This page provides information on the organisation of specialised courts in Portugal.
The judicial courts are common courts for civil and criminal matters and they exercise jurisdiction in all matters that are not assigned to other courts. They are, as a rule, courts of general competence.
There may also be courts with specific competence (which deal with matters determined according to the applicable type of proceedings) and specialised courts which deal with specific matters (irrespective of the applicable form of the proceeding).
The role of the Courts of Criminal Enquiry is to carry out criminal investigations, decide whether to proceed with the case and perform the judicial duties related to the enquiry.
The competence of the Family and Youth Courts includes the following:
In civil matters, it falls to the Employment Tribunals to deal with, for example:
The Commercial Courts are competent, in particular, to deal with:
The Maritime Courts are competent to deal with matters relating to:
The Courts for the Application of Sentences are competent, in particular, to:
This Court sits in Lisbon and is competent to deal with actions concerning copyright and related rights, industrial property, Internet domains, companies and trading names; and appeals against decisions pronounced by the Instituto Nacional da Propriedade Industrial (National Industrial Property Institute), the Fundação para a Computação Científica Nacional (Foundation for National Scientific Analysis) and the Instituto dos Registos e do Notariado (Institute of Records and Notaries).
Courts having specific competence deal with matters determined according to the applicable type of proceeding. These are not courts as such but rather divisions of the district courts into civil divisions (varas cíveis), criminal divisions (varas criminais), civil benches (juízos cíveis), criminal benches (juízos criminais), benches dealing with minor civil matters (juízos de pequena instância cível), benches dealing with minor criminal matters (juízos de pequena instância criminal) and enforcement courts (juízos de execução).
The varas cíveis are competent to deal with actions for a declaratory judgment with a value exceeding the competence of the Court of Appeal where the law provides for the intervention of the collective court.
The varas criminais are competent, inter alia, to deal with cases of a criminal nature falling under the competence of the collective court or the jury court.
The juízos cíveis are competent to deal with proceedings of a civil nature that do not fall within the jurisdiction of the varas cíveis or the juízos de pequena instância cível. The juízos criminais are competent, in particular, to deal with cases of a criminal nature not referred to the varas criminais or the juízos de pequena instância criminal.
The juízos de pequena instância cível are competent to deal with civil cases by summary process (processo sumaríssimo), and civil cases for which no provision is made in the Code of Civil Procedure, which are covered by a special procedure and in which the decision is not open to ordinary appeal. The juízos de pequena instância criminal are competent, in particular, to deal with cases to which one of the three summary processes (processo sumário, abreviado and sumaríssimo) applies.
As part of the enforcement procedure, the enforcement courts are competent to perform the tasks set out in the Code of Civil Procedure.
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