Portugal has an extensive network of highways, some of which are managed by public limited companies under concession contracts executed with the state. A recent decision centred on the potential liability of these companies in the context of an accident. However, the decision appears to be fairly partial and a degree of prejudice during the trial was evidenced.
Under the Code of Civil Procedure, failure to produce a power of attorney has catastrophic consequences: it is treated as though the party did not intend to defend itself and the defence is duly withdrawn. However, this appears to contradict other provisions of Portuguese law and may also be unconstitutional.
A new decree-law has substantially overhauled enforcement proceedings in Portugal. It is hoped that the entry into force of the new regime in September this year will mark a turning point and will help to ease the administration of justice.
The option to record evidence presented to a court of first instance is necessary in order to protect the rights of citizens who have recourse to the judicial process, as it permits reconsideration of the facts by a court of appeal. It also speeds up court proceedings, which leaves assistant judges free to try other cases.
A Portuguese court recently handed down a landmark judgment against the state for failure to legislate. It awarded damages of approximately €600,000 to the parents of a child who was sucked into the pipes of a swimming pool at a water park, because had such facilities been properly regulated by the state their son’s death could have been prevented.
Courts of peace have been created to resolve minor disputes by assisting the parties to reach agreement through a simple, informal, oral procedure. Small claims and minor cases will be diverted to these new institutions. This will enable the first-instance trial courts to hear more significant cases with greater thoroughness and efficiency.
Portugal has an efficient system for arresting vessels and resolving arrest disputes, at least where its continental ports are concerned. As the Maritime Court of Lisbon is a small, specialized court with in-depth knowledge of the urgency of the arrest procedure, swift resolution is almost always possible.
Portuguese procedural law provides for seven specific types of injunction. A general injunction applies to all cases that are not specifically described by law. This update describes the types of injunction available, and the requirements and procedures that apply to each.
The government has overhauled court procedures in a bid to modernize and speed up the judicial process. Innovations include changes to the payment system for court fees and the manner in which witnesses are summoned.