The defence lawyer has the duty to defend the defendant's rights in the proceedings.

Anyone who is a defendant in criminal proceedings is entitled to a lawyer. If the defendant does not have a lawyer, one will be assigned by the Portuguese Bar Association (Ordem dos Advogados) at the court's request.

The defendant is entitled to be accompanied by the defence lawyer at all the procedures in which he/she participates. Moreover, during certain events in the case, the lawyer's presence is mandatory.

The defence lawyer, in representation of and protecting the defendant's rights and interests, takes an active role in the proceedings by submitting evidence or requesting that evidence be gathered, questioning the defendant, the witnesses and the victim, and lodging an appeal against decisions with which he/she does not agree.

The victim may feel uncomfortable about some of the defence lawyer's questions if he/she thinks that what he/she went through is being challenged. Don’t forget that it is the duty of the defence lawyer to protect the defendant's interests. If any question goes beyond what is acceptable, it is for the judge to interrupt and maintain the order and discipline at the trial.

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