Extraordinary Measures – COVID19 – Practice of Acts by electronic means

By Sunday April 26th, 2020 Covid 19, Direito Português

Still, on the path of legislative production during the pandemic period we find ourselves in, Decree-Law 16/2020 was published on 15-04-2020, which establishes some exceptional measures on the practice of acts by electronic means, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government begins by asserting that, in order to maintain the effort to contain the spread of the virus, it is desirable that, as much as possible, acts that were performed in person at the registry services and justices of the peace, are carried out remotely.

Thus, the central idea is to streamline urgent processes in the Justice of the Peace courts, facilitate registration requests, continue the registration procedures and acts already carried out and ensure processes conducted by the National Institute of Industrial Property.

Thus, regarding the justices of the peace, an exceptional and temporary regime was established that allows the use of means of distance communication, such as electronic mail, telephone, teleconferencing and video calls for the practice of procedural acts.

In registration processes and acts, whenever there is no possibility of making requests for registration online, the possibility of doing so by email is available.

And, in the scope of the procedures conducted by INPI, I. P., the mandatory use, by the interested parties, of the online services of this Institute, as well as the possibility of carrying out notifications through electronic mail is established.

So let’s see, in concrete terms, what was defined by DL 16/2020 of April 15, which came into force on 4/17/2020:

Justice of the peace:

– All parties, the judge of the peace and the secretariat may use electronic mail, telephone, teleconferencing and video calls for urgent procedural acts.

– Each judge of the peace must inform the public, through the disclosure made by the Ministry of Justice, about their opening hours and modalities, as well as about the distance communication services available.


Civil, Automobile, Commercial and Property Registration Acts and Requests:

– Requests for civil registration, car registration, commercial and property registration can be made through email sent to the respective registration service or by other electronic means defined by the IRN board, I. P.

– These requests must be made by means of an application signed electronically by the intervening parties, using a citizen card, digital mobile key or certified electronic signature.

In this particular case, it is important to mention that Lawyers have a certified electronic signature that allows them to make all requests for civil, automobile, commercial and property registration stipulated here, as well as through online registration platforms.

– If there is a form available in a specific model for the registration application, the application must be made through a form.

– Payment for registration requests can be made through a reference of payment provided by the registration service and, exceptionally, by check drawn on an entity with representation in Portugal or by postal order, and it must be made prior to sending the application for registration and proof of payment must accompany it.

– The submission of the digitization of original documents on paper is accepted, by those who have the ability to certify photocopies assigned by law, for example by notaries or lawyers.

The diploma also qualifies the registration of company incorporations, capital increase and reduction and the appointment of managers as urgent.

Requests for Birth Registry and Attribution of Portuguese Nationality:

– Birth registry and nationality attribution declarations, which were made verbally before a public official, can now be made by written declaration sent by email in accordance with a declaration template to be made available by the service itself.

– Upon receipt of the declaration by the services, the registry office prepares the birth certificate and sends the number and year, as well as a copy, to the applicant by email.

Thus, it is clear that the idea of ​​these measures is to keep people away from registration services, allowing them to communicate remotely with the services and with the Public Administration. And, although we see this measure with good eyes, we cannot help wondering why measures such as this, which allow a much more efficient and quick contact with the services, maintaining all the security and integrity of communications, were not instituted a long time ago.

Thank you for being on that side


Joana Nunes