to justice.

3.4. Simplification of law and by-passing legal processes[20]

Besides the ADR and the Justices of the Peace simplified methods and rules, the Justice Administration System can count with easy legal structures oriented to generate clear reduction of the pending cases length, simplification, compression of costs and attraction for the citizens and interests usually set outside by the complexity, unawareness and expenses involved in the common procedures.

Among the structures in existence or under optimisation or creation, it deserves special mention the ruling created in the year 1998[21] with incidence on debt recognition and collection of debts on the field of the so-called low density actions.

Such a ruling contains a very much simplified declarative procedure (a small claims procedure) designed to demand the fulfilment of pecuniary obligations arising from contracts with a value not exceeding 15.000,00 EUR and an order for payment procedure standing on the initial intervention of a non-judge actor (the judicial secretary, ‘greffier’, ‘Rechtspfleger’), following the German and Austrian model.

As to the latter proceeding, it allows a debt creditor to have a document (called  order for payment, enforcement title or ‘titre executoire’) that allows him to resort to a judicial enforcement procedure to recover from the debtor the amount he owes him.

After the applicant has filed the order for payment request, the eventual debtor is summoned and, if he doesn’t oppose to it, the said order for payment is issued. If there is an opposition, the case is referred to a court.

The order for payment procedure can only be applied when a debt of 15,000,00 EUR or less or a debt resulting from a commercial transaction is involved (but, in the latter case, only when the contract has not been concluded with a consumer).

It is a quick and simplified procedure (according to the last data available, the average pending time was less than 3 months) much cheaper than a common lawsuit that can avoid resorting to a court action (unless the debtor objects to the creation of an order for payment).

It is processed electronically at the National ‘Injunctions’ Office, which allows not only to increase the levels effectiveness, as a result of the specialization of the referred Office, but also to remove many procedures from the courts.

The application can be submitted by the citizens themselves on paper or in a computer file (making use of pre-defined forms) anywhere in the country, in the competent courts in each judicial district. In the latter case, the courts send the application, electronically, to the Office. The presentation of the application by a lawyer or solicitor can only be made through the ‘CITIUS’ digital system [national paperless cases system that functions parallelly to the tax and administrative courts paperless system (‘SITAF’)].

The full nationwide replacement of paper lawsuits by digital cases (occurred many years ago in the civil and commercial jurisdictions) and the concentration of all courts centred litigation in an Internet Portal accessible under different statutes and levels to all legal professionals that deal with the judicial cases  produced, transversely, a similar phenomenon of reduction of costs and time expenditure, simplification, transparency and more efficient access to Justice.

Complementarily, reforms to civil procedure introduced since 1980 have been focused on a progressive procedural improvement, particularly on the domains of the creation of swiftness, better procedural management, simplification, flexibility, efficiency and effective access to justice.

The current Civil Procedure Code[22] (that entered into force in September 2013) follows the indicated goals giving more powers to the judge to adapt the proceedings to the case, limiting the number of pleadings, improving the appeals regime and simplifying the proceedings.


Access to justice, equal access to court and fair trial are granted by a constitutional framework standing on the rule of law, by the European Union commitment and the submission to its “acquis communautaire” and through the ratification of several international law texts decisive on this field[1].

It also stand on a well balanced system of procedural laws and on a legal aid ruling and structures that combine a European common ruling (Council Directive 2002/8/EC of 27 January 2003 to improve access to justice in cross-border disputes by establishing minimum common rules relating to legal aid for such disputes) and an all-embracing national law (Law 34/2004, of 29 July) that also made the transposition of such a Directive.

Article 20 of the Portuguese Constitution states that everyone is guaranteed access to the law and the courts for the defence of their legally protected rights and interests, and justice cannot be denied due to insufficient economic means.

It also rules that everyone has the right, under the terms of the law, to legal information and consultation, to legal sponsorship and to be accompanied by a lawyer before any authority.

The same article, ruling on the access to a court refers that everyone has the right to have a cause in which they intervene be the subject of a decision within a reasonable time and through a fair process.

It also states that, to defend personal rights, freedoms and guarantees, the law guarantees citizens judicial procedures characterized by speed and priority, in order to obtain effective and timely protection against threats or violations of these rights.

Considering the pointed International, European and internal law commands, there is a permanent and genuine political commitment to access to justice, equal access to court and fair trial.

The government bodies with responsibility for access to justice policy are, in the first line, the Justice Ministry and, on complementary level, the Ministry of Work, Solidarity and Social Security.

The core of the legal aid system can be considered as being focused on granting access to courts complemented by a visible effort on the expansion of the ADR.

Access to justice is granted to all citizens, as will be better referred later in this text.

The last November 2020, a protocol was celebrated aiming to ensure the permanent availability of lawyers for legal advice and assistance to foreign citizens.

There are no strong known difficulties in ensuring equal access to justice for minorities and immigrants.


[1] Since the Treaty of Zamora of 5 October 1143.

[2] Article 1 of the Constitution of 21 August 1911.

[3] Article 1.

[4] Article 2.

[5] Article 6(1) of the Constitution.

[6] Article 6(2) of the Constitution.

[7] Article 3(3) of the Constitution.

[8] According to the United Nations Population Fund in https://www.unfpa.org/data/world-population/PT  (in January 2020)

[9] E.g. “Minderico”, “Barranquenho”, “caló”.

[10] Source: http://hdr.undp.org/sites/default/files/hdr2019.pdf (p. 300).

[11] Source: http://hdr.undp.org/sites/default/files/hdr2019.pdf (p. 300).

[12] Source: http://hdr.undp.org/sites/default/files/hdr2019.pdf (p. 300).

[13] Source: http://hdr.undp.org/sites/default/files/hdr2019.pdf (p. 300).

[14] Article 203 of the Portuguese Constitution.

[15] Source: https://rm.coe.int/portugal/16808e080c (consulted in 02.01.2021)

[16] Article 219-2: “(Funções e estatuto) 1. Ao Ministério Público compete representar o Estado e defender os interesses que a lei determinar, bem como, com observância do disposto no número seguinte e nos termos da lei, participar na execução da política criminal definida pelos órgãos de soberania, exercer a acção penal orientada pelo princípio da legalidade e defender a legalidade democrática».

[17] Article 219-2: “O Ministério Público goza de estatuto próprio e de autonomia, nos termos da lei”.

[18] Law No. 145/2015, of 09 September that contains the Statute of the Portuguese Bar Association.

[19] Collaboration of Rui Teixeira, Judge of the Court of Appeal of Lisbon, Portugal (Section 3.1. Criminal Procedure).

[20]Ministério Público”.

[21] See the Ruling of the appeal Court of Coimbra of  26.10.2016, procedure 5/13.1IDCTB-B.C1, in www.dgsi.pt.

[22] In this case the judge will rule that there is a “substantial change of facts” (“alteração substancial de factos”). The judge will rule that the events that have truly taken place are so different from those depicted in the indictment take the accused would not have a fair trial should it come to that and that the trial would not represent the enactment of what really happened. In this situation, the case will return to the previous phase in order that the accused can be confronted with the new evidence and a new indictment be produced, should it be the case.

[23] The criminal procedure code allows the public prosecutor to ask for and get a trial by a single judge. In this case the prosecutor has to say in the indictment that he believes that in that particular case the sentence should not be more than five years imprisonment. If he does so the case shall be tried bay one judge. This judge is not bound by the prosecutor´s opinion but if he believes that the case points out more than 5 years imprisonment he must send the case back to a different court composed of three judges for it is this court (and not a single judge court) the one with powers to try the case.

[24] In https://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/Stats_violation_2019_ENG.pdf (consulted in June 2020).

[25] Approved by the Law Decree Nº 480/99, 9 November.

[26] Approved by the Law Decree Nº 4/2015, of 7 January.

[27] “The Court dealt with 133 applications concerning Portugal in 2019, of which 122 were declared inadmissible or struck out. It delivered 9 judgments (concerning 11 applications), 8 of which found at least one violation of the European Convention on Human Rights” – see the “Press Country Profile” of July 2020, in https://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/CP_Portugal_ENG.pdf (consulted in 01.01.2021).

[28] In https://dgpj.justica.gov.pt/English/Alternative-Dispute-Resolution (in 16.12.2020).

[29] Law No 110/2018 of 10 December that approved the new Industrial Property Code.

[30] Article 14 of the Law No 24/96 of 31 July.

[31] Article 18 of the Law 144/2015 of 8 September.

[32] Article 19 of the Law 144/2015 of 8 September.

[33] Directive 2013/11/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2013 on alternative dispute resolution for consumer disputes and amending Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 and Directive 2009/22/EC (Directive on consumer ADR).

[34] Article 4 of the Law 144/2015 of 8 September.

[35] Law 29/2013 of 19 April.

[36] See Law No 78/2001 of 13 July.

[37] Article 9(1) of  Law No 78/2001 of 13 July.

[38] For a thorough approach to the changes in progress oriented to produce effectiveness, simplification and swiftness inside of the system, see ‘Towards a smart justice system in Portugal’ in https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/sites/35f1f017-en/index.html?itemId=/content/component/35f1f017-en

[39] Law-Decree No 269/98 of 01 September on procedures for the fulfilment of obligations emerging from contracts and order for payment procedure.

[40] Approved by Law no. 41/2013 of 26 June.

[41] European Convention on Human Rights (namely articles 5 to 7), Charter Of Fundamental Rights Of The European Union (articles 47 to 50) and Universal Declaration of Human Rights (articles 5 to 12).

[42] “Afonsinas” and “Filipinas” Ordinances.

[43] Article 6 – Right to a fair trial – “1. In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law. (…)”.

[44] Article 47 – Right to an effective remedy and to a fair trial – “Everyone whose rights and freedoms guaranteed by the law of the Union are violated has the right to an effective remedy before a tribunal in compliance with the conditions laid down in this Article. Everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal previously established by law. Everyone shall have the possibility of being advised, defended and represented. Legal aid shall be made available to those who lack sufficient resources in so far as such aid is necessary to ensure effective access to justice”.

[45]           Articles 27 and 28 of the Law No. 34/2004, of 29 July.

[46]           E.g., it declared, with generally binding force, in 2014 (Case Nº 538/2014, in Official Journal No 182/2014, Serie I of  2014-09-22), that it was unconstitutional a rule of the Judicial Costs Regulation interpreted as imposing the previous payment of court fees as a condition to appeal from the administrative decision that denies the concession of legal aid.

[47]           As imposed by the Council Directive 2003/8/EC.

[48]           Decree nº 1386/2004, of 10 November .

[49] As to the payment to the lawyers (legal aid providers), please see previous section.

[50] Article 64 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

[51] In http://www.seg-social.pt/documents/10152/21736/PJ_1_DGSS (consulted in 02.01.2021)

[52] Article 1 of Law 34/2004.