HOW TO SERVE LEGAL PAPERS IN PORTUGAL

The civil law legal system, often known as the continental family legal system, includes the Portuguese legal system. 

Portuguese courts are separated into civil and administrative courts governed by a civil code. Civil courts have a hierarchical structure that has jurisdiction over gender discrimination cases. When it comes to civil cases, the District Court (the Tribunal Judicial de Comarca) is below the Appellate Court (the Tribunal do Relaço), which in turn is below the Supreme Court of Justice (the Tribunal de Justiça Superior).

BACKGROUND

The Judicial District Courts have the widest jurisdiction and are responsible for determining the findings of fact and law judgments in the matters filed before them. In the event of a disagreement, any party may take an appeal to the competent Appellate Court, which will have the power to assess the facts and the law. The conclusions of fact made by the Appellate Court are conclusive. To resolve any remaining differences of opinion, any party may take their case to the Superior Court of Justice, whose final decisions cannot be appealed.

A semi-presidential representative democratic republic based in Lisbon has been in place since 1976 when the Constitution of 1976 was approved.  Sovereignty is divided or separated among the President of the Republic, Government, Assembly of Republic, and Courts in accordance with the Constitution’s “organs of Sovereignty.” 

President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, elected for a five-year term, has an executive function. For four years, two hundred deputies are chosen to serve in the Assembly of the Republic, a single-chamber legislature. Government members include ministers and secretaries of state. The prime minister is presently Antonio Costa. Each of the three significant parts of government—justice, administration, and finance—has its hierarchy within the Courts. There are no other courts of appeal besides those of the Supreme Court. An eleven-member Constitutional Court oversees legality.

Portugal has a multi-party system of competing legislatures or administrative administrations at the national, regional, and municipal levels.  The President of the Republic lives and works at Belém Palace, the official house and office. In Portugal, a five-year tenure as President of the Republic is the highest office. A direct, all-voting process chooses the President of the Republic. Other presidential powers include the ability to name the Prime Minister and other government officials after elections, remove that Prime Minister, dissolve Congress (to hold early elections), exercise presidential veto power over legislation (which Congress can override), and declare a state of war or siege. Besides executive and reserve responsibilities, the President also serves as head of state and ex officio commander-in-chief of the military.

In addition to six senior civilian officials, any past presidents elected under the 1976 Constitution, five members elected by the Assembly, and five appointed by the president, the Council of State provides advice to the president on essential topics.

how to serve DOMESTIC legal papers IN PORTUGAL

Portugal Process Service means that an action has been initiated against someone (defendant, respondent, or party against whom enforcement is sought). Portugal Process Service is used to summon the individual in question to testify for the first time. Code of Civil Procedure Article 219(1) states that Portugal Process Service may be used to ask a person interested in the matter but who did not initially intervene to appear for the first time to join the claimant or the defendant.

Portugal Process Service and notification are subject to strict requirements in the Portuguese Civil Procedure Code, which specifies the information to convey based on who is being served, what facts are being communicated, and their aim. To ensure that the message reaches its intended recipient and if the recipient participates in the legal proceedings, specific requirements are in place to protect their right to a defense.

A copy of the initial application initiating proceedings and copies of the accompanying documents are delivered to the defendant (Article 227(1) of the Code of Civil Procedure.) Bailiffs, enforcement officials, or the legal representative of one of the parties may be used to serve and notify Portugal Process Service in a judicial procedure, depending on the circumstances. 

Even in non-contentious processes handled by the Civil Registrar, civil registrars may serve and notify Portugal Process Service in family and juvenile affairs. The European Parliament and the Council of 13 November 2007 enacted Regulation (EC) No 1393/2007 on the Portugal Process Service in the Member States of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil or commercial matters, mandates that the requested authority in this Member State on its initiative, should try and locate the addressee of documents to be served if the addressee no longer lives at the Portugal Process Service location known to the requesting authority. 

Where a notice cannot be served, bailiffs review computerized Portugal Process Service records in other government agencies to determine whether the address of the person to be served has changed. Access to the databases is restricted to those who have obtained permission from the court to do so. According to Portugal Process Service laws, a court may compel any person or entity to collaborate to gather the information that impedes a party’s ability to exercise any procedural right, obligation effectively, or claim, such as a change in the person’s home served or informed. It does not matter whether they are not parties to the case; they nevertheless owe it to the court to cooperate by supplying the Portugal Process Service information it requests.

As per Regulation (EC) No. 1206/2001 of the 28 May 2001 on the cooperation between the courts of Member States with regard to evidence gathering in civil or commercial actions, authorities in this Member State must deal with a request to find an individual’s present address. A Portugal Process Service document might be sent to a specific individual or made public. These two services may be provided to either natural or legal entities. When it comes to serving legal entities, the same laws that govern the Portugal Process Service of natural people apply mutatis mutandis. However, if a particular component of the Portugal Process Service of legal entities is expressly regulated, then these Portugal Process Service special restrictions apply.

how to serve legal papers by mail IN PORTUGAL

Regular letters, rather than legal papers, are often used by the postal service to deliver documents. Except for poste restante delivery, postal consignments may be delivered to the people and are considered successfully serviced under Article 37 of the Postal Act if Portugal Process Service is done to the person to whom the message is being sent.  Suppose the postal consignment is addressed to the public authority concerned. In that case, the recipient must be a person who is authorized to accept postal consignments in the office of the public authority.

Postal delivery to a natural person present at a unit where it is very difficult or impossible to make a postal delivery to the addressee due to the nature of that unit or widely recognized custom must be made to the head of the organization or a natural person authorized by that head.

If a sender requests a receipt for a Portugal Process Service document for a registered item in writing, the authorized service provider is required to comply. The designated Portugal Process Service provider receives written Portugal Process Service requests from addressees to transmit postal consignments to the addresses mentioned in these Portugal Process Service requests within the time limit established in the rules of procedure in all its post offices.

The approved service provider accepts instructions from addressees on non-delivery to individuals living with addressees. The postal consignments are delivered to the intended recipients by the Portugal Process Service provider at the post office in fourteen days. After this timeframe has passed, a postal consignment can be kept if the recipient sends a written request. Postal parcels that are not picked up in that time frame are sent back to the sender.

An acknowledgment of receipt, which is usually a form that comes with the package, is proof that the package was delivered and when it was delivered. A confirmation of receipt of a judicial document is an official document that shows that the document was served and when. A person who says that a document was served on a different date must show that they did so.

PROCESS SERVICE IN PORTUGAL UNDER THE HAGUE SERVICE CONVENTION

Process servers adhere to the Hague Convention on Service of Process for civil and commercial issues in Portugal, a convention signed in Hague, the Netherlands, on November 15, 1965, by Hague Conference members. So that plaintiffs could serve overseas defendants with court papers that could be trusted, this system was created. Civil and commercial process service is covered under the treaty, but criminal process service is not.

As part of the Portugal Process Service, Central Authority sends the papers to the appropriate court/entity (in the region where the recipient generally lives) to complete the task. 

If registered mail service fails, the document can be served by regular mail; if that fails, the document can be served to another person at the specified location who is in a position to pass the document through. Personal service by a court clerk/implementing agent can also be attempted if registered mail service fails.

Served papers are returned to the Central Authority, which forwards them to the requesting State’s responsible institutions.

There must be a Portugal Process Service translation of the document to be provided into Portuguese, as well as a synopsis and any annexes to that document. With the Hague Service Convention, Portugal Process Service in other contracting nations has been made easier. A central body is responsible for accepting Portugal Process Service requests for each contracting state. The central authority of the state where Portugal Process Service is to be made may be contacted immediately by a judicial officer authorized to serve Portugal Process Service in the form of origin. The receiving state’s centralized authority handles requests for Portugal Process Service in the receiving state, generally via a local court. The central authority delivers a certificate of Portugal Process Service to the judicial officer who requested it after the service has been completed and verified.

Documents may be served by the mail system or by diplomatic/consular agents, judicial officers, authorities, or other competent people through the Hague Convention. Member nations may or may not approve these provisions as a lawful method of serving the papers in their jurisdiction under Articles 8 to 10. Using the Central Agency (Article 5) to provide Portugal Process Service papers is not a choice for any member country but rather a requirement. The Central Agency’s Portugal Process Service typically takes four to twelve months to complete. Even if the plaintiffs have not obtained a certificate of service or delivery from the Central Agency after six months, the convention provides them with a remedy. A fair amount of time has passed, and the Court may render its decision in such circumstances. The court may also grant a temporary injunction or protective measure even before the six-month waiting period has expired in cases of urgency.

States that have not objected to Portugal Process Service by mail under Article 10(a) of the convention and jurisdictions that accept it under relevant law are eligible for service by mail. Legal action has been begun; various papers must be sent to and received from the opposite party with whom there is a disagreement. To commence a legal process, a Portugal Process Service document must be served to the opposing party, which is essentially the first of such Portugal Process Service papers.

An international judicial cooperation unit of the Directorate-General for the Administration of Justice provides information to transmitting agencies and helps resolve any issues when serving papers. Each international judicial cooperation agreement has its unique requirements for Portugal Process Service document delivery methods, languages, prices, and formats. The European Parliament and Council adopted Regulation (EC) 1393/2007 on the service of civil and commercial documents in the Member States. EU-wide judicial and extrajudicial papers must be sent quickly and securely between parties situated in different EU countries to meet this Regulation’s objectives. Forms may be filled out in Portuguese, English, or Spanish in Portugal.  Judiciary papers from another EU Member State may be served without incurring charges or fees if delivered to the courts. If a court official or an enforcement agency serves the papers in person, charges will be incurred. There is an additional €50.50 charge if Portugal Process Service is not performed, such as when no one lives at the specified address or the address does not exist.

According to court authorities, the fee for serving a summons is €51. As long as the intended recipient does not dwell at the provided address or does not exist, there is no need to make a payment.

for assistance serving legal papers

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Contact us for more information about our process serving agency. We are ready to provide service of process to all of our clients globally from our offices in New York, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, Westchester, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Washington D.C.

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Sources

1. In addition to the Socialist Party and the Social Democratic Party, the Unitary Democratic Coalition (Portuguese Communist Party and Ecologist Party “The Greens”), the Left Bloc, and the Democratic and Social Centre–Party, People’s which each garner between 5 and 15 percent of the vote on a regular basis, make up the rest of the political parties.

2. Article 219(2) of the Code of Civil Procedure uses the word “notificaço” to refer to notifying someone of something, such as a summons or a fact.

3.  A. Information that the person has been invited to participate in the proceedings concerned; 

B. Indication of the court, division, and section in which the proceedings are being heard, the deadline for submitting evidence; and

The following details have to be sent to the appropriate parties:

Art. 220(1) of the Code of Civil Procedure; 

  1. Pleadings of the parties, applications, and documents included in the case file, and the time limit for the parties to exercise their procedural rights; 
  2. Summons of parties, witnesses, experts, technical advisers, or lawyers to attend judicial proceedings; 
  3. Requests for expertise; other evidence, or info

4. Notaries may serve and notify documents in probate procedures (Article 2(1) and (3) of the Rules regulating notary inventories issued in the appendix to Law No 117/2019 of September 13th, 2019). Attorneys, solicitors, and enforcement officials have the authority to notify tenants even before a lawsuit is filed (Article 9(7(b) of the New Rented Property Law – NRAU) (Novo Regime do Arrendamento Urbano).

5. Articles 5(1) and 7 of the Decree-Law establishing the procedures for the jurisdiction of Public Prosecutors and Civil Registration

6. the addressee: a. to their letterbox, except for registered items; b. to a post office if the addressee was not present at the address specified on the postal consignment, postal order, or agreement for postal services at the time the postal consignment was delivered or if the postal consignment cannot be delivered via a letterbox; c. to a location agreed upon by the addressee and the postal operator; 2. the addressee’s legal representative or attorney

7. Under Article 142 of the Code, the person who receives a document signs it to show that they have seen it and received it at the time it was received. If that person can’t or won’t sign, the server tells them the date of service and why they can’t or won’t do so. An acknowledgment of receipt is written by the person who served the document. The date of service is written on the document served, and he or she signs it.

8. U.S. Embassy Lisbon

Av. das Forças Armadas, Sete-Rios

1600-081 Lisbon

Portugal

Telephone: +(351) (21) 770-2122

Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(351) (21)-770-2122 or +(351) (21) 727-3300

Fax: +(351) (21) 727-2354

Email: conslisbon@state.gov

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Consulates

U.S. Consulate Ponta Delgada

Av. Príncipe do Mónaco No, 6-2 F

9500-237 Ponta Delgada, Açores

Portugal

Telephone: +(351) (296) 308-330

EmergencyAfter-Hours Telephone: +(351) (21) 727-3300 

Fax: +(351) (296) 287-216

Email: ConsPontaDelgada@state.gov

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