Economic and Social Dimension of Private Law

Economic and Social Dimension of Private Law
To foster and develop diversified contributions to the accumulation of knowledge in the area of Private Law that allows to offer the various legal actors in society theoretical tools that facilitate the construction of better judicial decisions and, in short, promote justice.


Interdisciplinary study of law
Civil and commercial law
Portuguese civil code
Economic and social dimensions of contracts

Participating institutions to which the research group belongs:

NOVA School of Law


Ana Maria Correira Rodrigues Prata (Principal Investigator)
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

Doctoral Students:

Francisco José Serra Briosa e Gala
Ricardo Lopes Dinis Pedro


Maria Luísa Alves da Silva Neto
Manuel António Pita
Rui Manuel Pinto Duarte

Structure of the research group:

The research group on the economic and social dimension of private law reflects the central objective of this centre: the promotion of quality and innovation in the teaching of law and in its research, in this case in the broader field of private law. The members of this team are lawyers and academics with wide experience in both civil and commercial law, who share CEDIS’s intention of bringing to the forefront the study of the practical application of law – law in action – as opposed to its formal application – law in the books – an intention firmly anchored in the pioneering role of this centre in promoting a multidisciplinary study of law in its multifaceted relationship with society.

Although Law’s relationship with society as a whole is a privileged object of attention for this group, attention is not given as a passive observer. On the contrary, the aim of this group is to foster and develop diversified contributions to the accumulation of knowledge in the area of Private Law both as an end in itself and as a means to another ultimate end, shared with most if not all legal scholars: to offer the various legal actors in society theoretical tools that facilitate the construction of better judicial decisions and, in short, promote justice.

With this in mind, it becomes vital that the results of the research receive the greatest possible national projection – that is, that the scientific articles of this group are published in the journals most read by judges, lawyers and other legal operators, thus ensuring a greater chance of making a real impact on our society. Simultaneously, it is also a key objective of this group to significantly increase the international projection of the results of its work by intensifying the publication of scientific articles in international indexed journals.

Objectives of the research group:

1 – Annotated Civil Code: each of the articles contained in the Portuguese Civil Code studied using academic texts and judicial decisions, leading to the interpretation of each of them according to the best solutions both from a dogmatic point of view and from a social, economic and ethical point of view. The Project is coordinated by Professor Ana Prata and also 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, mostly Professors and students of advanced degrees from NOVA Law (Universidade Nova de Lisboa).

As the Civil Code was published in 1967, a vast number of its articles have already been amended. However, there are still a vast number of other articles that still need to be amended in order to offer society, people and their problems regarding contracts, civil liability, property and successions, better, fairer and more accurate solutions. The courts must build a new approach to civil law, and it is up to the legislator to make a serious study of the currently applicable rules and the meaning of their options.

The aim of this project also includes the holding of around twenty conferences, the publication of an as yet unpredictable number of articles and the publication of one or two books, and is scheduled to end at the end of 2017.

2 – Another project of this group will focus on urban renting. The research group intends to maintain an updated internet portal with reference to legislation and jurisprudence, as well as a forum to answer questions on the subject.

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

4 – Another project will deal with the energy sector in Portugal, focusing on energy efficiency, renewables and the legal framework of an energy resource exploration project (and how this legal framework attracts investors in a country with low geological potential). We will also study the contractual models used in Portugal, thus allowing a comparative law analysis. We will also analyse the dispute resolution mechanisms in the energy sector: (i) internationally, namely disputes involving foreign companies and states where those energy projects take place; (ii) at a national level, with particular emphasis on the rights of energy consumers and the alternative dispute resolution mechanisms in cases involving energy consumers.

The foreseen activities and objectives for this project: 6 working papers, potentially transformable, at a later stage, into articles allowing them to be then proposed for publication in national or international journals; response to international call for papers and/or conference presentations; organization and presentation of a final conference of the project.

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