Portugal - Time Bars

Date: 31/01/2017
Author: Mateus Andrade Dias
Source: Andrade Dias & Associados

Types of time bars: prescription / caducity

Types of time
bars (Civil and
Commercial law
claims)
  1. Prescription: cannot be extended by agreement; is only
    interrupted by: (i) express admission of the claim; or (ii)
    commencement of proceedings in court and service of court
    papers on the defendant debtor;
  2. Caducity: can be extended by agreement between the parties;
    is interrupted by: (i) express admission of the claim; or (ii)
    commencement of proceedings in court. Service of papers on
    the defendant is not required to interrupt a caducity limitation
    period.
ConsequencesEqual consequences – the debtor or defendant may be released from
liability if the limitation period elapses without interruption.
ExtensionsAny extension, when admissible, i.e., caducity, needs to be carefully
drafted and agreed between the parties failing which it may be refuted by
the grantor of the extension and be considered of no effect. To be
properly granted and enforceable, the extension may need to involve a
written agreement, a clear identification of the claim and a clear
identification of the parties in respect of which an extension is being
granted.
Criminal and
other
contravention
offences time
bars
Criminal or contravention limitation periods to start criminal or
contravention offences proceedings shall be interrupted differently than
the civil law limitation periods. This – interruption of the time bar - will
involve normally the formal service of papers on the criminal or on the
contravention defendant informing him that a criminal or a contravention
proceeding has been started or the filling of formal charges against him.

Most relevant time bars:

Contract claimsGeneral rule: within 20 years of the breach of the contract, save where a lower
time is expressly stated for particular contracts. Prescription time bar;
Carriage of goods by sea claims ruled under Hague Rules: 1 year from discharge
of the cargo or from the date said discharge should have happened. Caducity time
bar;
Carriage of goods by sea claims not ruled by the Hague Rules: 2 years from the
moment the claimant becomes aware of his claim. Prescription?/Caducity? time
bar
Bailment: within 20 years as from the breach of the contract. Prescription time bar;
Freight forwarders liability: 10 months from conclusion of the service. Prescription
time bar;
Carriage of goods by road: 1 year from the date of delivery to the consignee or
from the date of delivery of the cargo to the carrier; Prescription time bar;
Collision liabilities ruled under the 1910 Collision Convention: 2 years from the
event; Caducity time bar;
Collision liabilities ruled under the Commercial code: 3 years from the event;
Prescription time bar;
Ship building or ship repair contracts: known damages:- two years from delivery of
the vessel
Tortious ClaimsWithin 3 years of the date of the negligent or intentional act or omission
Latent damage
claims for ship
building or ship
repair contracts
If the damage complained of is only discovered after delivery of the vessel, the
claim may be brought within 2 years of the claimant’s knowledge of the damage
Criminal and
other
contravention
offences
  1. Criminal offences of: Contraband; contraband of circulation;
    contraband of goods under a conditioned circulation regime
    onboard ships; fraud in the transport of goods under a suspension
    regime; fraudulent introduction of goods into consumer markets: 5
    years to commence criminal proceedings.
  2. If the offence is a contravention one, the limitation period to
    bring contravention proceedings is of 3 years in case of
    contraband, contraband of circulation, fraud in the transport of
    goods and fraudulent introduction of goods into consumer markets.
    (ii) Other criminal customs offences: (i) breach of customs warranties
    (ii) breaking of customs seals or marks: 5 years to commence
    criminal proceedings.
  3. Other customs contravention offences: (i) refuse to deliver, exhibit
    or present statements or other documents or refuse to show goods
    to the authorities investigating criminal or contravention offences
    (ii) lack or delay in the presentation of statements or documents
    evidencing values or quantities contained in documents of
    transport within the imperative time limit (iii) intentional breach of
    the cooperation duty with the authorities by intentional inaccuracy,
    errors or omissions on the documents of transport: 3 years to
    commence contravention proceedings.
  4. Pollution: intentional or negligent release of oil or of other harmful
    substances to the environment. Criminal offence: up to 10 years
    to institute criminal proceedings / Contravention offence: 5 years to
    institute contravention proceedings.

Mateus Andrade Dias
Email: mateus@diaslawyers.com
00351213468134

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About the Authors

Mr. Mateus Andrade Dias – Partner

Graduate of the Lisbon Catholic University Law School. Maritime Law Short Course by the University of Southampton. Practice as lawyer at Abreu & Marques Vinhas & Associados. Practising as a lawyer in shipping and maritime law matters since 2004. Member of the Portuguese Bar Association. Mateus is fluent in English and Spanish.

Email: mateus@diaslawyers.com
00351213468134

Maria Helena Ribeiro

P&I Correspondent with Pinto Basto since 1980, and head of the P&I department in Pinto Basto. Vast experience as a P&I Correspondent having coordinated over the years four high profile groundings in Portugal. Also Branch Manager of Agency Department of Pinto Basto Group since 2000. Maria is fluent in Spanish and English.

Email: maria.helena@pintobasto.com
 

Vera Mexia

P&I Correspondent with Pinto Basto since 2005, in the Lisbon Office Graduate of the Lisbon Catholic University Law School. Maritime Post Graduation 2007 with Lusófona University in Portugal Vera is fluent in English and Spanish.

Email: vera.mexia@pintobasto.com


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