The victim's lawyer has the duty of helping the victim throughout the legal proceedings:
he/she explains how the proceedings progress, provides advice and information about the victim's rights and helps the victim to exercise these rights and protect his/her interests.

The role that the victim's lawyer can take in the proceedings depends on the position of the victim.
To find out more about the victim's role in the proceedings, click here.

If the victim participates in the proceedings only as a witness, the lawyer may accompany him/her whenever the victim's presence is required and, when necessary, inform the victim about his/her rights, but he/she cannot intervene.

If the victim is a civil party in the proceedings, he/she must be represented by a lawyer if the claim for compensation is over €5,000. If it is less than this amount, the victim may still have a lawyer but is not obliged to do so. The lawyer's role in this case is to defend the victim's right to compensation. It is the lawyer's responsibility to file the claim and the supporting evidence, particularly of the harm caused to the victim, to participate in the trial by questioning the defendant, the witnesses and the expert witnesses about aspects related to the compensation claim, and to lodge an appeal if he/she does not agree with the decision on the claim.

If the victim has the status of assistant, legal representation is compulsory. It is the lawyer, in protection of the victim's interests, who will, for example, submit evidence or request evidence that he/she considers to be important, cross-examine the defendant, the witnesses and the expert witnesses and lodge an appeal against decisions with which he/she does not agree. The lawyer may also agree to the provisional suspension of the proceedings, proposing one or more orders, or, alternatively, not agree to this alternative measure.

In summary, the victim need not always be accompanied by a lawyer: as a witness, the victim only has a lawyer if he/she so wishes; as a civil party, he/she is only required to have a lawyer if the value of the claim is over €5,000; as an assistant, the victim is required to have a lawyer.

Being the victim of a crime does not mean having an automatic right to have a lawyer appointed and paid for by the State. The victim is only entitled to apply for legal aid if he/she cannot afford a lawyer's fees.
To find out more about legal aid, click here.
If you think that a lawyer has not respected your rights, you should report this to the Portuguese Bar Association (Ordem dos Advogados).

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