PORTUGAL

Map of Portugal

Capital Lisboa
Área 92.391 km2
Fronteira Espanha
População 10.617.575 hab. (2007)
PIB US$ 255.483 biliões (2008)
Moeda Euro (EUR)

Is a Republic since 1910 and is presently ruled by the Constitution of 1976, several times revised and modified with a text containing 295 articles, which regulates the State organization and the separation of powers between a President of the Republic, Parliament, the Government, these two with legislative powers, and the Courts.

The access to Justice is secured in the Constitution (article 20) and the judicial power lies with the courts, administrative, tax, penal and civil courts, these subdivided in specialized courts – family, minors, trade, maritime and customs courts.

The judges must be law graduates and approved after a course and examination in the Centre of Judiciary Studies, and are subsequently appointed following a contest.

Lawyers are also compulsory graduates in law and members of the Bar Association after articles. Lawyers of the European Union may become members of the Portuguese Bar Association, but their professional performance in Portugal is subject to the professional qualification they obtained in their country of origin.

The Bar Association has disciplinary powers over all its members and is the supervisory body of the fulfillment of the principles under which the profession is exercised, namely the principle of trust, the observation of professional secrecy, the principle of independence.

The Statutes of the Bar Association (Law nº 15/2005 of January 26th) and its Regulations, rule the life of the Bar and the profession. Decree-Law nr. 229/2004 of December 10th rules the operation of law firms and Law nr. 49/2004 of August 24th rules the acts which are to be performed exclusively by lawyers.

Multidisciplinary is expressly forbidden (article nr. 203 nr. 3 of the Statute).

In April 2009 there were 26.375 registered lawyers and 948 registered law firms.