Access to justice seeks to ensure that nobody is hindered in or prevented from exercising or protecting their rights because of their social or cultural background, financial means or knowledge.
Victims are entitled to legal aid and advice about their role during the entire procedure.
Victims are also entitled to legal aid when they have the status of assistant or of a civil party, or when, as witnesses, they would like to be accompanied by a lawyer at any procedure but cannot afford the expenses.

Legal aid includes:

  • total or partial exemption from the payment of court fees;
  • appointment of a lawyer and payment of his/her fees; or
  • payment of court fees or legal fees in instalments.

Applications for legal aid are decided by the social security services on the basis of a calculation of the assets, income and expenses of the applicant. Legal aid application forms are provided free of charge by the social security services, and may be submitted in person, by fax, by post or online. The application must be accompanied by documents proving the applicant’s lack of means, and the decision will be given within 30 days.

The application is free of charge for the victim.
For more information and to see the legal aid form, please click here.

When an application for the appointment of a lawyer is approved, the social security services will ask the Portuguese Bar Association (Ordem dos Advogados) to assign a lawyer to represent the victim.

Victims of domestic violence, female genital mutilation, slavery, human trafficking, sexual coercion and rape are exempt from payment of court fees.

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