Class Actions in Portugal:
The Portuguese class action regime is unique and particularly claimant friendly. It is often overlooked, internationally, that Portugal is one of the few EU jurisdictions with an opt-out class action regime. At the same time, when it comes to reaction to unlawful practices causing mass damage, the regime has hardly ever been used and has almost never been successful. Portugal is, therefore, an important case study to understand the factors that can facilitate or stand in the way of the effective use of a class action regime.
This paper is meant, first and foremost, for practitioners and policy makers. It succinctly describes the legal framework for civil class actions in Portugal. It then provides an overview of the practical reality of class actions in Portugal, including the recent watershed change that has occurred in the use of this mechanism.