Multidisciplinary study of law

Civil and commercial law

Portuguese Civil Code

Economic and social dimension of contracts


Participating Institution(s) to which the Research Group belongs

Faculdade de Direito da Universidade Nova de Lisboa (FD/UNL)



Ana Maria Correira Rodrigues Prata

Margarida Ramalho de Lima Rego

Maria Helena de Barros Brito

Carlos Manuel Figueira Ferreira de Almeida

Cláudia Maria Salsinha Trabuco

Jorge Miguel Morais Carvalho

José João Gordo Nunes Abrantes

Vítor Alexandre Caetano Pereira das Neves

José Manuel Lebre de Freitas


List of current PhD students

Francisco José Serra Briosa e Gala

Ricardo Lopes Dinis Pedro


List of other researchers of the Research Group

Maria Luísa Alves da Silva Neto

Manuel António Pita

Rui Manuel Pinto Duarte


structure of the research group

The research group on economic and social dimension of private law is devoted to this center’s central purpose: the promotion of quality and innovation in the teaching of law and in research, in this case within the ample field of private law. Its members are qualified and experienced civil and commercial academic lawyers who share this center’s intention to bring to the foreground the study of the practical application of law — law in action — as opposed to the formal law in the books — an intention which is deeply embedded in this center’s pioneering role in the promoting a multidisciplinary study of law in its multilayered relationship with society.

Whilst law’s relationship with society as a whole is a privileged object of this group’s attention, this attention is not that of a passive observer. Our aim to foster and develop diversified contributions to the accumulation of knowledge in private law is both an end in itself and a means to another, ultimate end which we probably share with most if not all legal scholars: to provide the various legal actors in society with theoretical tools that facilitate the making of better judicial decisions and, in sum, promote justice.

In view of this, it is vital that the results of our research receive the widest possible national projection — that this group’s scientific papers be published in those journals that are most read by judges, attorneys and all other legal actors, and thereby have the best chance to cause a real impact in our society. Simultaneously, it is also a key purpose of this group to increase dramatically the international projection of the results of its work by intensifying the publication of scientific papers in international indexed journals.


Objectives of the Research Group

1 – Portuguese Civil Code annotated: each rule studied with the contribution of academic texts and judicial decisions, and an interpretation of each one, taking into account the best solutions either in a dogmatic point of view and a social, economic and ethic one.  The project is coordinated by Ana Prata and includes Rui Pinto Duarte, José Lebre de Freitas, Luís Silveira, Maria Helena Brito, José João Abrantes, Manuel António Pita, Luísa Neto, Jorge Morais Carvalho and other jurists, mainly professors and post-graduate students of Law School (New University of Lisbon).

As the Civil Code was published in 1967, a several number of its rules have been modified, but there is a lot of rules which need to be also modified, to give present society and persons better and more fair and accurate solutions to the problems with which they have to deal either in contract, liability, family, property and succession relations. Courts must have a new approach to the civil law and legislator must have a serious study about the rules and the sense of their options.

The purpose of the project includes about twenty conferences, the publishing of number difficultly foreseen of papers and the publishing of one large or two books and will be finished at the end of 2017.

2 – Another project focuses on house rent. The research group intends to keep an updated portal with reference to legislation and jurisprudence and a forum to answer questions about the matter.

3 – In the field of consumer law, research will focus on the annotation of legislation, the creation of consumer law journal, case law research and treatment and preparation of documents with information to consumers.

4 – Another project will deal with the energy sector in Portugal, with special focus on the issues of energy efficiency, renewables and the legal framework of an energy resource exploration project (how this legal framework attracts investors in a country with weak geological potential). Study of contractual models used in Portugal in order to put it in perspective on the context of comparative law. Analysis of the dispute resolution mechanisms in the energy sector: (i) internationally, namely disputes involving foreign companies and host states in energy projects; (ii) at national level, with particular emphasis on the energy consumer rights and the alternative resolution of disputes of energy consumers.

Activities and goals of this project: 6 working papers, with potential to be transformed into articles in order to be submitted to national and international journals; responses to foreign calls for submission of papers and/or conferences presentations; organization and presentation of a final project conference.

5 – This research group will also support all the research conducted in contract law, law of obligations, torts, insurance law, international trade law and labour law, among other areas.