News from Portugal
Brief Note on Mediation in Portugal
Portugal has developed mediation since 1997. First with the creation of an experimental Family Mediation Office, limited to the capital, Lisbon, in December of 1997 (Despacho n.º 12 368 do Ministério da Justiça, de 25/11/97, published in the Official Daily DR II Série, n.º 283 - December 9th, 1997.) The existence of neighbourhood small claims courts (Peace Courts – Julgados de Paz) was included in the 1976 Portuguese Constitution (Art 209). Although the Portuguese Constitution has been amended 7 times since then (1982, 1989, 1992, 1997, 2001, 2004 e 2005) article 209 has been kept standing. The Peace Courts came into existence by law of 2001 (Lei 78/2001 of July, 13th) and in its article 16 a mediation service was established that could take any controversy, even outside the jurisdiction of the Peace Court – the broad nature of this provision would make it possible to use the mediation services of the Peace Courts in cross-border or international mediation. No case of such instance has been reported and this service has been focused in small claims and torts. Cases can be brought to the Peace Courts that are below €5,000 (extended to €15,000 in 2013.
Please refer to Note at the end of this article.)
Mediation in Portugal
Juridical institutionalisation of Mediation in Portugal started in the last decade of the twentieth century. During recent years attention to ADR means of settling conflict has grown in the Portuguese society. The Public Mediation System (Julgado de Paz / Mediação Pública) offers Mediation in the fields of Community, Family, Workplace and Victim Offender, whereas private profit and non profit Mediation Centers, as well as independent Mediators, cover these and nearly all other intervention fields (School/Peer; Commerce, Intercultural, Socio-Cultural, Environmental Mediation, International Family and Business, etc.)