COVID-19 leads to legal deadline suspension in Portugal

The Law 4-B/2021 was approved and published on Monday 1 February and has added major changes to Law 1-A/2020, ruling procedural and legal deadlines amongst other extraordinary measures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to this law, we have outlined the following:

  1. This law was published on 01.02.2021 and has come into force on 02.02.2021, even though its effects start from 22.01.2021 – art. 5º;
  2. The legal deadlines on pending lawsuits, non-urgent administrative and other proceedings are suspended from 22.01.2021 – art. 6º-B/1 and 2;
  3. Limitation and forfeiture periods are suspended – art. 6º-B/3;
  4. Non-urgent court dates and trials will continue to take place, as long as its parties agree on the use of remote computer platforms for that effect – art. 6º-B/5/a), b) and c);
  5. Insolvency petition and enforcement proceedings’ deadlines ae suspended, except for payments due do the enforcer or acts or omission that jeopardize the enforcer’s subsistence - Art. 6ºB/6/a), b) and 11;
  6. Administrative offences, fines and disciplinary procedures are suspended, including the period to react against any decision issued thereof - art. 6º-C/1,
  7. Administrative offence and fiscal defence proceedings are suspended – art. 6º-C/1/c) and 2;

Also important:

  1. Urgent type files will NOT be suspended – Art. 6º-B/7/10;
  2. This law will not stop courts from issuing decisions, in which case, the appeal and reform period for those decisions will not be suspended. Even so, we are aware that this interpretation may not be consensual and advise all our clients to not consider any suspension in relation to appeal and reaction against court decisions – Art. 6ºB/5/d);
  3. Every party, witness, attorney or individual person who is due to appear in court and is, over 70 years of age, immune-suppressed or chronically ill, may not make that appearance if proof is presented as to their condition (ex. Doctor’s certificate or citizen card), with the option to use remote computer platforms - Art. 6º-B/8.