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How to claim debts in Portugal: Step-by-step guide

How to claim debts in Portugal: Step-by-step guide

In the business world, unpaid debts can become a significant challenge, especially when it comes to international transactions.

Below we will provide you with an informative guide for debt recovery in Portugal. This procedure is especially applicable to debts of large sums of money.

How does the debt claim procedure work in Portugal?

Portugal, as a member of the European Union, has adopted standardized procedures for handling unpaid debts. However, each country has its legal peculiarities and Portugal is no exception. To understand how debt claims work in Portugal, it is essential to take into account three main aspects: the contract, the mediation and the legal procedure.

The importance of the contract

It all starts with the contract, the document that establishes the obligations and responsibilities of both parties.

In case of non-compliance with the terms and conditions established in the contract by one of the parties, the other has the right to claim compliance with the debt. Contracts must be clear, detailed and signed by both parties to be legal and valid.

The mediation attempts

Before resorting to judicial measures, it is advisable to try to resolve the situation through direct communication with the debtor. Many times, payment problems can simply be the result of misunderstandings or temporary difficulties.

If an amicable agreement cannot be reached, mediation may be considered. In Portugal, there are mediation bodies that can facilitate negotiations between the parties in conflict, offering a less expensive and faster alternative to court. 

The path to legal action and the procedure to recover debts

If the above strategies fail to resolve the problem, the next step is to initiate legal proceedings. This is an important decision, as it can involve a significant commitment of time and resources.

However, in case of large debts, it may be the only viable path. During the legal procedure, the case will be taken to a court that will decide on the validity of the claim and, if appropriate, will establish the conditions for the recovery of the debt.

Claim debts in Portugal

Necessary documentation

To start a debt, claim in Portugal, you must prepare the relevant documentation. This will include the original contract, unpaid invoices, and any relevant communication showing that the debtor has failed to meet its financial obligations.

The European payment orders

An excellent tool at your disposal is the European Payment Order. This procedure allows creditors from one EU country to claim uncontested debts in another EU country, including Portugal. 

Start a debt procedure in Portugal

Starting the debt claim process is a decision that should not be taken lightly. This process can be both costly and time-consuming, so making sure you have all the necessary items moving forward is essential. Let's see the key steps that need to be followed in Portugal.

Gather all relevant documentation

The essential first step to start a debt claim in Portugal is to gather all the relevant documentation.

This includes, but is not limited to, the original contract signed by both parties, invoices, receipts, proof of delivery of products or services, and any correspondence related to the agreement and the attempt to recover the debt. This documentation will provide the solid foundation for your claim. 

Explore the route of the European Payment Order

The European Union has established a procedure, known as the European Payment Order, designed specifically for the recovery of uncontested cross-border debts.

This is an efficient and effective method to claim a debt in another EU country, such as Portugal. It starts with filing a standard application, which must be completed in the language of the court in the country where the claim is filed.

Prepare the claim before the competent Courts

If the debt claim is disputed or if the European Payment Order is not appropriate for your situation, you may need to prepare a claim to file before the Portuguese courts.

In this case, the assistance of a lawyer who understands Portuguese laws and procedures is required. The claim must include details of the contract, an explanation of how the contract was breached, and evidence of damages suffered as a result.

Judicial procedure and debt recovery in Portugal

When all extrajudicial measures have been exhausted without success, prosecution may be the next step in claiming debts in Portugal. This phase can be complex and long, but it is sometimes necessary to recover significant debts. Here's an overview of this process.

The litigation stages

Litigation is a formal process that takes place in court. The objective is to obtain a legal sentence that obliges the debtor to pay the amount owed. At this stage, your lawyer will present evidence of the debt and argue your case before the judge. Depending on the circumstances, this process can take anywhere from a few months to several years.

The sentence and its execution

If the court rules in your favor, it will issue a judgment that officially acknowledges the debt and establishes the debtor's obligation to pay. The judgment may require an additional stage of enforcement, where legal steps are taken to force the debtor to comply with the judgment

How can we help you to recover your debts in Portugal?

At Forcam Lawyers, a law firm, we have experts in debt claims in Portugal. We know that each case is unique, so we work closely with our clients to design a strategy that fits their specific needs. 

We understand the challenges and complexities of this process and we are here to ease your path to recovering your funds.

Recovering a debt in Portugal can be a complex process, but with the right procedure and the right support, it can be done effectively.

We hope this guide has been helpful to you, if you are considering claiming a debt in Portugal, do not hesitate to contact Forcam Lawyers. Our international debt lawyers will study your specific case. We offer assistance and legal advice to recover debts in Portugal. In addition, we have:

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