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Q & A's: ASMAA's Class Action against the Portuguese Government

In this article, you’ll find a brief explanation of what is a "Class Action". We've drafted this note, so that everyone understands why it was the most appropriate and the selected course of action followed by ASMAA. Any association can choose to follow this strategic path as long as certain conditions are met. We have taken this opportunity to answer a number of questions that we have received, and which in our opinion are important - so that everyone can be properly informed.



What is a "Class Action"?

The legal framework for a “Class Action” is enshrined in Article 52 of the Constitution of the Republic of Portugal, according to which "the people has the right, freedom and guaranteed political participation to take action in specific circumstances and in the appropriate court of law. The constitutional right, includes the right to petition for damages or potential damages, in particular for:

  1. To prevent, halt, or prosecute offences against public health, consumer rights, quality of life, preservation of the environment and cultural heritage;

  2. To ensure the protection of state, autonomous regions and local authorities assets.


In this context, the Law that regulates the right of class actions establishes that "any citizen in the enjoyment of his or her civil and political rights and the associations and foundations defending the interests provided for in the previous article, regardless of whether or not they have a direct interest in the outcome."


In particular, it is an individual right - which would not otherwise exist - was granted under the public right to take action, for example, to request the judicial annulment of building permits and public contracts alleged to violate legal norms and principles.


The class action concept, goes back to the old Roman law, having been consecrated, for the first time, in a legal text, in Belgium in 1836, and constitutes a powerful instrument that is available to the public, and which serves to control the actions of government leaders, servants, agents and public representatives.

In its objectives, are entrenched principles and genuine purposes deserving of legal protection. Objectives that are in existence in developed countries and where its citizens are active participants, committed and civilized. For that reason, the law presumes that those who resort to the use of a class action are equally imbued with these same principles, exercising their rights in a responsible and legitimate manner, and with a view to defend the "common good".


Who is responsible for the costs of the Popular Action?

The legal costs incurred for ASMAA legal team, experts (reports / studies), and other incidentals are paid for by the association (ASMAA). In relation to court fees, ASMAA is exempt from costs because this action is a Class Action.  If we get an award against ASMAA for costs, as we are the principal applicant in this legal action, then those costs will be paid for by the association.


By signing the “Opt-In” declaration, you are not in fact going to be held accountable for the Class Action costs, nor will you be obliged to make a contribution.




The fact that you will not be held liable for costs, should not prevent you from donating or assisting us, in meeting the ongoing campaign legal costs that ASMAA is liable for. You can always contribute (and we thank all those who have already done so, and those who want to do so in the future) with donations directly to our lawyers or directly to ASMAA, but this is only an option and based on your willingness and financial capacity of each one. It is not a must. We thank you for all the contributions.



Can young people sign the declaration letter?

Yes, young people from the age of 14 can sign the declaration.

Do I have to send my declaration letter through the post office (CTT) and through email to the court?

If you send the declaration through the post office, please ensure that it is sent via registered mail with acknowledgment of receipt. And we request that you send us a copy to ASMAA by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Do I have to fill in my full residential address or can I use just my area of residence? (For example: Lisbon, Lagos, Porto)

Yes, you will have to fill in your complete physical address on the declaration letter. If you hold property, or reside in Portugal we request that you use your Portuguese address.

Can I just send the statement via email?

Yes you can. But we ask that you send us a copy to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

I do not have a Portuguese Citizen Card, what alternative can I use?

You can use your country Identity Card, Portuguese Taxpayer Number (Fiscal Number/NIF), or your passport number. We ask that in this specific case identify the method of identification used


Click here to download a draft declaration letter (EU Citizens and Investors in Portugal). Take note that the last day to submit to the court your letter is tomorrow Friday 28 September 2018.


If you have any further questions, we request that you add your question to the “Comments” section below.

Thank you all for your support.

The ASMAA team



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