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Recognition and enforcement procedure

Formal procedure

What is the formal procedure for seeking recognition and enforcement of a foreign judgment?

EU member state judgments that are enforceable in the original member states are enforceable in Portugal and no further declaration of enforceability is required. To check whether a judgment is enforceable in the original court, the losing party must present a copy of the judgment and a certificate issued in accordance with the recast EU Brussels Regulation, attesting that the decision is enforceable and stipulating the proceedings costs to be recovered.

The losing party can oppose the enforcement on the grounds set forth in the recast EU Brussels Regulation.

Portuguese domestic law provides no formal procedure for the recognition or enforcement of a non-EU member state court judgment.


What is the typical timeframe for the proceedings to grant recognition and enforcement?

The typical timeframe largely depends on the specific court of appeal before which enforcement is sought. It usually takes from three to nine months to obtain a declaration of enforceability.


What fees apply to applications for recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments?

Recognition of a foreign judgment is a common legal action, which means that the Portuguese Proceedings Costs Regulation will determine the applicable fees. Judicial fees depend on the value of the claim and can vary from €102 to €1,632.

If the value of the claim exceeds €275,000, the remnant of the judicial fee amount will be considered at the final bill; for each €25,000 over €275,000, an extra €306 will be charged. However, in exceptional cases, the judge may consider that, given the complexity of the case and the conduct of the parties, a payment remission is justified. This is usually the case in a recognition proceeding.

Regarding enforcement proceedings, the Portuguese Proceedings Costs Regulation is also applicable and judicial fees vary from €25.50 to €408.


Must the applicant for recognition and enforcement provide security for costs?

The applicant need not provide security for the costs of the proceedings in the event of recognition or enforcement being refused.


Are decisions on recognition and enforcement subject to appeal?

Decisions on recognition and enforcement are subject to appeal, provided that the general requirements to lodge an appeal are met.

Other costs

How does the enforcing court address other costs issues arising in relation to the foreign judgment (eg, calculation of interest, exchange rates)?

The calculation of interest depends on the substantive law of the foreign state that issued the judgment. The exchange rate to be applied is usually set by the applicable law.

Enforcement against third parties

To what extent can the courts enforce a foreign judgment against third parties?

Foreign judgments can be enforced against third parties on the same basis as domestic judgments. Similarly, third parties can oppose such enforcement.

Nevertheless, only the parties to the action will be affected by res judicata.

Partial recognition and enforcement

Can the courts grant partial recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments?

When considering an application for recognition or enforcement, the courts will consider only the formal aspects of the proceeding, and will not re-examine the merits of the case. Generally, this means that the courts cannot grant partial recognition or enforcement. However, an exception will be made in regard to the judgment’s compatibility with Portuguese public policy. As a result, if isolated aspects of the decision violate public policy, the court can grant partial recognition refusing to recognise and enforce that part only.  

Nevertheless, no Portuguese court decision has been known to partially recognise a foreign judgement.

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