Law and Compliance in Portugal

Overview by

Business Contract

General Observation
You must define precisely the obligations of each party.
Law Applicable to the Contract
You must be particularly vigilant towards the law applicable to contracts and the methods of conflict resolution. Portugal is a signatory to the Vienna Convention on international contracts. The Portuguese legal system is complex, and it is not easy for a foreigner to understand Portuguese law, so it is recommended that international laws be used or an arbitration system be called upon. International laws are generally accepted in contracts concluded with Portuguese companies.
Advisable Incoterms
It is preferable to choose an incoterm FOB  or CIF.
Language of Domestic Contract
Other Laws Which Can Be Used in Domestic Contracts
If Portuguese law is not used, the law of the other contracting party must be chosen.

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Legal Framework of Business

Equity of Judgments

Independence of Justice
Equal Treatment of Nationals and Foreigners
The Language of Justice
Portuguese and Mirandese in a region of the north-east of the country.
Recourse to an Interpreter
Legal Similarities
Portuguese law has various sources: the Constitution, laws passed by Parliament, ministerial decrees and orders, international conventions and treaties ratified by Portugal.
Because Portugal belongs to the European Union, national law conforms to the requirements of Community legislation.
There are legal similarities with all the countries whose law has come from Roman law, in particular with French law which inspired the Portuguese model.

The Different Legal Codes

Accounting Regulations The 4th Community Directive.
The 7th Community Directive
DL Nºs 410/89 e 238/91
The doctrine.
Contract and property law Código Civil (Civil Code)
Customs law Código alfandegario (Customs Code)
Consumer law Lei de defesa do consumidor (law for the defense of the consumer)
Company law Código Sociedades Comerciais (Commercial companies Code), Código Civil (Civil Code), Direito Bancário (banking law), Direito Fiscal (tax law)
Investment law Código do Investimento (Investment Code)
Labor law Lei do trabalho (labor law)
Checking National Laws Online
Diário Republica (Official Gazette)
Other Useful Resources
Ministry of Justice
Center for legal studies
Deco, Law portal.
Country Guides
Lexmundi, Guide to doing business in Portugal: legal system.

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The Jurisdictions

Disputes with the State, the Administration, local administration Tribunal Administrativo, Tribunal Superior Administrativo (administrative tribunals)
Disputes relative to work contracts, disputes between employers and employees Tribunal do Trabalho, Secção de Trabalho do tribunal de 2ª instância (labor tribunal, Labor section of the tribunal of 2nd instance).
Commercial disputes Tribunais de Arbitragem , tribunais de 1ª instancia, secção comércio, Tribunal da Relação, Supremo Tribunal de Justiça (Arbitration Tribunals/Centers if desired by the 2 parties, Tribunal of 1st instance, Commerce section, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court of Appeal)
Third party liability and insurance, civil status of persons, real estate Tribunal de 1ª instância, Tribunal da Relação, Supremo Tribunal de Justiça (Tribunal of 1st instance, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court of Appeal)
Criminal liability (bankruptcy, misappropriation of funds, complicity, etc.) Tribunal de Comarca, Tribunal de Círculo, Tribunal de Relação (secção penal), Supremo tribunal de Justiça, secção criminal (Tribunal of 1st instance for the smallest territorial legal unit, Tribunal of 1st instance for the largest territorial legal unit, Court of Appeal, penal section, Supreme Court of Appeal, criminal section)

Court Officials

Advogado (Lawyer)
The lawyer's first role is to inform his clients of their rights and obligations. He can then represent them in court and speak for the defense.
Perito Judicial (Legal expert)
A judge appoints a duly authorized professional who will review information in order to clarify certain elements of a case.
Escrivão (Clerk of the Court)
During the procedure, he will write down all exchanges, declarations and observations.
Oficial de Justiça (Bailiff)
He is a legal officer responsible for serving legal process and for enforcing court decisions.
Juiz (Judge)
He is the one who decides if the law has been broken or not, as well as the penalties which ensue.
Procurador da República (State prosecutor)
He is a magistrate who represents the Prosecution in the court of 1st instance.
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