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Portuguese lawyers lodge complaint against government

Published on 02/09/2014

The Portuguese Bar Association has lodged a complaint against all members of the government for "undermining the rule of law" with judicial reforms which came into effect on Monday.

The reforms restrict “severely access to the law and to the courts for thousands of Portuguese citizens” in violation of the rule of law defined in the constitution, the lawyers’ association said in a statement.

Among the controversial changes is a radical redrawing of judicial districts — under the new system there are 23 where previously there were 231 — and the closure of 20 courts.

In mid-July, hundreds of lawyers took part in a demonstration in front of the Portuguese parliament building in protest against the reforms which “could cause the collapse of the entire legal system,” according to Bar Association president Elina Fraga.