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Proceedings for the Review and Confirmation of Foreign Judgements

What is a foreign judgement review/approval proceeding?

The review/approval of foreign judgement is a necessary legal action so that the decisions rendered by foreign courts can be effective in Portugal. In this type of procedure, appointing an attorney is mandatory.

Judgements delivered by foreign courts are only effective in the Portuguese legal system after being reviewed and confirmed by the Court of Appeal of the Judicial District in which the person against whom the judgement is sought resides in, subject to the provisions in Articles 85 to 87 of the Civil Procedure Code, with the necessary adjustments.

Article 978 of the Civil Procedure Code sets out that, without limiting the provisions in European Union treaties, conventions, regulations and special laws, no decisionrendered by a foreign court on private rights takes effect in Portugal, whatever the nationality of the parties, without being reviewed and confirmed.

Confirmation/review of judgements/rulings rendered by the courts of the European Union countries (with a few exceptions) by virtue of Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 of 27 November 2003 concerning jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgements in matrimonial matters and the matters of parental responsibility, repealing Regulation (EC) No 1347/2000.


Requirements for the judgement confirmation

In order for the judgement to be confirmed, the following is necessary: (Article 980 of the CPC – Civil Procedure Code)

a) There must be no doubt as to the authenticity of the document of the judgement rendering or about the intelligence of the decision;

b) The judgement has become final in accordance with the law of the country in it was issued in;

c) It comes from a foreign court whose authority has not been caused by fraud against the law and does not appear on matters of the exclusive authority of the Portuguese courts;

d) The exception of lis pendens or res judicata can not be invoked with the grounds of the lawsuit being meant for the Portuguese court, except if it was the foreign court that prevented the authority;

e) The defendant has been duly summoned for the lawsuit under the law of the court’s country of origin, and the principles of adversarial procedure and of equality between the parties have been observed in the proceedings;

f) It does not contain a decision whose recognition leads to a result that is manifestly incompatible with the principles of the international public order of the Portuguese State.


Which proceedings for reviewing/confirming foreign judgements do clients request the most in Portugal?

Judgement of divorce (consensual or contentious rendered in a Notary Public or in Court);

Deed of non-marital partnership (stable union confirmed by a public deed of stable union declaration by the Notary Public abroad);

Judgement on adoption;

Judgement on the Regulation of Parental Responsibilities;

However, all decisions (judgements) delivered by foreign courts that need to take effect in Portugal – whether of civil, indemnity or other type of conviction – must be reviewed/confirmed by the respective Portuguese Court.


Required documents for the proceedings of review/approval of foreign judgements, namely in the case of divorce, adoption and regulation of parental responsibilities:

Certificate of the decision to be reviewed/confirmed, mentioning it is a final and binding decision, with a mention, duly translated and certified (affixed an apostille) in the case of countries of the Hague Convention, or (certified) at the Portuguese Consulate in the country of origin (for countries that are not part of the Hague Convention);

Birth certificate of the intervening parties (affixed an apostille or certified by the participant who is not Portuguese);

Certified copy of the intervening parties’ documents;

Identification and address of the parties;

Power of attorney;

If both parties are petitioners (if both grant the power of attorney) summoning is avoided and the proceedings are processed much faster). Since it is not an urgent procedure, it is suspended during judicial vacation;

As each case is different, please refer to the firm for a pre-proceedings analysis and information regarding the documents required for your particular case.

The Miraldina Trigueirão Lawyers firm analyses the proceedings feasibility in advance, informs about the necessary documents, files the case with the respective Court and follows the proceedings until it is final, always keeping the client informed about the its status.

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