1 Existence of an order for payment procedure
1.1 Scope of procedure
1.1.1 What types of claims are eligible (e.g. only pecuniary claims, only contractual claims etc.)?
The national order for payment procedure applies to the following claims:
- Financial obligations arising from contracts not exceeding EUR 15 000 pursuant to Article 1 of Decree-Law 269 of 1 September 1998;
- Regardless of value, late payment in commercial transactions as provided for in Article 10(1) of Decree-Law 62 of 10 May 2013.
Under the order for payment procedure provided for by national law, in the cases referred to above and where the claim is uncontested, the creditor can obtain an enforceable order (título executivo) without having to bring a declaratory action.
The payment order procedure is established by Decree-Law 269/98 and regulated by Chapter II of the annex to that law. Article 10 refers to the model payment order application approved by Ministerial Implementing Order No 21 of 28 January 2020.
1.1.2 Is there an upper limit regarding the value of the claim?
For claims arising from contracts, the maximum amount is EUR 15 000.
For claims arising from commercial transactions, there is no upper limit.
1.1.3 Is the use of that procedure optional or obligatory?
Use of the procedure is optional.
1.1.4 Is the procedure available if the defendant lives in another Member State or in a third country?
The legal rules on the order for payment procedure do not exclude cases where the debtor lives outside Portugal.
1.2 Competent court
In Portugal the competent body is the National Payment Orders Office (Balcão Nacional de Injunções), a single registry located in Porto. The contact details are available here.
The creditor may choose to lodge the payment order application with either the National Payment Order Office, the registry of court of the place of performance of the obligation, or the registry of the court of the debtor’s domicile, which will subsequently send it to the National Payment Order Office (Article 8(1) of the annex to Decree-Law 269/98).
Users can consult the payment order procedure and access the enforcement order electronically on the Citius Portal.
1.3 Formal requirements
Pursuant to Article 10 of the Annex to Decree-Law No 269/98, for the purposes of the order for payment procedure the applicant must:
- Identify the registry of the court to which the application is addressed;
- Identify the parties;
- Specify the place where notification must be served, stating whether it is the place of ‘residence’ agreed in a written contract;
- Set out succinctly the facts underlying the claim;
- Formulate the request, specifying the value of the principal, the interest due and other amounts payable;
- Confirm that the court fees have been paid;
- State, where appropriate, that the claim relates to a ‘commercial transaction’;
- Give his/her place of residence;
- Give his/her email address, if he/she wishes to receive communications or be notified by that means;
- State whether he/she wishes the case to proceed as a declaratory action, should notification be thwarted;
- Specify the court with jurisdiction to assess the documents, if the case is to proceed as a declaratory action;
- State whether he/she wishes notification to be served by an enforcement agent or a legal representative and, if so, give that person’s name and business address;
- If the matter concerns a consumer contract, state whether the contract contains general terms and conditions, under penalty of being considered a vexatious litigant;
- Sign the application.
The rules regarding submitting and delivering the application for the order are set out in Article 5 of Ministerial Implementing Order (Portaria) No 220-A/2008 in conjunction with Article 8 of the Annex to Decree-Law 269/98. The above provide that:
- The application can be submitted from anywhere in the country.
- Barristers (advogados) and solicitors (solicitadores) must submit the application for the order electronically.
- Creditors not represented by a lawyer or solicitor can submit the application for the order on paper. In the latter case the creditor cannot lodge the paper application at the National Payment Orders Office; he or she must lodge it either at the registry of the court of the place of performance of the obligation, or at the registry of the court of the debtor’s domicile. If there are courts with specialised jurisdiction or specific jurisdiction, the application must be lodged at the registry of the relevant court in accordance with the respective rules of subject-matter jurisdiction. It is then for that registry to enter the application information in the IT system for processing payment orders. The date on which it was lodged at the registry is recorded as the date of the application.
1.3.1 Is the use of a standardised form obligatory? (if yes, where can that form be obtained?)
The mandatory application form for an order for payment as provided for by Ministerial Implementing Order No 21 of 18 January 2020 can be downloaded here.
The court registries competent to receive the paper application for a payment order can make the standard form available to citizens on request.
The electronic form is available to lawyers and solicitors via the e-mail address of the Citius Portal.
1.3.2 Is representation by a lawyer required?
It is not necessary to be represented by a barrister in this procedure, but claimants can appoint a legal representative if they so wish (Article 10(5) of the annex to Decree-Law 269/98).
1.3.3 In how much detail do I have to describe the reason for the claim?
Article 10(2)(d) of Decree-Law 269/98 requires claimants to set out succinctly the facts underlying their claim.
1.3.4 Is it necessary to present written evidence of the claim at issue? If yes, which documents are admissible as proof?
Evidence must be presented only when an objection is lodged, in which case the order for payment is dealt with as a special or ordinary declaratory action in accordance with the cases provided for in Article 3 of Decree-Law 269/98 and Article 10(2) to (4) of Decree-Law 62/2013 respectively.
1.4 Rejection of application
The application for an order for payment may be rejected on the grounds set out in Article 11 of Decree-Law 269/98, if:
- it is not addressed to the competent court registry or the claimant has failed to specify the court with jurisdiction to examine the file, if the case is to proceed as a declaratory action;
- it contains no mention of the identity of the parties, the claimant’s place of residence or the place where the debtor is to be notified;
- it is not signed (only in cases where it was not submitted electronically);
- it is not written in Portuguese;
- it does not follow the model approved by the Implementing Order of the Minister of Justice;
- there is no indication that the court fees have been paid;
- the amount at stake exceeds € 15 000.00, and there is no indication that a commercial transaction is involved;
- the request does not match the amount or purpose of the procedure.
An appeal against a decision to reject an application may be lodged with the judge or, where the court has more than one judge, with the duty judge (Article 11(2) of the annex to Decree-Law No 269/98).
1.6 Statement of opposition
The time limit for opposing the order for payment is 15 days (Article 12(1) of the annex to Decree-Law 269/98).
1.7 Effect of statement of opposition
If the defendant challenges the order, it is not given enforceable effect.
The case is then transferred back to the ordinary cases, taking the form of a special or ordinary declaratory action in accordance with the cases provided for in Article 3 of the annex to Decree‑Law No 269/98 and Article 10(2) to (4) of Decree-Law No 62/2013 respectively.
1.8 Effect of lack of statement of opposition
If, after being duly notified in accordance with Articles 12 and 13 of the annex to Decree-Law 269/98, the defendant does not submit a statement of opposition, the registrar attaches the following words to the application for an order for payment: ‘This document has enforceable effect’ (Este documento tem força executiva) (Article 14(1) of the annex to Decree-Law 269/98).
The order then constitutes an enforcement order.
1.8.1 What needs to be done in order to obtain an enforceable decision?
Once the enforcement clause has been appended, the registrar makes the order available to the applicant, preferably by electronic means (Article 14(5) of the annex to Decree-Law 269/98).
1.8.2 Is this decision final or is there still a possibility for the defendant to appeal against that decision?
A complaint against refusal of enforceability can be brought before the court. Inclusion of the enforcement clause can be rejected if the application does not match the amount or purpose of the procedure (Article 14(3) and (4) of the annex to Decree-Law 269/98).
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