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Foreign Judgement Review Process

The review and confirmation of foreign judgments is a judicial action that is necessary for decisions handed down by foreign courts to be effective in Portugal through the judicial review procedure.

To confirm a foreign judgment is to internally recognize its effects in the state of origin, as a judicial act, per the law of that same state.

Thus, if a Portuguese citizen, for example, divorces, adopts, or lives in a de facto union (stable union) outside the country, these acts must be recognized by the Portuguese court for them to have effects in Portugal.

Thus, to confirm a foreign judgment is to recognize internally the effects it has in the state of origin, as a jurisdictional act, according to the law of that same state.

Some of these effects are res judicata and enforceability, although there may be constitutive, secondary effects or effects of the foreign judgment as a simple means of proof.

Given the provisions of article 979 of the Code of Civil Procedure, for the review and confirmation of a foreign judgment, the Court of Appeal of the area in which the person against whom the judgment is sought is domiciled has jurisdiction, observing, with the necessary adaptations, the provisions of articles 80 to 82 of the same Code and the additional criteria of the forum.

Article 978 of the Code of Civil Procedure states that, without prejudice to the provisions of treaties, conventions, European Union regulations, and special laws, no judgment on private rights handed down by a foreign court shall have effect in Portugal, whatever the nationality of the parties, unless it has been reviewed and confirmed.

In addition, the confirmation/revision of judgments/decisions handed down by the courts of European Union countries is dispensable (with a few exceptions), under Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 of 27 November 2003 concerning jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial matters and the matters of parental responsibility, which repealed Regulation (EC) No 1347/2000.

Requirements for the confirmation of a foreign judgment

For a judgment to be confirmed, it is necessary: (Article 980 of the CPC)

  • There is no doubt about the authenticity of the document containing the judgment or the intelligence of the decision;
  • It must have become res judicata under the law of the country in which it was handed down in the same way as provided for in Article 628 of the CPC, as soon as the subject matter of the decision handed down is considered to be stabilized in the legal order and its effects immutable;
  • It comes from a foreign court whose jurisdiction has not been invoked in fraud of the law and does not deal with a matter that falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Portuguese courts;
  • The defense of lis pendens or res judicata cannot be invoked based on a case before a Portuguese court unless it was the foreign court that prevented jurisdiction;
  • That the defendant has been duly summoned to the action, under the terms of the law of the country of the court of origin, and that the principles of adversarial proceedings and equality of the parties have been observed in the proceedings;
  • It does not contain a judgment whose recognition leads to a result that is manifestly incompatible with the principles of international public order of the Portuguese State.

Documents required for the process of reviewing foreign judgments, particularly in the case of divorce, adoption, and regulation of parental responsibilities:

  • Certificate of the decision to be reviewed/confirmed, with mention of res judicata, duly translated and legalized (apostilled) in the case of countries that have acceded to the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 (Decree-Law no. 48 450), or (certified) at the Portuguese Consulate in the country of origin (in the case of countries that have not acceded to the Hague Convention) – as referred to in Article 1(a) of the said Convention;
  • Birth certificate of the interveners (apostilled or certified for the intervener who does not have Portuguese nationality);
  • Certified copies of the parties’ documents;
  • Identification and address of the parties;
  • Power of attorney.
  • In addition, if both parties are applicants (if both grant the power of attorney), the service of process is avoided and the case is processed more quickly.) As this is not an urgent case, it is suspended during court holidays.
  • More importantly, as each case is different, consult the office for a pre-analysis of the case and information on the documents required for your specific case.
Créditos: Imagem de <a href="https://br.freepik.com/fotos-gratis/homem-negocios-e-executiva-sentando-frente-gerente-em-local-trabalho_3156909.htm#query=revis%C3%A3o%20de%20senten%C3%A7a&position=1&from_view=search&track=ais&uuid=11c077ae-7e85-4c63-bf8f-23fb68a8e4b2">Freepik</a>

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