Judicial Officers / Oficiais de Justiça


In Portugal judicial officers are civil servants that either work in courts or in the Public Ministry. There are different categories of judicial officers:

§         Secretário de tribunal superior (secretary of high court); (ruling position)

§         Secretário de justiça (secretary of justice). (ruling position)

In the judicial career, the categories are as follows:

 §         Escrivão de direito (scribe of law); (ruling position)

§         Escrivão-adjunto (second scribe);

§         Escrivão auxiliar (auxiliary scribe).

In the services of the Ministério Público (Public Ministry), the categories are as follows:

 §         Técnico de justiça principal (first technician of justice); (ruling position)

§         Técnico de justiça-adjunto (second technician of justice);

§         Técnico de justiça auxiliar (auxiliary technician of justice).

1-     Entry requirements

1.      For the categories of “escrivão auxiliar” and “técnico de justiça auxiliar” the candidates need to be holders of a professional course, approved by the Ministers of Justice and Education. If the candidates are not holders of that course, the entry is made with candidates with high school (11th grade or the equivalent). (For these candidates the entry procedure is as follows: an access exam; training period, not inferior to 3 months; final exam).

2- Access requirements

2.      A) Permanent service for the period of 3 years in the previous category;

B) Minimal classification of Good in the previous category;

      C) Approval mark in the respective access exam.

3.      For the category of “secretário de justiça”, the candidates can be:

A)    escrivães de direito” and “técnicos de justiça principais”, holders of the requirements referred to in the previous statement;

B)    judicial officers who are holders of an appropriate high education course, with seven years of permanent service, classification of Very Good and an approval mark in the respective access exam.

The access to the categories of “escrivão de direito” and of “técnico de justiça principal” is made among “escrivães auxiliares” and “técnicos de justiça auxiliares”, holders of the requirements referred to in 2.

The access to the categories of “escrivão-adjunto” and of “técnico de justiça-adjunto” is made among “escrivães auxiliares” and “técnicos de justiça auxiliares”, holders of the requirements referred to in 2.

The recruitment for the position of “secretários de tribunal superior” is made by chosing among “secretários de justiça” with a classification of Very Good. The recruitment for the position of “secretário de justiça” in general-secretary offices is made by transferring “secretários de justiça” who have a classification of Very Good in their respective category and more than three years to reach the age limit for their functions.

Functions

a) Secretário de tribunal superior:

§         To run the services of the secretary office;

§         To elaborate and run the budget of the secretary office;

§         To establish, co-ordinate and control the external service;

§         To pronounce in the dispatched processes of basic service, by delegation of the respective magistrate;

§         To keep the correspondence with the public and private entities regarding the issues related to the functioning of the court, by delegation of the respective magistrate;

§         To sign the charts of the causes with a designated day for the trial;

§         To attend the court sessions and elaborate the respective minutes;

§         To ensure the means of the Social Service of the Ministry of Justice, as its delegate;

§         To submit the issues of his competence to the president’s dispatch;

§         To present the processes and documents to distribution;

§         To provide for the conservation of the facilities and equipment of the court;

§         To fulfil all the other functions contemplated by the law or by a superior decision.

b) Secretário de justiça:

§         To run the services of the secretary office;

§         To elaborate and run the budget of the secretary office;

§         To ensure the means of the Social Service of the Ministry of Justice, as its delegate;

§         To pronounce in the dispatched processes of basic service, by delegation of the respective magistrate;

§         To keep the correspondence with the public and private entities regarding the issues related to the functioning of the court and to the normal progress of the processes, by delegation of the respective magistrate;

§         To run the counting service of processes, providing for the correct fulfilment of those functions, assuming them personally whenever is appropriate;

§         To fulfil the functions described in c) whenever the secretary staff do not include the position of escrivão de direito in the central section;

§         To fulfil the functions described in d) and i) whenever the secretary staff do not include  the positions of escrivão and/or técnico de justiça principal in the section of processes;

§         To establish, co-ordinate and control the external service;

§         To provide for the conservation of the facilities and equipment of the court;

§         In the general-secretaries, to run the service of the secretary office in order to ensure the progress of the respective attributions and to fulfil all the other functions foreseen in this item regarding the respective General-Secretary;

§         To fulfil all the other functions contemplated by the law or by a superior decision.

c) Escrivão de direito working in the central section of the judicial services:

§         To guide, co-ordinate, supervise and execute the performed activities in the section, according to the respective attributions;

§         To prepare and present the processes and documents for the distribution;

§         To ensure the counting of the processes and of separate documents;

§         To organise the statistical maps;

§         To register the income and expenses of the Safe;

§         To process the expenses of the Secretary Office;

§         To fulfil all the other functions contemplated by the law or by a superior decision.

d) Escrivão de direito working in the section of processes of the judicial services:

§         To guide, co-ordinate, supervise and execute the performed activities in the section, according to the respective attributions;

§         To fulfil all the other functions contemplated by the law or by a superior decision.

e) Escrivão de direito working in the central section of external service:

§         To guide, co-ordinate, supervise and execute the performed activities in the section, according to the respective attributions;

§         To fulfil all the other functions contemplated by the law or by a superior decision.

f) Escrivão-adjunto:

§         To ensure, under the guidance of the escrivão de direito, the fulfilment of the attributed functions to the respective section;

§         To fulfil the functions attributed to the “escrivão auxiliar”, when he/she is absent or when the services thus require;

§         To fulfil all the other functions contemplated by the law or by a superior decision.

g) Escrivão auxiliar:

§         To do the external service;

§         To prepare the dispatch of the correspondence and to do the respective delivery and reception;

§         To give assistance to the magistrates;

§         To fulfil all the other functions contemplated by the law or by a superior decision.

h) Técnico de justiça principal working in the central section of the services of the Public Ministry:

§         To guide, co-ordinate, supervise and execute the performed activities in the section, according to the respective attributions;

§         To prepare and present the processes and documents for the distribution;

§         To organise the statistical maps;

§         To prepare, handle and organise the necessary elements and data for the elaboration of the annual report;

§         To fulfil all the other functions contemplated by the law or by a superior decision.

i)Técnico de justiça principal working in the section of processes of the services of the Public Ministry:

§         To guide, co-ordinate, supervise and execute the performed activities in the section, according to the respective attributions;

§         To fulfil, according to the enquiry, the functions that are attributed to the criminal police;

§         To fulfil all the other functions contemplated by the law or by a superior decision.

j) Técnico de justiça-adjunto:

§         To ensure, under superior guidance, the fulfilment of the functions attributed to the respective section;

§         To fulfil, according to the enquiry, the functions that are attributed to the criminal police;

§         To fulfil the functions attributed to the “técnico de justiça auxiliar”, when he/she is absent or when the services require;

§         To fulfil all the other functions contemplated by the law or by a superior decision.

l) Técnico auxiliar:

§         To fulfil, according to the enquiry, the functions that are attributed to the criminal police;

§         To do the external service;

§         To prepare the dispatch of the correspondence and to do the respective delivery and reception;

§         To give assistance to the magistrates;

§         To fulfil all the other functions contemplated by the law or by a superior decision.

Governing Bodies

Education/Training:

Direcção-Geral dos Serviços Judiciários (DGSJ) – (General Agency of Judicial Services)

Av. 5 Outubro 125, 1069-044 Lisboa
Telef – 00351 217906200 Fax 00351 217906460
correio@dgsj.pt www.dgsj.pt

– these are the central services of the Ministry of Justice. Its function is to guide, co-ordinate and control the realisation of the actions and of the measures related to the management, organisation, and functioning of the courts and their respective location, as well as to the criminal identification.

These services are constituted by other bodies, such as the Direcção de Serviços de Recursos Humanos (DSRH) – (Agency of Human Resources).

Centro de Formação Permanente de Oficiais de Justiça (CFPOJ) – (The Institute of Permanent Formation of Judicial Officers).

Av. 5 Outubro 125, 1o e 2o pisos, 1069-044 LISBOA - Telef. 00351 21 790 6421 Fax 00351 21 790 6429

Its function is to develop, along with the DSRH of the DGSJ, the actions of recruitment and selection of candidates to training and entry/access courses to become a judicial officer; to execute or give assistance to the execution of the courses of initial, permanent and promotion nature of the judicial officers, evaluating the respective efficacy and proposing the necessary alterations; to co-operate with the DSRH of the DGSJ in the preparation of the formation courses for the other staff of the DGSJ; to promote colloquiums, conferences and other similar projects; to organise training courses and study leaves in the country and abroad; to execute and give assistance the formation courses for foreign judicial officers according with technical co-operating treaties.

Conduct:

Conselho dos Oficiais de Justiça (Board of Judicial Officers)

Av. 5 Outubro 125, 3o piso 1069-044 Lisboa - Telef. 00351 21 790 3676 Fax 0035121 790 3680

 – Its functions:

·        to evaluate the professional merit and to execute the disciplinary action over the permanent judicial officers;

·        to evaluate the requests for revision of the disciplinary and rehabilitating processes;

·        to elaborate reports about laws related to the judicial organisation and to the Statute of the Justice Workers, and, in general to the judicial administration;

·        to study and propose to the Minister of Justice legislative measures in order to achieve efficiency and improvement of the judicial institutions;

·        to elaborate the inspections plan;

·        to order inspections and inquiries;

·        to approve the internal regulations, the inspection regulation and the election regulation;

·        to adopt the necessary measures to the organisation and good execution of the process of elections;

·        to execute all the other functions foreseen by the law.


Ethics of the Judicial Officers

Some ethical rules that the judicial officers have to follow, namely:

·        the ones that are dictated by the general duties of conduct, that all civil servants follow;

·        the ones related exclusively to their profession as judicial officers.

General Duties:

·        Impartiality, exemption and justice

·        Loyalty, neutrality and discretion

·        Professional zeal

·        Professional secrecy

·        Hierarchical obedience

·        Sense of State

Specific Duties:

·        They cannot pronounce themselves about processes, nor give information, beyond their service actions;

·        they have to collaborate in the formation of trainees and judicial officers;

·        they have to collaborate in the progress of the services independent of the position they occupy.