Comparative law and justice/Portugal

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Flag of Portugal.

Basic Information[edit | edit source]

Portugal is ranked 110 in terms of its size and of its landmass.[1] The population is ranked seventy-sixth in regards to the world with a population of 10,707,924.[2] Portugal is located in Europe directly next to Spain. Portugal occupies 92,090 sqaure kilometers of land, the terrain of the land has mountains to the north and rolling plains to the south.[3] Portugal's weather is different between the north and south of the country. Cool and rainy in the north and hot and dry in the south.[4] The total population of Portugal is estimated to be around 10,707,924. Within this population Roman Catholics dominate most of the religions with 84.5%. 9% of the population's religion is unknown, 2.2% is Christian, 0.3% is other, and 3.9% is Athiest.[5]

Economic Development, Health, and Education[edit | edit source]

Portugal's economy was in a steady decline up into the year 2007. Portugal changed their currency in 2002 to the euro. Portugal educational system seems to be struggling, as it is an unmoving and a unwavering obtacle. In 2005 the budget deficit was at an all time high at 6% and it declined in 2007 to 2.6% which was a great leap for them because they were not expecting such a cut to happen so fast. Portugal's GDP(2008 est.) is 235.6 billion. Which is ranked 48 compared to the rest of the world. Portugal prides itself on the production of grain, potatoes, tomatoes, olives, grapes, sheep, cattle, goats, swine, poultry, dairy products, and fish which is there main sources of agriculture. In their industry section of their country, textiles, clothing, footwear, paper, chemicals, auto-parts manufacturing, base metals, diary products, wine and other foods, porcelain and ceramics, glassware, technology, telecommunications, ship construction and refurbishment, and tourism are their main sources. The unemployment rate went from 8% in 2007 to 7.6% in 2008. 18 percent of the popuation is below the poverty line.[6]

Brief History[edit | edit source]

In the 15th and 16th century portugal was a global maritime power. Portugal lost a large portion of its wealth when it's capital city, Lisbon, was struck by a servere earthquake in 1755. In 1910, the monarchy had been disposed, and for the next 64 years, an oppressive government ran the country. A left wing military coup turned the country into accepting democratic reforms. After accepting democratic reforms Portugal granted Independence to all of its African colonies.[7]

Governance[edit | edit source]

Portugal is officially known as the Portuguese Republic. The government type is a Parliamentary Democracy. [8]

Elections[edit | edit source]

In article 116 of Portugal's constitution, it explains the general principles of elections. Any person who is voting or who wants to be a candidate must register. There is a single registration system for all elections by direct universal suffrage. Election campaigns must follow rules in acordane to freedom of propaganda, equality of opportunity and treatment for all candidates involved in the election. Impartiality towards candidates on the part of public bodies. There is supervision of vote-counting. All citizens have the duty to collaborate with the election administrators only in ways recognized by the law. Vote casts are given to the respective candidate. After an election has occured the courts are to judge the regularity and validity of the acts of electoral procedure. Also article 129 explains the election system of Portugal. A candidate who recieves more than half the votes validly is elected the President of the Republic. Blank ballots are not considered as having been validly casted. If no candidate recieves the number of votes needed to gain office, then there is a second election on the twenty-first day following the date of the first election. Only the top two candidates who have received the most votes and who have not withdrawn from the election stand can still participate in the election.[9]

Courts and Criminal Law[edit | edit source]

The Constitutional Court, was made by constitutional reform of 1982. The duty of this court judges whether legislative acts are legal and constitutional. Among other duties, this court also overlooks the ability of the president to carry out presidential actions and to examine international relations, treaties, and agreements by looking at if they are constitutional or not. Ten of its thirteen members are chosen by the Assembly of the Republic. The Supreme Court of Justice is designated the "highest court of law," but "without prejudice to the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court," and heads the court system that deals with civil and criminal cases.The first courts to try a case are the municipal and district courts. Then follows after the ruling courts of appeal. As of the early 1990s, there were four of these latter courts. The Supreme Court of Justice may serve as a court of first instance in some cases and as an appeals court in others.[10] The Supreme Court of Administration examines the fiscal and administrative conduct of government institutions. As it is not concerned with the state's political decisions or legislation. One section of this court deals with administrative disputes. Below there are three courts of first instance. Another section deals with tax disputes and is supported by courts of first and second instance. In addition to these courts, there is a Court of Audit situated in the Ministry of Finance. This court Oversees the nominations, training, promotions, transfers, and professional conduct of Portugal's judges which are the Higher Council of the Bench and the Superior Council of the Administrative and Fiscal Courts. These bodies have the right to discipline judges whose conduct does not comply with the law. Also looking after the rights of the citizens is the ombudsman, elected by the Assembly of the Republic for a four-year term. In the early 1990s, this official received some 3,000 complaints a year from Portuguese who felt they had been improperly dealt with by state institutions.[11]

Punishment[edit | edit source]

Anybody violating the law of Portugal whether knowingly or unknowingly will be arrested or even imprisoned. This is because Portugal believes that even if the convicted person is not a citizen of Portugal, you must abide by the rules set forth by the constitution. Portugal was one of the first countries in the world to abolish the death penalty during the 19th century. The Most amount of time that can be served in prison is 25 years, there is no life sentence. They believe that a person will be rehabilatated after 25 years. In 2001 Portugal decriminalized drugs for personal use.[12]

Legal Personnel[edit | edit source]

The Public Prosecutors represent the State. They take criminal proceedings, defend democratic legality, and defend such interests which are indicated by law. The prosecutors as a whole have an independent and represent what is conformity with the law. Public Prosecutors are responsible magistrates. There power cannot be transferred, suspended, retired, or dismissed except as provided by law. The AttorneyGeneral has the power to appoint, assign, transfer, and promote the Public Prosecutors. Him or her being able to have such powers, also gives him the power to exercise disciplinary action against the Prosecutors. The Attorney General is the highest power in public prosecution. The law determines membership and power of the Attorney General's Office. The Attorney-General presides over the Higher Council of the Public Prosecution. [13]

Law Enforcement[edit | edit source]

The police has the job of defending democratic legality and the rights and protection of the citizens of Portugal. The police rules are provided for by law and may not be used beyond what is strictly necessary.[14] They can only do what is granted to them under the law. They cannot abuse there power and go over the top with the way they handle situations. There major job is the prevention of crimes. Which includes crimes against the security of the State, and to the rights, freedoms, and safeguards of citizens. The law determines the system governing the security forces, each of which has a single organization for the whole national territory.[15]

Crime Rates and Public Opinion[edit | edit source]

The total prison population of portugal is 13,384 prisoners. The crime trend went up sharply in 2000 to 2002. Thefts have increased in recent years, raising the low crime rate. Travelers may become targets of pickpockets and purse snatchers, particularly at popular tourist sites, restaurants, or on public transportation.[16] Possession and consumption of small quantities of narcotics were decriminalized in 2000 and legalized a year later.[17]

Rates of Key Crimes in
Rapes Murder
1875 per 100,000 people 4 per 100,000 people 3 per 100,000 people

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Rights[edit | edit source]

Family Law[edit | edit source]

Family Law in Portugal is quite similar to America's. Everyone has the right to start a family and marry on terms of complete equality. The requirements for and against marriage and its dissolution by death or divorce are regulated by law without distinction as to the form in which the marriage is or was contracted. Spouses have equal rights and duties with respect to their civil as well as the maintenance and upbringing of their children. Children born out of wedlock may not for that reason be the subject of discrimination. Parents have the right and the duty to bring up and maintain their children. Children are not to be separated from their parents unless they fail to perform their fundamental duties towards the former, and then only by judicial decision. Adoption is regulated and protected in accordance with the law.[19]

Social Inequality[edit | edit source]

All of Portugal's citizens have the same social dignity and they are equal before the law. No one has any advantages or disadvantages before the law, because of his or her ancestry, sex, race, language, country of origin, religion, ideology, education, economic situation, or social conditions. The only inequality that is known to be in Portugal is against the working class. [20]

Human Rights[edit | edit source]

The rights of all Portuguese citizens are protected by the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. It is also protected by the Portuguese Constitution. The purpose of the Portuguese Constitution is to ensure that all of its citizens are equal and they have the opportunity of equal justice, dignity and rights. Portugal's Constitution holds alot of information regarding the rights and civil liberties of each of its citizens. Their constituion is very similiar to the United States of America's constitution, and it covers the rights of citizens from A to Z. Articles 24 to 47 deal with the personal rights, freedoms, and the safeguards.The Articles 48 to 52 deal with the politcal freedoms. Articles 53 to 57 deal with all rights for workers. The article 58 to 72 deal with the articles of social rights, and the economics rights as well as the duties you have as a parent. If you want to actually read what the articles are saying go to this website[21]

Works Cited==

  1. "CIA - The World Factbook -- Portugal." Welcome to the CIA Web Site Central Intelligence Agency. Web. 20 Nov. 2009. <>.
  2. "CIA - The World Factbook -- Portugal." Welcome to the CIA Web Site Central Intelligence Agency. Web. 20 Nov. 2009. <>.
  3. "CIA - The World Factbook -- Portugal." Welcome to the CIA Web Site Central Intelligence Agency. Web. 20 Nov. 2009. <>.
  4. "CIA - The World Factbook -- Portugal." Welcome to the CIA Web Site Central Intelligence Agency. Web. 20 Nov. 2009. <>.
  5. "CIA - The World Factbook -- Portugal." Welcome to the CIA Web Site Central Intelligence Agency. Web. 20 Nov. 2009. <>.
  6. "CIA - The World Factbook -- Portugal." Welcome to the CIA Web Site Central Intelligence Agency. Web. 20 Nov. 2009. <>.
  7. "CIA - The World Factbook -- Portugal." Welcome to the CIA Web Site Central Intelligence Agency. Web. 20 Nov. 2009. <>.
  8. "CIA - The World Factbook -- Portugal." Welcome to the CIA Web Site Central Intelligence Agency. Web. 20 Nov. 2009. <>.
  9. "ICL - Portugal - Constitution." Portugals Constitution. Web. 24 Nov. 2009. <>.
  10. "CIA - The World Factbook -- Portugal." Welcome to the CIA Web Site Central Intelligence Agency. Web. 20 Nov. 2009. <>.
  11. "ICL - Portugal - Constitution." Portugals Constitution. Web. 24 Nov. 2009. <>.
  13. "ICL - Portugal - Constitution." Portugals Constitution. Web. 24 Nov. 2009. <>.
  14. "ICL - Portugal - Constitution." Portugals Constitution. Web. 24 Nov. 2009. <>.
  15. "Portugal." Welcome to Travel.State.Gov. Web. 20 Nov. 2009. <>.
  16. "Portugal." Welcome to Travel.State.Gov. Web. 20 Nov. 2009. <>.
  17. "Portugal - Crime." The S&S Media Technology Group. Web. 20 Nov. 2009. <>.
  18. "Portugal - Crime." The S&S Media Technology Group. Web. 20 Nov. 2009. <>.
  19. "ICL - Portugal - Constitution." Portugals Constitution. Web. 24 Nov. 2009. <>.
  20. "ICL - Portugal - Constitution." Portugals Constitution. Web. 24 Nov. 2009. <>.
  21. "ICL - Portugal - Constitution." Portugals Constitution. Web. 24 Nov. 2009. <>.