Constitution of the Portuguese Republic - Part I


Fundamental rights and duties


General principles

Article 12

(Principle of universality)

  1. Every citizen enjoys the rights and is subject to the duties enshrined in the Constitution.
  2. Legal persons enjoy the rights and are subject to the duties that are compatible with their nature.

Article 13

(Principle of equality)

  1. All citizens possess the same s>cial dignity and are equal before the law.
  2. No one may be privileged, favoured, prejudiced, deprived of any right or exempted from any duty for reasons of ancestry, sex, race, language, territory of origin, religion, political or ideological beliefs, education, economic situation, social circumstances or sexual orientation.

Article 14

(Portuguese abroad)

Portuguese citizens who find themselves or who reside abroad enjoy the state's protection in the exercise of the rights and are subject to the duties that are not incompatible with their absence from the country.

Article 15

(Foreigners, stateless persons, European citizens)

  1. Foreigners and stateless persons who find themselves or who reside in Portugal enjoy the same rights and are subject to the same duties as Portuguese citizens.
  2. Political rights, the exercise of public functions that are not predominantly technical in nature, and the rights and duties that the Constitution and the law reserve exclusively to Portuguese citizens are excepted from the provisions of the previous paragraph.
  3. Save for access to appointment to the offices of President of the Republic, President of the Assembly of the Republic, Prime Minister and President of any of the supreme courts, and for service in the armed forces and the diplomatic corps, rights that are not otherwise granted to foreigners are accorded, as laid down by law and under reciprocal terms, to the citizens of Portuguese-speaking states who reside permanently in Portugal.
  4. Under reciprocal terms, the law may accord foreigners who reside in Portugal the eligibility to vote for and stand for election as officeholders of local authority organs.
  5. Under reciprocal terms, the law may also accord citizens of European Union Member States who reside in Portugal the eligibility to vote for and stand for election as Members of the European Parliament.

Article 16

(Scope and interpretation of fundamental rights)

  1. The fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution shall not exclude any others set out in applicable international laws and legal rules.
  2. The constitutional precepts concerning fundamental rights must be interpreted and completed in harmony with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Article 17

(Regime governing rights, freedoms and guarantees)

The regime governing rights, freedoms and guarantees applies to those set out in Title II and to fundamental rights of an analogous nature.

Article 18

(Legal force)

  1. The constitutional precepts with regard to rights, freedoms and guarantees are directly applicable and are binding on public and private entities.
  2. The law may only restrict rights, freedoms and guarantees in cases expressly provided for in the Constitution, and such restrictions must be limited to those needed to safeguard other constitutionally protected rights and interests.
  3. Laws that restrict rights, freedoms and guarantees must have a general and abstract nature and may not have a retroactive effect or reduce the extent or scope of the essential content of the constitutional precepts.

Article 19

(Suspension of the exercise of rights)

  1. Entities that exercise sovereignty may not jointly or separately suspend the exercise of the rights, freedoms and guarantees, save in the case of a state of siege or a state of emergency declared in the form provided for in the Constitution.
  2. A state of siege or a state of emergency may only be declared in part or all of Portuguese territory in cases of actual or imminent aggression by foreign forces, a serious threat to or disturbance of democratic constitutional order, or public disaster.
  3. A state of emergency is declared when the preconditions referred to in the previous paragraph are less serious, and may only cause the suspension of the some of the rights, freedoms and guarantees that are capable of being suspended.
  4. Both the choice between a state of siege and a state of emergency and the declaration and implementation thereof must respect the principle of proportionality and limit themselves, particularly as regards their extent and duration and the means employed, to that which is strictly necessary for the prompt restoration of constitutional normality.
  5. Declarations of a state of siege or a state of emergency shall set out adequate grounds therefore and specify the rights, freedoms and guarantees whose exercise is to be suspended. Without prejudice to the possibility of renewals subject to the same limits, neither state may last for more than fifteen days, or, when it results from a declaration of war, for more than the duration laid down by law.
  6. In no case may a declaration of a state of siege or a state of emergency affect the rights to life, personal integrity, personal identity, civil capacity and citizenship, the non-retroactivity of the criminal law, accused persons' right to a defence, or the freedom of conscience and religion.
  7. Declarations of a state of siege or a state of emergency may only alter constitutional normality in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and the law. In particular, they may not affect the application of the constitutional rules concerning the competences and modus operandi of the entities that exercise sovereignty or of the self-government organs of the autonomous regions, or the rights and immunities of the respective officeholders.
  8. Declarations of a state of siege or a state of emergency grant the public authorities the competence to take the steps that are necessary and appropriate for the prompt restoration of constitutional normality.

Article 20

(Access to law and effective judicial protection)

  1. Everyone is guaranteed access to the law and the courts in order to defend those of his rights and interests that are protected by law, and justice may not be denied to anyone due to lack of sufficient financial means.
  2. Subject to the terms of the law, everyone has the right to legal information and advice, to legal counsel and to be accompanied by a lawyer before any authority.
  3. The law shall define and ensure adequate protection of the secrecy of legal proceedings.
  4. Everyone has the right to secure a decision in any suit in which he is intervening, within a reasonable time limit and by means of fair process.
  5. For the purpose of defending the personal rights, freedoms and guarantees and in such a way as to secure effective and timely judicial protection against threats thereto or breaches thereof, the law shall ensure citizens judicial proceedings that are characterised by their swiftness and by the attachment of priority to them.

Article 21

(Right of resistance)

Everyone has the right to resist any order that infringes their rights, freedoms or guarantees and, when it is not possible to resort to the public authorities, to use force to repel any aggression.

Article 22

(Liability of public entities)

Jointly with the officeholders of their entities and organs and their staff and agents, the state and other public entities are civilly liable for actions or omissions that are committed in or because of the exercise of their functions and result in a breach of rights, freedoms or guarantees or in a loss to others.

Article 23


  1. Citizens may submit complaints against actions or omissions by the public authorities to the Ombudsman, who shall assess them without the power to take decisions and shall send the competent entities and organs the recommendations needed to prevent or make good any injustices.
  2. The Ombudsman's work is independent of any non-judicial or judicial remedies provided for in the Constitution or the law.
  3. The Ombudsman is an independent entity and the Assembly of the Republic shall appoint him for the period laid down by law.
  4. The entities, organs and agents of the Public Administration shall cooperate with the Ombudsman in the fulfilment of his mission.


Rights, freedoms and guarantees


Personal rights, freedoms and guarantees

Article 24

(Right to life)

  1. Human life is inviolable.
  2. In no case shall there be the death penalty.

Article 25

(Right to personal integrity)

  1. Every person's moral and physical integrity is inviolable.
  2. No one may be subjected to torture or to cruel, degrading or inhuman treatment or punishment

Article 26

(Other personal rights)

  1. Everyone is accorded the rights to personal identity, to the development of personality, to civil capacity, to citizenship, to a good name and reputation, to their image, to speak out, to protect the privacy of their personal and family life, and to legal protection against any form of discrimination.
  2. The law shall lay down effective guarantees against the improper procurement and misuse of information concerning persons and families and its procurement or use contrary to human dignity.
  3. The law shall guarantee the personal dignity and genetic identity of the human person, particularly in the creation, development and use of technologies and in scientific experimentation.
  4. Deprivation of citizenship and restrictions on civil capacity may only occur in the cases and under the terms that are provided for by law, and may not be based on political motives.

Article 27

(Right to freedom and security)

  1. Everyone has the right to freedom and security.
  2. No one may be wholly or partially deprived of their freedom, except as a consequence of a judicial conviction and sentence imposed for the practice of an act that is legally punishable by a prison term or the judicial imposition of a security measure.
  3. The following cases of deprivation of freedom for the period and under the conditions laid down by law are exceptions to this principle:
    • a) Detention in flagrante delicto;
    • b) Detention or remand in custody due to strong indications of the wilful commission of a crime that is punishable by imprisonment for a maximum term of more than three years;
    • c) The imprisonment or detention of, or the imposition of any other coercive measure subject to judicial control on, a person who improperly entered or improperly remains in Portuguese territory, or who is currently the object of extradition or deportation proceedings;
    • d) The disciplinary imprisonment of military personnel, which imprisonment is subject to the guarantee of appeal to the competent court;
    • e) The subjection of a minor to measures intended to protect, assist or educate him in a suitable establishment, when ordered by the competent court of law;
    • f) Detention by judicial decision for disobeying a court decision or to ensure appearance before a competent judicial authority;
    • g) Detention of suspects for identification purposes, in the cases that are and for the time that is strictly necessary;
    • h) Committal of a person suffering from a psychic anomaly to an appropriate therapeutic establishment, when ordered or confirmed by a competent judicial authority.
  4. Every person who is deprived of his freedom must immediately be informed in an understandable manner of the reasons for his arrest, imprisonment or detention and of his rights.
  5. Deprivation of freedom contrary to the provisions of the Constitution or the law places the state under a duty to compensate the aggrieved person in accordance with the law.

Article 28

(Remand in custody)

  1. Within a time limit of at most forty-eight hours, all detentions shall be submitted to judicial consideration with a view to either the detainee's release or the imposition of an appropriate coercive measure. The judge must become acquainted with the reasons that caused the detention and must inform the detainee thereof, question him and give him the opportunity to present a defence.
  2. Remand in custody is exceptional in nature and shall not be ordered or maintained whenever it is possible to grant bail or apply another, more favourable measure provided for by law.
  3. The judicial decision to institute or maintain a measure entailing the deprivation of freedom shall immediately be communicated to the relative or person of trust nominated by the detainee.
  4. Remand in custody is subject to the time limits laid down by law.

Article 29

(Application of criminal law)

  1. No one may be sentenced under the criminal law unless the action or omission in question is punishable under a pre-existing law, nor may any person be the object of a security measure unless the prerequisites therefore are laid down by a pre-existing law.
  2. The provisions of the previous paragraph do not preclude the punishment up to the limits laid down by internal Portuguese law of an action or omission which was deemed criminal under the general principles of international law that were commonly recognised at the moment of its commission.
  3. No sentence or security measure may be applied unless it is expressly sanctioned by a pre-existing law.
  4. No one may be the object of a sentence or security measure that is more severe than those provided for at the moment of the conduct in question, or at that at which the prerequisites for the application of such a measure were fulfilled, while criminal laws whose content is more favourable to the accused person shall be applied retroactively.
  5. No one may be tried more than once for commission of the same crime.
  6. Citizens who are unjustly convicted have the right to the review of their sentences and to compensation for the damages they have suffered, as laid down by law.

Article 30

(Limits on sentences and security measures)

  1. No sentence or security measure that deprives or restricts freedom may be perpetual in nature or have an unlimited or undefined duration.
  2. In cases of danger based on a serious psychic abnormality in which therapy in an open environment is impossible, security measures that deprive or restrict freedom may be successively extended for as long as the psychic state in question is maintained, but always by judicial decision.
  3. Criminal liability is not transferable.
  4. No sentence shall automatically involve the loss of any civil, professional or political right.
  5. Convicted persons who are the object of a sentence or security measure that deprives them of their freedom retain their fundamental rights, save for the limitations that are inherent to the purpose of their convictions and to the specific requirements imposed by the execution of the respective sentences.

Article 31

(Habeas corpus)

  1. Habeas corpus is available to counter misuse of power in the form of illegal arrest, imprisonment or detention. Application for it must be made to the competent court.
  2. Application for a habeas corpus order may be made by the person so arrested, imprisoned or detained, or by any citizen in possession of his political rights.
  3. Within a time limit of eight days of an application for habeas corpus, the judge shall rule thereon in a hearing that shall be subject to the adversarial principle.

Article 32

(Safeguards in criminal procedure)

  1. Criminal procedure shall ensure all the safeguards of the defence, including the right to appeal.
  2. Every accused person is presumed innocent until the sentence in which he was convicted has transited in rem judicatam, and must be tried as quickly as is compatible with the safeguards of the defence.
  3. Accused persons have the right to choose counsel and to be assisted by him in relation to every procedural act. The law shall specify those cases and phases of procedure in which the assistance of a lawyer is mandatory.
  4. All committal proceedings shall be the competence of a judge, who may, as laid down by law, delegate the practice of such committal-related acts as do not directly concern fundamental rights to other entities.
  5. Criminal procedure shall posses an accusatorial structure, and trial hearings and the committal-related acts that are required by law shall be subject to the adversarial principle.
  6. The law shall define the cases in which, subject to the safeguarding of the rights of the defence, the presence of the accused person at procedural acts, including trial hearings, may be dispensed with.
  7. Victims have the right to intervene in the proceedings, as laid down by law.
  8. All evidence obtained by torture, coercion, infringement of personal physical or moral integrity, or improper intromission into personal life, the home, correspondence or telecommunications is null and void.
  9. No case may be withdrawn from a court that was competent under a pre-existing law.
  10. Accused persons in proceedings concerning administrative offences or in any proceedings in which sanctions may be imposed are assured the right to be heard and to a defence.

Article 33

(Deportation, extradition and right of asylum)

  1. The deportation of Portuguese citizens from Portuguese territory is not permitted.
  2. Deportation of anyone who properly entered or is properly remaining in Portuguese territory, has been granted a residence permit or has submitted a request for asylum that has not been refused may only be ordered by a judicial authority. The law shall assure expedite forms of decision in such cases.
  3. The extradition of Portuguese citizens from Portuguese territory is only permissible where an international convention has established reciprocal extradition arrangements, in cases of terrorism or international organised crime, and on condition that the applicant state's legal system enshrines guarantees of just and fair proceedings.
  4. Extradition for crimes that are punishable under the applicant state's law by a sentence or security measure which deprives or restricts freedom in perpetuity or for an undefined duration, is only permissible if the applicant state is a party to an international convention in this domain to which Portugal is bound, and offers guarantees that such a sentence or security measure will not be applied or executed.
  5. The provisions of the previous paragraphs do not prejudice the application of the norms governing judicial cooperation in the criminal field that are laid down within the scope of the European Union.
  6. The extradition or handing over of a person under any circumstances for political reasons, or for crimes which are punishable under the applicant state's law by death or by any other sentence that results in irreversible damage to physical integrity, is not permitted.
  7. Extradition may only be ordered by a judicial authority.
  8. The right of asylum is guaranteed to foreigners and stateless persons who are the object, or are under grave threat, of persecution as a result of their activities in favour of democracy, social and national liberation, peace among peoples, freedom or the rights of the human person.
  9. The law shall define the status of political refugee.

Article 34

(Inviolability of home and correspondence)

  1. Domiciles and the secrecy of correspondence and other means of private communication are inviolable.
  2. Entry into a citizen's domicile against his will may only be ordered by the competent judicial authority and then only in the cases and in compliance with the forms laid down by law.
  3. No one may enter any person's domicile at night without his consent, save in situations of flagrante delicto, or with judicial authorisation in cases of especially violent or highly organised crime including terrorism and trafficking in persons, arms or narcotics, as laid down by law.
  4. The public authorities are prohibited from interfering in any way with correspondence, telecommunications or other means of communication, save in the cases in which the law so provides in matters related to criminal procedure.

Article 35

(Use of information technology)

  1. Every citizen has the right of access to all computerised data that concern him, which he may require to be corrected and updated, and the right to be informed of the purpose for which they are intended, as laid down by law.
  2. The law shall define the concept of personal data, together with the terms and conditions applicable to its automatised treatment and its linkage, transmission and use, and shall guarantee its protection, particularly by means of an independent administrative entity.
  3. Information technology may not be used to treat data concerning philosophical or political convictions, party or trade union affiliations, religious faith, private life or ethnic origins, save with the express consent of the datasubject, or with an authorisation provided for by law and with guarantees of non-discrimination, or for the purpose of processing statistical data that are not individually identifiable.
  4. Third-party access to personal data is prohibited, save in exceptional cases provided for by law.
  5. The allocation of a single national number to any citizen is prohibited.
  6. Everyone is guaranteed free access to public-use information technology networks. The law shall define the regime governing cross-border data flows, and the appropriate means for protecting both personal data and other data whose safeguarding is justified in the national interest.
  7. Personal data contained in manual files enjoy the same protection as that provided for in the previous paragraphs, as laid down by law.

Article 36

(Family, marriage and filiation)

  1. Everyone has the right to form a family and to marry under conditions of full equality.
  2. The law shall regulate the requisites for and the effects of marriage and its dissolution by death or divorce, regardless of the form in which it was entered into.
  3. Spouses have equal rights and duties in relation to their civil and political capacity and to the maintenance and education of their children.
  4. Children born outside wedlock may not be the object of any discrimination for that reason, and neither the law, nor official departments or services may employ discriminatory terms in relation to filiation.
  5. Parents have the right and the duty to educate and maintain their children.
  6. Children may not be separated from their parents, save when the latter do not fulfil their fundamental duties towards them, and then always by judicial decision.
  7. Adoption shall be regulated and protected in accordance with the law, which must lay down swift forms for completion of the respective procedural requirements.

Article 37

(Freedom of expression and information)

  1. Everyone has the right to freely express and divulge his thoughts in words, images or by any other means, as well as the right to inform others, inform himself and be informed without hindrance or discrimination.
  2. Exercise of these rights may not be hindered or limited by any type or form of censorship.
  3. Infractions committed in the exercise of these rights are subject to the general principles of the criminal law or the law governing administrative offences, and the competence to consider them shall pertain to the courts of law or an independent administrative entity respectively, as laid down by law.
  4. Every natural and legal person shall be equally and effectively ensured the right of reply and to make corrections, as well as the right to compensation for damages suffered.

Article 38

(Freedom of the press and the media)

  1. Freedom of the press is guaranteed.
  2. Freedom of the press implies:
    • a) Freedom of expression and creativity on the part of journalists and other staff, as well as journalists' freedom to take part in deciding the editorial policy of their media entity, save when the latter is doctrinal or religious in nature;
    • b) That journalists have the right, as laid down by law, of access to sources of information, and to the protection of professional independence and secrecy, as well as the right to elect editorial boards;
    • c) The right to found newspapers and any other publications, without the need for any prior administrative authorisation, bond or qualification.
  3. In generic terms, the law shall ensure that the names of the owners of media entities and the means by which those entities are financed are publicised.
  4. The state shall ensure the freedom and independence of media entities from political power and economic power by imposing the principle of specialisation on enterprises that own general information media entities, treating and supporting them in a non-discriminatory manner and preventing their concentration, particularly by means of multiple or interlocking interests.
  5. The state shall ensure the existence and operation of a public radio and television service.
  6. The structure and modus operandi of public sector media must safeguard their independence from the Government, the Administration and the other public authorities, and must ensure that all different currents of opinion are able to express themselves and confront one another.
  7. Radio and television broadcasting stations may only operate with licences that are granted under competitive public selection processes, as laid down by law.

Article 39

(Regulation of the media)

  1. An independent administrative entity shall be responsible for ensuring the following in the media:
    • a) The right to information and the freedom of the press;
    • b) The non-concentration of ownership of the media;
    • c) Independence from political power and economic power;
    • d) Respect for the personal rights, freedoms and guarantees;
    • e) Respect for the norms that regulate the work of the media;
    • f) That all different currents of opinion are able to express themselves and confront one another;
    • g) Exercise of the rights to broadcasting time, of reply and of political response.
  2. The law shall define the composition, competences, organisation and modus operandi of the entity referred to in the previous paragraph, together with the statute governing its members, who shall be appointed by the Assembly of the Republic and co-opted by those so appointed.

Article 40

(Rights to broadcasting time, of reply and of political response)

  1. Political parties, trade union and professional organisations and organisations that represent economic activities, and other social organisations with a national scope have the right to broadcasting time on the public radio and television service, in accordance with their prominence and representativity and with objective criteria that shall be defined by law.
  2. Political parties that are represented in the Assembly of the Republic and do not form part of the Government have the right to broadcasting time on the public radio and television service, as laid down by law, which time shall be apportioned in accordance with each party's proportional share of the seats in the Assembly, together with the right to reply or respond politically to the Government's political statements. These times shall be of the same duration and prominence as those given over to the Government's broadcasts and statements. Parties that are represented in the Legislative Assembly of an autonomous region enjoy the same rights within the ambit of the region in question.
  3. During electoral periods and as laid down by law, those competing for election have the right to regular and equitable broadcasting time on radio and television stations with a national or regional scope.

Article 41

(Freedom of conscience, of religion and of form of worship)

  1. The freedom of conscience, of religion and of form of worship is inviolable.
  2. No one may be persecuted, deprived of rights or exempted from civic obligations or duties because of his convictions or religious observance.
  3. No authority may question anyone in relation to his convictions or religious observance, save in order to gather statistical data that cannot be individually identified, nor may anyone be prejudiced in any way for refusing to answer.
  4. Churches and other religious communities are separate from the state and are free to organise themselves and to exercise their functions and form of worship.
  5. The freedom to teach any religion within the ambit of the religious belief in question and to use the religion's own media for the pursuit of its activities is guaranteed.
  6. The right to be a conscientious objector, as laid down by law, is guaranteed.

Article 42

(Freedom of cultural creation)

  1. There shall be freedom of intellectual, artistic and scientific creation.
  2. This freedom comprises the right to invent, produce and divulge scientific, literary and artistic work and includes the protection of copyright by law.

Article 43

(Freedom to learn and to teach)

  1. The freedom to learn and to teach is guaranteed.
  2. The state may not programme education and culture in accordance with any philosophical, aesthetic, political, ideological or religious directives.
  3. Public education shall not be linked to a religious belief.
  4. The right to create private and cooperative schools is guaranteed.

Article 44

(Right to travel and to emigrate)

  1. Every citizen is guaranteed the right to travel and settle freely in any part of Portuguese territory.
  2. Every citizen is guaranteed the right to emigrate or to leave Portuguese territory and the right to return thereto.

Article 45

(Right to meet and to demonstrate)

  1. Citizens have the right to meet peacefully and without arms, even in places that are open to the public, without the need for any authorisation.
  2. All citizens are accorded the right to demonstrate.

Article 46

(Freedom of association)

  1. Citizens have the right to form associations freely and without the requirement for any authorisation, on condition that such associations are not intended to promote violence and their purposes are not contrary to the criminal law.
  2. Associations shall pursue their purposes freely and without interference from the public authorities, and may not be dissolved by the state or have their activities suspended other than in cases provided for by law and then only by judicial decision.
  3. No one may be obliged to belong to an association, or be coerced to remain therein by any means.
  4. Armed associations, military, militarised or paramilitary-type associations and organisations that are racist or display a fascist ideology are not permitted.

Article 47

(Freedom to choose a profession and of access to the public service)

  1. Everyone has the right to choose a profession or type of work freely, subject to the legal restrictions that are imposed in the collective interest or the restrictions that are inherent in a person's own capabilities.
  2. Every citizen has the right of access to the public service under equal and free conditions, as a general rule by means of a competitive selection process.


Rights, freedoms and guarantees concerning participation in politics

Article 48

(Participation in public life)

  1. Every citizen has the right to take part in political life and the direction of the country's public affairs, either directly or via freely elected representatives.
  2. Every citizen has the right to be given objective clarifications about acts of the state and of other public entities and to be informed by the Government and other authorities about the management of public affairs.

Article 49

(Right to vote)

  1. Every citizen who has attained the age of eighteen years has the right to vote, subject to the incapacities provided for in the general law.
  2. The right to vote shall be exercised personally and constitutes a civic duty.

Article 50

(Right of access to public office)

  1. Every citizen has the right of access to public office under equal and free conditions.
  2. No one may be prejudiced in his appointments, job or professional career or the social benefits to which he is entitled, due to the exercise of political rights or of public office.
  3. In governing the right of access to elected office, the law may only lay down the ineligibilities needed to guarantee both the electors' freedom of choice, and independence and absence of bias in the exercise of the offices in question.

Article 51

(Political associations and parties)

  1. Freedom of association includes the right to form or take part in political associations and parties and through them to work jointly and democratically towards the formation of the popular will and the organisation of political power.
  2. No one may be simultaneously registered as a member of more than one political party, and no one may be deprived of the exercise of any right because he is or ceases to be registered as a member of any legally constituted party.
  3. Without prejudice to the philosophy or ideology that underlies their manifestoes, political parties may not employ names that contain expressions which are directly related to any religion or church, or emblems that can be confused with national or religious symbols.
  4. No party may be formed with a name or manifesto objectives that show it has a regional nature or scope.
  5. Political parties must be governed by the principles of democratic transparency, organisation and management, and participation by all their members.
  6. The law shall lay down the rules governing the financing of political parties, particularly as regards the requisites for and limits on public funding, as well as the requirements to publicise their assets and accounts.

Article 52

(Right to petition and right of actio popularis)

  1. Every citizen has the right to individually, or jointly with others, submit petitions, representations, claims or complaints in defence of their rights, the Constitution, the laws or the general interest to the entities that exercise sovereignty, the self-government organs of the autonomous regions, or any authority, as well as the right to be informed of the result of the consideration thereof within a reasonable time limit.
  2. The law shall lay down the terms under which collective petitions that are submitted to the Assembly of the Republic and the Legislative Assemblies of the autonomous regions are considered in plenary sitting.
  3. Everyone is granted the right of actio popularis, including the right to apply for the applicable compensation for an aggrieved party or parties, in the cases and under the terms provided for by law, either personally or via associations that purport to defend the interests in question. The said right may particularly be exercised in order to:
    • a) Promote the prevention, cessation or judicial prosecution of offences against public health, consumer rights, the quality of life or the preservation of the environment and the cultural heritage;
    • b) Safeguard the property of the state, the autonomous regions and local authorities.


Workers' rights, freedoms and guarantees

Article 53

(Job security)

Workers are guaranteed job security, and dismissal without fair cause or for political or ideological reasons is prohibited.

Article 54

(Workers' committees)

  1. Workers have the right to form workers' committees to defend their interests and democratically intervene in the life of their enterprise.
  2. Decisions to form workers' committees must be taken by the workers in question, who must approve the committees' by-laws, and must elect their members by direct, secret ballot.
  3. Coordinating committees may be created with a view to improving intervention in economic restructuring and in such a way as to guarantee workers' interests.
  4. Committee members enjoy the legal protection accorded to trade union delegates.
  5. Workers' committees have the right:
    • a) To receive all the information needed to do their work;
    • b) To monitor the management of their enterprises;
    • c) To participate in corporate restructuring processes, especially in relation to training actions or when working conditions are altered;
    • d) To take part in drawing up labour legislation and economic and social plans that address their sector;
    • e) To manage or participate in the management of their enterprise's social activities;
    • f) To promote the election of workers' representatives to the governing bodies of enterprises that belong to the state or other public entities, as laid down by law.

Article 55

(Freedoms concerning trade unions)

  1. Workers are accorded the freedom to form, belong to and operate trade unions as a condition and guarantee of the building of their unity in defence of their rights and interests.
  2. In exercising the freedom to form, belong to and operate trade unions, workers are particularly guaranteed the following, without any discrimination:
    • a) The freedom to form trade unions at every level;
    • b) Freedom of membership, and no worker may be obliged to pay dues to a union to which he does not belong;
    • c) The freedom to decide the organisation and internal regulations of trade unions;
    • d) The right to engage in trade union activities in their enterprise;
    • e) The right to political views, in the forms laid down by the respective by-laws.
  3. Trade unions must be governed by the principles of democratic organisation and management, to be based on the periodic election of their governing bodies by secret ballot, without the need for any authorisation or homologation, and to be founded on active worker participation in every aspect of trade union activity.
  4. Trade unions shall be independent of employers, the state, religious beliefs, and parties and other political associations, and the law must lay down the guarantees that are appropriate to that independence, which is fundamental to the unity of the working classes.
  5. Trade unions have the right to establish relations with or join international trade union organisations.
  6. Workers' elected representatives enjoy the right to be informed and consulted, as well as to adequate legal protection against any form of subjection to conditions, constraints or limitations on the legitimate exercise of their functions.

Article 56

(Trade union rights and collective agreements)

  1. Trade unions have the competence to defend and promote the defence of the rights and interests of the workers they represent.
  2. Trade unions have the right:
    • a) To take part in drawing up labour legislation;
    • b) To take part in the management of social security institutions and other organisations that seek to fulfil workers' interests;
    • c) To pronounce themselves on economic and social plans and monitor their implementation;
    • d) To be represented on social concertation bodies, as laid down by law;
    • e) To take part in corporate restructuring processes, especially with regard to training actions or when working conditions are altered.
  3. Trade unions have the competence to exercise the right to enter into collective agreements, which right shall be guaranteed as laid down by law.
  4. The law shall lay down the rules governing the legitimacy to enter into collective labour agreements and the efficacy of the respective norms.

Article 57

(Right to strike and prohibition of lock-outs)

  1. The right to strike is guaranteed.
  2. Workers have the competence to define the scope of the interests that are to be defended by a strike and the law may not limit that scope.
  3. The law shall define the conditions under which services that are needed to ensure the safety and maintenance of equipment and facilities and minimum services that are indispensable to the fulfilment of essential social needs are provided during strikes.
  4. Lock-outs are prohibited.


Economic, social and cultural rights and duties


Economic rights and duties

Article 58

(Right to work)

  1. Everyone has the right to work.
  2. In order to ensure the right to work, the state is charged with promoting:
    • a) The implementation of full-employment policies;
    • b) Equal opportunities in the choice of profession or type of work, and the conditions needed to avoid the gender-based preclusion or limitation of access to any position, work or professional category;
    • c) The cultural and technical training and occupational development of workers.

Article 59

(Workers' rights)

  1. Regardless of age, sex, race, citizenship, place of origin, religion and political and ideological convictions, every worker has the right:
    • a) To the remuneration of his work in accordance with its volume, nature and quality, with respect for the principle of equal pay for equal work and in such a way as to guarantee a proper living;
    • b) That work be organised under conditions of social dignity and in such a way as to provide personal fulfilment and to make it possible to reconcile work and family life;
    • c) To work in conditions that are hygienic, safe and healthy;
    • d) To rest and leisure time, a maximum limit on the working day, a weekly rest period and periodic paid holidays;
    • e) To material assistance when he involuntarily finds himself in a situation of unemployment;
    • f) To assistance and fair reparation when he is the victim of a work-related accident or occupational illness.
  2. The state is charged with ensuring the working, remuneratory and rest-related conditions to which workers are entitled, particularly by:
    • a) Establishing and updating a national minimum wage which, among other factors, shall have regard to workers' needs, increases in the cost of living, the level of development of the forces of production, the demands of economic and financial stability, and the accumulation of capital for development purposes;
    • b) Setting national limits on working hours;
    • c) Especially protecting the work done by women during pregnancy and following childbirth, as well as the work done by minors, the disabled and those whose occupations are particularly strenuous or are undertaken in unhealthy, toxic or dangerous conditions;
    • d) In cooperation with social organisations, ensuring the systematic development of a network of rest and holiday centres;
    • e) Protecting emigrant workers' working conditions and guaranteeing their social benefits;
    • f) Protecting student workers' working conditions.
  3. Salaries shall enjoy special guarantees, as laid down by law.

Article 60

(Consumer rights)

  1. Consumers have the right to the good quality of the goods and services consumed, to training and information, to the protection of health, safety and their economic interests, and to reparation for damages.
  2. Advertising shall be disciplined by law and all forms of concealed, indirect or fraudulent advertising are prohibited.
  3. Consumers' associations and consumer cooperatives have the right, as laid down by law, to receive support from the state and to be consulted in relation to consumer-protection issues, and are accorded legitimatio ad causam in defence of their members or of collective or general interests.

Article 61

(Private enterprise, cooperatives and worker management)

  1. Private economic enterprise shall be undertaken freely within the overall frameworks defined by the Constitution and the law and with regard for the general interest.
  2. Everyone is accorded the right to freely form cooperatives, subject to compliance with cooperative principles.
  3. Cooperatives must pursue their activities freely within the overall framework of the law and may group together in unions, federations and confederations and other forms of organisation provided for by law.
  4. The law shall lay down the specific organisational requirements for cooperatives in which any public entity possesses an interest.
  5. The right to worker management, as laid down by law, is recognised.

Article 62

(Right to private property)

  1. Everyone is guaranteed the right to private property and to the transmission thereof in life or upon death, in accordance with the Constitution.
  2. Requisitions and expropriations in the public interest may only be undertaken on a legal basis and upon payment of just compensation.


Social rights and duties

Article 63

(Social security and solidarity)

  1. Everyone has the right to social security.
  2. The state is charged with organising, coordinating and subsidising a unified and decentralised social security system, with the participation of the trade unions, other organisations that represent workers and associations that represent the other beneficiaries.
  3. The social security system shall protect citizens in illness and old age and when they are disabled, widowed or orphaned, as well as when they are unemployed or in any other situation that entails a lack of or reduction in means of subsistence or the ability to work.
  4. All periods of work shall, as laid down by law, contribute to the calculation of old age and disability pensions, regardless of the sector of activity in which they were performed.
  5. With a view to the pursuit of the social solidarity objectives that are particularly enshrined in this Article and in Articles 67(2)(b), 69, 70(1)(e), 71 and 72, the state shall, as laid down by law, support and inspect the activities and modus operandi of private charitable institutions and other not-for-profit institutions that are recognised to be in the public interest.

Article 64


  1. Everyone has the right to the protection of health and the duty to defend and promote health.
  2. The right to the protection of health shall be fulfilled:
    • a) By means of a universal and general national health service which, with particular regard to the economic and social conditions of the citizens who use it, shall tend to be free of charge;
    • b) By creating economic, social, cultural and environmental conditions that particularly guarantee the protection of childhood, youth and old age; by systematically improving living and working conditions, and promoting physical fitness and sport at school and among the people; and also by developing the people's health and hygiene education and healthy living practices.
  3. In order to ensure the right to the protection of health, the state is charged, as a priority, with:
    • a) Guaranteeing access by every citizen, regardless of his economic situation, to preventive, curative and rehabilitative medical care;
    • b) Guaranteeing a rational and efficient nationwide coverage in terms of human resources and healthcare units;
    • c) Working towards the socialisation of the costs of medical care and medicines;
    • d) Disciplining and inspecting entrepreneurial and private forms of medicine and articulating them with the national health service, in such a way as to ensure adequate standards of efficiency and quality in both public and private healthcare institutions;
    • e) Disciplining and controlling the production, distribution, marketing, sale and use of chemical, biological and pharmaceutical products and other means of treatment and diagnosis;
    • f) Establishing policies for the prevention and treatment of drug abuse.
  4. Management of the national health service shall be decentralised and participatory.

Article 65

(Housing and urbanism)

  1. Everyone has the right for himself and his family to have an adequately sized dwelling that provides hygienic and comfortable conditions and preserves personal and family privacy.
  2. In order to ensure the right to housing, the state is charged with:
    • a) Programming and implementing a housing policy that is incorporated into general town and country planning instruments and supported by urbanisation plans that guarantee the existence of an adequate network of transport and social facilities;
    • b) In cooperation with the autonomous regions and local authorities, promoting the construction of low-cost and social housing;
    • c) Stimulating both private construction, subject to the general interest, and access to owned or rented housing;
    • d) Encouraging and supporting local community and popular initiatives that work towards the resolution of the respective housing problems and foster the formation of housing and self-building cooperatives.
  3. The state shall adopt a policy that works towards the establishment of a rental system which is compatible with family incomes and provides access to individual housing.
  4. 4. The state, the autonomous regions and local authorities shall define the rules governing the occupancy, use and transformation of urban land, particularly by means of planning instruments and within the overall framework of the laws concerning town and country planning and urbanism, and shall expropriate land that proves necessary to the fulfilment of public-interest urbanisation goals.
  5. The participation of the interested parties in the drawing up of urban planning instruments and any other physical town and country planning instruments is guaranteed.

Article 66

(Environment and quality of life)

  1. Everyone has the right to a healthy and ecologically balanced human living environment and the duty to defend it.
  2. In order to ensure the right to the environment within an overall framework of sustainable development, the state, acting via appropriate bodies and with the involvement and participation of citizens, is charged with:
    • a) Preventing and controlling pollution and its effects and the harmful forms of erosion;
    • b) Conducting and promoting town and country planning with a view to a correct location of activities, balanced social and economic development and the enhancement of the landscape;
    • c) Creating and developing natural and recreational reserves and parks and classifying and protecting landscapes and places, in such a way as to guarantee the conservation of nature and the preservation of cultural values and assets that are of historic or artistic interest;
    • d) Promoting the rational use of natural resources, while safeguarding their ability to renew themselves and ecological stability, with respect for the principle of inter-generational solidarity;
    • e) In cooperation with local authorities, promoting the environmental quality of rural settlements and urban life, particularly on the architectural level and as regards the protection of historic zones;
    • f) Promoting the integration of environmental objectives into the various policies with a sectoral scope;
    • g) Promoting environmental education and respect for environmental values and assets;
    • h) Ensuring that the fiscal policy renders development compatible with the protection of the environment and the quality of life.

Article 67


  1. As a fundamental element in society, the family has the right to protection by society and the state and to the effective implementation of all the conditions needed to enable family members to achieve personal fulfilment.
  2. In order to protect the family, the state is particularly charged with:
    • a) Promoting the social and economic independence of households;
    • b) Promoting the creation of, and guaranteeing access to, a national network of crèches and other social facilities designed to support the family, together with a policy for the elderly;
    • c) Cooperating with parents in relation to their children's education;
    • d) With respect for individual freedom, guaranteeing the right to family planning by promoting the information and access to the methods and means required therefore, and organising the legal and technical arrangements that make it possible to exercise motherhood and fatherhood with awareness;
    • e) Regulating assisted procreation in such a way as to safeguard the dignity of the human person;
    • f) Regulating taxes and social benefits in harmony with family costs;
    • g) After first consulting the associations that represent the family, defining and implementing a global and integrated family policy;
    • h) By concerting the various sectoral policies, promoting the reconciliation of work and family life.

Article 68

(Fatherhood and motherhood)

  1. In performing their irreplaceable role in relation to their children, particularly as regards the children's education, fathers and mothers have the right to protection by society and the state, together with the guarantee of their own professional fulfilment and participation in civic life.
  2. Motherhood and fatherhood constitute eminent social values.
  3. Women have the right to special protection during pregnancy and following childbirth, and working women also have the right to an adequate period of leave from work without loss of remuneration or any privileges.
  4. The law shall regulate the attribution to mothers and fathers of rights to an adequate period of leave from work, in accordance with the interests of the child and the needs of the household.

Article 69


  1. With a view to their integral development, children have the right to protection by society and the state, especially from all forms of abandonment, discrimination and oppression and from the improper exercise of authority in the family or any other institution.
  2. The state shall ensure special protection for children who are orphaned, abandoned or deprived of a normal family environment in any way.
  3. Labour by minors of school age is prohibited, as laid down by law.

Article 70


  1. In order to ensure the effective fulfilment of their economic, social and cultural rights, young people shall enjoy special protection, particularly:
    • a) In education, vocational training and culture;
    • b) In access to their first job, at work and in relation to social security;
    • c) In access to housing;
    • d) In physical education and sport;
    • e) In the use of their free time.
  2. The priority objectives of the youth policy must be the development of young people's personality, the creation of the conditions needed for their effective integration into the active life, a love of free creativity and a sense of community service.
  3. In cooperation with families, schools, enterprises, residents' organisations, cultural associations and foundations and cultural and recreational groups, the state shall foster and support youth organisations in the pursuit of the said objectives, as well as international youth exchanges.

Article 71

(Disabled citizens)

  1. Citizens with physical or mental disabilities fully enjoy the rights and are subject to the duties enshrined in the Constitution, save for the exercise or fulfilment of those for which their condition renders them incapable.
  2. The state undertakes to implement a national policy for the prevention of disability and the treatment, rehabilitation and integration of disabled citizens and the provision of support to their families, to educate society in such a way as to make it aware of the duties of respect and solidarity towards them, and to undertake the charge of ensuring that their rights are effectively fulfilled, without prejudice to the rights and duties of their parents or guardians.
  3. The state shall support disabled citizens' organisations.

Article 72

(The elderly)

  1. The elderly have the right to economic security and to conditions in terms of housing and family and community life that respect their personal autonomy and avoid and overcome isolation or social marginalisation.
  2. The policy for the elderly shall include measures of an economic, social and cultural nature that tend to provide elderly persons with opportunities for personal fulfilment by means of an active participation in community life.


Cultural rights and duties

Article 73

(Education, culture and science)

  1. Everyone has the right to education and culture.
  2. The state shall promote the democratisation of education and the other conditions needed for an education conducted at school and via other means of training to contribute to equal opportunities, the overcoming of economic, social and cultural inequalities, the development of the personality and the spirit of tolerance, mutual understanding, solidarity and responsibility, to social progress and to democratic participation in collective life.
  3. In cooperation with the media, cultural associations and foundations, cultural and recreational groups, cultural heritage associations, residents' organisations and other cultural agents, the state shall promote the democratisation of culture by encouraging and ensuring access by all citizens to cultural enjoyment and creation.
  4. The state shall encourage and support scientific research and creation and technological innovation, in such a way as to ensure their freedom and autonomy, strengthen competitivity and ensure articulation between scientific institutions and enterprises.

Article 74


  1. Everyone has the right to education, with the guarantee of the right to equal opportunities in access to and success in schooling.
  2. In implementing the education policy, the state is charged with:
    • a) Ensuring universal, compulsory and free basic education;
    • b) Creating a public, and developing the general, preschool education system;
    • c) Guaranteeing permanent education and eliminating illiteracy;
    • d) In accordance with his capabilities, guaranteeing every citizen access to the highest levels of education, scientific research and artistic creation;
    • e) Progressively making all levels of education free of charge;
    • f) Inserting schools into the communities they serve and establishing links between education and economic, social and cultural activities;
    • g) Promoting and supporting disabled citizens' access to education and supporting special education when necessary;
    • h) Protecting and developing Portuguese sign language, as an expression of culture and an instrument for access to education and equal opportunities;
    • i) Ensuring that emigrants' children are taught the Portuguese language and enjoy access to Portuguese culture;
    • j) Ensuring that immigrants' children receive adequate support in order to enable them to effectively enjoy the right to education.

Article 75

(Public, private and cooperative education)

  1. The state shall create a network of public education establishments that covers the needs of the whole population.
  2. The state shall recognise and inspect private and cooperative education, as laid down by law.

Article 76

(University and access to higher education)

  1. The regime governing access to university and the other higher education institutions shall guarantee equal opportunities in and the democratisation of the education system, and must have due regard to the country's needs for qualified staff and to raising its educational, cultural and scientific level.
  2. As laid down by law and without prejudice to an adequate assessment of the quality of education, universities shall enjoy autonomy in drawing up their own by-laws and in scientific, pedagogical, administrative and financial matters.

Article 77

(Democratic participation in education)

  1. Teachers and students have the right to take part in the democratic management of schools, as laid down by law.
  2. The law shall regulate the forms in which associations of teachers, students and parents, communities and institutions of a scientific nature participate in the definition of the education policy.

Article 78

(Cultural enjoyment and creation)

  1. Everyone has the right to cultural enjoyment and creation, together with the duty to preserve, defend and enhance the cultural heritage.
  2. In cooperation with all cultural agents, the state is charged with:
    • a) Encouraging and ensuring access by all citizens to the means and instruments required for cultural activities, and correcting the country's existing asymmetries in this respect;
    • b) Supporting initiatives that stimulate individual and collective creation in its multiple forms and expressions, and more travel by high quality cultural works and items;
    • c) Promoting the safeguarding and enhancement of the cultural heritage and making it an element that inspires and gives life to a common cultural identity;
    • d) Developing cultural relations with all peoples, especially those that speak Portuguese, and ensuring the defence and promotion of Portuguese culture abroad;
    • e) Articulating the cultural policy with the other sectoral policies.

Article 79

(Physical education and sport)

  1. Everyone has the right to physical education and sport.
  2. In cooperation with schools and sporting associations and groups, the state is charged with promoting, stimulating, guiding and supporting the practice and dissemination of physical education and sport, and preventing violence in sport.