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International Judicial Cooperation

Service of documents in civil and commercial matters​​

Legal action has been initiated, different documents need to be transmitted to the opposing party with which there is a dispute, and to receive others. In legal terms, documents must be served, in principle the first of those documents whereby the opposite party takes note of the beginning of the procedure.

The Directorate-General for the Administration of Justice, through its International Judicial Cooperation Unit, is the central body responsible for providing information to the transmitting agencies and addressing solutions to any difficulties which may arise during the transmission of documents to be served.

The transmission channels, language, costs and forms necessary for the service of documents vary according to the applicable international judicial cooperation instrument. 

 

1965 Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters

The 1965 Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters establishes which channels are to be used when a judicial or extrajudicial document must be transmitted between States Parties to the Convention for service.

  • List of Contracting States
  • Communications made by Portugal: click here for more information.
  • Before submitting your request, check that all requirements are met in accordance with the communications made by Portugal)
    • Requests shall be referred to the Central Authority: Direção-Geral da Administração da Justiça (Directorate-General of Justice Administration - Ministry of Justice), Divisão de Cooperação Judiciária Internacional - Av. D. João II, 1.08.01 Edifício H, Piso 14, 1990-097 Lisboa, Portugal
    • Translation requirements (Art. 5(3)): translation into Portuguese of the document to be served, as well as the document’s summary and annexes thereto is mandatory.
    • Costs: in case of personal service by a court clerk no costs are incurred. Should the court opt for postal service then it is responsible for any costs incurred without possibility of reimbursement.

 

Regulation (EC) 1393/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the service in the Member States of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil or commercial matters

The aims of this Regulation is to put in place a fast, secure and standardised transmission procedure for judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil or commercial matters between parties located in different European Union (EU) countries.

  • Communications made by Portugal: click here for more information.
  • Before submitting your request, check that all requirements are met in accordance with the communications made by Portugal).
    The receiving agencies designated by Portugal are:
    • the general division (Juízo de Competência Genérica) or the local civil division (Juízo Local Cível), if one exists, of the district court with jurisdiction; and
    • enforcement agents (OSAE, the Association of Solicitors and Enforcement Agents, Ordem dos Solicitadores e dos Agentes de Execução).

Click here to view all competent authorities.

  • Language: Portugal will accept forms completed in Portuguese, English or Spanish.
  • Costs: Generally speaking, the service of judicial documents from another Member State does not give rise to the payment of any charges or costs if the documents are sent to the courts. However, if the documents are served in person by a court official or an enforcement agent, the following costs will apply:
    1. Enforcement agents: 
      1. If service is effected: €76. 
      2. If service is not effected (e.g. if the person to be served with documents did not reside at the given address or the address did not exist): €50.50
    2. Court officials: 
      1. If service is effected: €51. 
      2. If service is not effected (e.g. if the person to be served with documents did not reside at the given address or the address did not exist): no payment is due.