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Multiple Competences of Judicial and Social Intervention: Portuguese Public Prosecutors in Action

Centre for Social Studies, University of Coimbra, Colégio S. Jerónimo, Largo D. Dinis, 3000-995 Coimbra, Portugal
Received: 15 June 2017 / Revised: 8 October 2017 / Accepted: 10 October 2017 / Published: 17 October 2017
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Public Prosecutors have not received much attention from international, suprastate, state and/or associative institutions in terms of seeking to influence the adoption of a common organisational model by the most diverse countries. What we have instead is mainly the approval, at different moments, of guiding principles for the exercise of functions—primarily of judges, but also, since the late 1980s, of Public Prosecutors—with special emphasis on issues of autonomy and impartiality regarding their competences and the conditions in which prosecution is carried out. However, in countries such as Portugal, Public Prosecutors exercise a wide range of competences in various legal areas, a fact that turns them into key actors in a context of evaluating the performance of the judicial system and when efforts are being made to improve its functioning, even in the midst of financial constraints. This is the backdrop to the present article, which stems from the need to discuss the functioning of the Public Prosecution Service and its professional practices in order to promote the circulation of ideas and solutions for possible judicial reforms in the model currently in force in Portugal. It is not a question of looking for the “perfect model” or of trying to achieve an “ideal synthesis,” but rather of highlighting the main aspects that can contribute to the defence of legality and the promotion of access to law and justice through the action of Public Prosecutors. In order to achieve such a goal, it is necessary for Public Prosecutors to assume a new paradigm, centred on the defence of citizenship rights. The main objective here is to discuss and reflect on the identity, competences and professional practice of Portugal’s Public Prosecutors in the context of major transformations in the judicial systems and in the legal professions themselves, both as key actors and as promoters of citizens' access to law and justice in the various legal areas in which they are active participants. The aim of this article is thus to analyse the way in which the Public Prosecutors’ exercise of their multiple competences, not only in relation to citizens but also with regard to their intermediary role between the courts and the various entities and professions at play, both public and private, contributes to achieving better justice for all. View Full-Text
Keywords: Public Prosecutors; competences; intermediary role; citizens; access to law and justice Public Prosecutors; competences; intermediary role; citizens; access to law and justice

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Dias, J.P. Multiple Competences of Judicial and Social Intervention: Portuguese Public Prosecutors in Action. Laws 2017, 6, 19.

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