State immunity and arbitration in Portugal
Produced in partnership with Duarte Henriques of BCH Lawyers
State immunity and arbitration in Portugal

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

  • State immunity and arbitration in Portugal
  • State immunity in Portugal
  • The constitutional recognition of international law
  • State immunity as a 'customary' norm and principle of international law
  • The principle of limited jurisdiction
  • Who bears the burden of proof of whether a particular act falls within or outside the scope of immunity?

This Practice Note considers the role of state immunity in relation to arbitration proceedings in Portugal. For a general introduction to state immunity and arbitration, see Practice Note: State immunity and arbitration—general considerations. In addition, for Practice Notes on state immunity in a number of jurisdictions around the world (including England and Wales), see our ‘State immunity’ subtopic: State immunity and arbitration—overview.

State immunity in Portugal

State immunity is not a legal rule in force in the Portuguese jurisdiction. In fact, there is no express legal provision enacting the principle that ‘par in parem non habet judicio’ (state immunity). Although Portugal is a party to the United Nations Convention on Jurisdictional Immunities of States and their Property, drawn up on 17 January 2005 in New York (Portugal acceded to the New York Convention on State Immunity by Decree of the President of the Portuguese Republic No 57/2006 of 20 June 2006, which entered into force on 14 September 2006), this international legal instrument is not yet in force.

Portugal is also party to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963, but they have limited scope as far as the immunity of states is concerned.

On the other hand, considering that the vast majority of cases where the issue of immunity has arisen