Enforcing arbitral awards in Portugal
Produced in partnership with Duarte Henriques of BCH Lawyers

The following Arbitration practice note produced in partnership with Duarte Henriques of BCH Lawyers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Enforcing arbitral awards in Portugal
  • 'Pre-enforcement procedure' of arbitral awards
  • Enforcement procedure of domestic arbitral awards
  • Enforcement procedure of foreign arbitral awards
  • Quantification of damages

Enforcing arbitral awards in Portugal

The legal framework applicable to arbitration in Portugal has undergone a complete change since 2011. Law no. 63/2011 of 14 December 2011 (PAL) entered into force on 14 March 2012 and repealed Law no. 31/86 of 29 August 1986 (Old PAL).

The Portuguese legal regime on the enforcement of arbitral awards, whether domestic or international, had previously seen considerable change. The legal provisions on the enforcement of arbitral awards in the Old PAL consisted of a mere two sentences written in two lines each:

  1. the first set out the jurisdiction of the 'Courts of Enforcement' (First Instance) to conduct the enforcement procedures—art 30, Old PAL

  2. the second (art 31, Old PAL) provided that an award debtor that had not filed a set aside law action in a timely manner was not prevented from resisting a subsequent enforcement by invoking any ground applicable to the annulment procedure

Despite the scarcity of art 30 and art 31 of Old PAL, art 814 and art 815 of the Portuguese Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) did not allow any kind of dispute as to the grounds on which a party could resist the enforcement of a domestic arbitral award. Indeed, the award debtor could oppose the enforcement of an arbitral award by resorting to the grounds generically applicable to the opposition to enforcement of any common

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