Planning law in Portugal

Morais Leitão, Galvão Teles, Soares da Silva & Associados

Regarded for its 'vast knowledge of the market', the public, urban, and environmental law practice at Morais Leitão, Galvão Teles, Soares da Silva & Associados, under the joint leadership of planning law specialist João Pereira Reis and public law partner João Tiago Silveira, handles a wide range of both contentious and non-contentious issues for an impressive roster of developers, public entities and individuals. The department is especially well versed in tourism and industrial hub projects, showcasing strength in licensing matters and in complex negotiations with municipalities. Co-head Pereira Reis is adept in supporting major commercial clients in the attainment of construction permits. Promoted to the partnership in November 2023, Rui Ribeiro Lima plays a 'decisive role' in planning and licensing mandates, with a focus on securing construction and activity-specific permits.

Practice head(s):

João Tiago Silveira; João Pereira Reis

Other key lawyers:

Rui Ribeiro Lima


‘ML’s planning team is crucial for advising international investors. They are incredibly knowledgeable of Portuguese planning law, which is essential for mitigating risks in deals.’

‘Rui Ribeiro Lima is an excellent communicator and very well respected in the industry.’

‘Morais Leitão stands out for its team’s client engagement, vast knowledge of the market, and local contacts with municipal bodies.’

‘Rui Ribeiro Lima is an exceptional professional and an excellent person with integrity.’

‘The urban planning team stands out for its availability, quality service, timely compliance, and a pragmatic approach. It offers in-depth market knowledge and integrated solutions across various areas.’

‘The team, led by João Pereira Reis and Rui Ribeiro Lima, is a market reference in urban planning. They demonstrate extensive technical and legal expertise.’

‘They provide invaluable, professional, timely, and transparent support.’

‘In urban planning law, Rui Ribeiro Lima’s decisive role in our processes has been highly effective, earning him strong recommendations and positive feedback from our real estate investor clients.’


The ‘dedicated and extremely professional’ team at PLMJ stands out for its expertise in town and country planning, as well as in related domains like public and administrative law, real estate, tourism, and administrative litigation. The department is regularly instructed by asset management firms, funds and major companies in the energy and real estate sectors. Led by the highly regarded Andreia Candeias Mousinho, the practice boasts significant experience in urban development, complex planning and licensing issues. Key support is offered Benedita Lacerda, who specialises in administrative law, planning, public procurement, and related litigation proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Andreia Candeias Mousinho

Other key lawyers:

Benedita Lacerda; Micaela Giestas Salvador; Raquel Freitas; Diogo Duarte de Campos


‘PLMJ has dedicated and extremely professional teams that provide an excellent service.’

‘The lawyers are honest, responsible, professional and dedicated. Micaela Giestas Salvador has been tireless and exceptional.’

‘This is an experienced team that stands out for its specialised knowledge and professional excellence.

‘The urban planning and spatial planning team, specifically Raquel Freitas, Micaela Giestas Salvador and Andreia Candeias Mousinho, have in-depth knowledge of urban planning law issues and have proved to be a real asset.’

‘Micaela Giestas Salvador and Andreia Candeias Mousinho have a command of urban planning law and the practical situations that arise in this context.’

‘Good, hard-working and professional lawyers.’

‘Benedita Lacerda and Diogo Duarte de Campos are friendly, available, competent, professional, and have a wealth of knowledge.’

‘Andreia Candeias Mousinho has excellent technical know-how, and Micaela Giestas Salvador has excellent work capacity.’

Key clients

Acciona Group

Admar, SCR, S.A.

AGG Capital Management LI

Algarvelux Villages Exploração Turística, S.A.

Arrow Global Group / Norfin

Aurora Lith, S.A.

Ascendi IGI, Inovação e Gestão de Infraestruturas, S.A.


Davidson Kempner European

Eden Portugal I, FCR

Europi Property Group

Galp Energia, S.A.

Galp New Energies, S.A.

Grupo Sil

GSE Group (Confluence)

Incus Capital

Inspired Educational Group

Inspired Finco Holdings, Limited

LCN Capital Partners, LP

Mozambique Republic

Power & Sol Energias Renováveis, S.A.

Sandvik Machining Solution

Start – Sines Transatlantic Renewable & Technology Campus, S.A.

Stoneview Capital Limited

Work highlights

  • Assisting the Republic of Mozambique’s Ministry of State Administration and Public Service in the technical review of the territorial planning legislative package and urban land regulation.
  • Advising Aurora Lith, S.A., a joint venture between Galp and Northvolt, on the structuring of a lithium conversion plant project, including licensing and implementation at Parque Industrial Sapec Bay.
  • Assisting Start Campus in the development of the START Campus of the Sines 4.0 Project, relating to DK and PPP aspects.

Sofia Galvao Advogados

'One of the best firms in Portugal', boutique Sofia Galvao Advogados is home to ‘experts in the areas of urban and spatial planning’. The group plays a pivotal role in high-profile developments across Portugal, including office buildings, airports, and tourist resorts. Founder Sofia Galvão is a leading authority in the market, standing out for her expertise in land and maritime spatial planning, real estate, and construction law. Luís Moitinho de Almeida complements the practice with his comprehensive view of planning, environment, licensing, and litigation matters relating to territorial law. Co-founder Hugo Nunes departed in May 2023.

Practice head(s):

Sofia Galvão; Luís Moitinho de Almeida


‘Sofia Galvão and Luís Moitinho de Almeida are experts in the areas of urban and spatial planning. The firm is one of the best firms in Portugal.’

Key clients

Bedrock Capital

Comissão Técnica Independente


Fundação Champalimaud

Grupo Pestana


Metropolitano de Lisboa, EPE



Stone Capital

Status Capital

Tidewell Corporation

Universidade Católica Portuguesa

Work highlights

  • Assisted Comissão Técnica Independente in planning matters for the new Lisbon airport, studying various sites to aid in government decision-making regarding the airport’s location.
  • Assisted the Champalimaud Foundation with the development of its Botton-Champalimaud Pancreatic Cancer Centre, an expansion project creating a new wing dedicated to the world’s first pancreatic cancer research and treatment center.
  • Assisted UCP in planning and real estate matters, focusing on resolving a hold-up in a Sintra urban development project and developing the North Side of its Lisbon Campus (Campus Veritati) for state-of-the-art economics and business college facilities.


Cuatrecasas boasts a strong team of ‘highly competent professionals’ specialised in planning and territorial law. Practice leader Nuno SÁ Carvalho offers expert advice on town planning for hotels and shopping centres, and oversees residential, tourism, retail, and logistics developments. Hugo Nunes, a recent addition from Sofia Galvao Advogados, who joined in May 2023, has a keen focus on land and maritime spatial planning, real estate, construction and related litigation. Marisa Mirador, a key contact for both public and private entities seeking assistance with urban planning, public procurement and contentious matters, who joined in January 2023 following the firm’s integration of SLCM, further strengthened the department.

Practice head(s):

Nuno Sá Carvalho

Other key lawyers:

Sara Quaresma; Hugo Nunes; Marisa Mirador


‘Hugo Nunes is an excellent lawyer with great technical knowledge in his field.’

‘Sara Quaresma and Nuno Sá Carvalho were both decisive due to their technical and behavioural skills.’

‘I continue to be impressed by Hugo Nunes. He can master any legal topics and technical areas.’

‘The multidisciplinary team is made up of highly competent professionals with in-depth knowledge not only of their specific areas but also of the potential connections between themes.’

‘Hugo Nunes exhibits intelligence, insight, versatility, and mental agility. José Diogo Marques shows dedication, availability, and an ability for abstract thinking, while Marisa Mirador possesses specialised knowledge, skill in interlinking different areas, and a collaborative approach.’

‘Hugo Nunes is notable for his client-driven approach, which is based on a very solid and structured knowledge of urbanism and planning topics. ’

‘Nuno Sá Carvalho is always available to review our problems and has immense experience, allowing him to guide us to the best solutions.’

‘Sara Quaresma is always the best-prepared lawyer in meetings, making a point of reviewing all necessary documentation to avoid surprises. On several occasions, clients of the opposing party’s lawyers end up wanting to confirm certain points in the law or procedures with Sara.’

Key clients

Discovery Land Company

Portugal Village of Life

Macl Capital

El Corte Inglés

Universidade Nova de Lisboa

Auchan Portugal Hipermercados

Coporgest (UNOP 3)

Setúbal and Sesimbra Port Authority and Setúbal Municipality

RE Capital

Somfy Group

Novaxia Group

Bankinter – Montepino

Maya Capital


Hi partners

Riva Group

Novo Banco

Mercan Properties

Brico Depot

Motel One

Soho House

The Student Hotel (TSH)

Work highlights

  • Advised Discovery Land Company (CostaTerra) on their entry into Portugal, focusing on acquiring and developing a prime allotment in Melides, Alentejo.
  • Advised Portugal Village of Life on the town-planning structuring and licensing for the development of a senior living/health resort in Benavente, with an estimated investment exceeding €100m.
  • Advised El Corte Inglés (ECI) Porto on conducting a comprehensive scan and integrated legal analysis of the land use potential, its urban and contractual status, operational deadlines, and strategies for advancing the project.

Uría Menéndez – Proença Carvalho

Showcasing a 'deep understanding of the complexities of the Portuguese planning system’, Uría Menéndez – Proença Carvalho handles a host of mandates, covering licensing issues, environmental assessments, public-domain matters, and real estate transactions. Gonçalo Reino Pires, who advises both public and private sector clients in urban and spatial planning, including residential, commercial, industrial and logistics developments, steers the practice. Pedro Teixeira de Sousa focuses on licensing procedures and real estate projects, guiding clients in the acquisition of real estate assets, as well as contractual, regulatory, and planning matters.

Practice head(s):

Gonçalo Reino Pires

Other key lawyers:

Pedro Teixeira de Sousa


‘Gonçalo Reino Pires has very strong technical knowledge.’

‘The team has deep understanding of the complexities of the Portuguese planning system.’

‘Both Gonçalo Reino Pires and Pedro Teixeira de Sousa have provided an excellent service. Their advice, dedication, and relationships were invaluable to our project.’

Key clients

1875 Finance

Accor Group


Bachmann Group



Cobble Capital

Deka Immobilien

Davidson Kempner / ECS Capital

Explorer Investments

Fibeira Group


Gingko Advisor

Grand Bay Residences

Habitat Invest


Ikos Resorts


Magnawoods / Larmag Group

Multi Development

Nelson Group

Overseas Group

Qantara Capital




Second Episode Living


Sostate Group

Universidad Europea

UpSight Investments



Wolf Capital

Work highlights

  • Advising 1875 Finance on the development of an execution unit in Lisbon, encompassing an area of approximately 250,000 square metres.
  • Advising BBondstone on the acquisition and development of Morgadinho in Loulé, covering approximately 67 hectares with a construction area of 114,500 square metres.
  • Advising Habitat Invest on the acquisition and development of Almar in Almada, featuring a construction area of about 51,000 square metres.


CMS 'demonstrates extensive knowledge of urban planning laws and regulations', acting for Portuguese and international clients in all stages of significant urban development projects. The practice is led by the ‘highly reputed’ Sara de Almeida Barroso, whose proficiency encompasses real estate, urban and environmental planning, regulatory issues and litigation. Her sectoral focus is equally as broad; she has a wealth of experience in the residential, tourism, commercial, logistics, student housing and industrial segments.

Practice head(s):

Sara de Almeida Barroso

Other key lawyers:

David Pratas Brito


‘Sara de Almeida Barroso, with over 20 years in urban planning, leads a small but highly skilled team. Technically impeccable and always up to date, she offers real business solutions, not just legal opinions, with quick and effective results.’

‘Sara de Almeida Barroso is always my first choice, excellently complemented by David Pratas Brito. They are among the few with such specialised experience and a business-oriented approach.’

‘CMS demonstrates extensive knowledge of urban planning laws and regulations. We are very satisfied and will be a loyal client.’

‘Sara de Almeida Barroso excels in urban planning and real estate matters, and in solving complex issues. She is highly reputed among institutions and real estate investors.’

‘Their technical capability, resourcefulness, and team-oriented approach, especially in dealing with entities, are exceptional.’

‘Sara de Almeida Barroso is an exemplary leader of a competent, visionary team, with David Pratas Brito also being noteworthy. Both offer a multi-dimensional perspective to find the best solutions and achieve positive outcomes.’

Key clients


Fundo Investimento Imobiliário Fechado Beirafundo

Multi 24, Sociedade Especial de Investimento Imobiliário de Capital Fixo, Sicafi, S.A.

Sierra Portugal, S.A.

Bateleur Capital, L.L.C.

Veld Capital

Aquila Capital

Atenor S.A.

Duchess Developments

Elegant Group

Estoril Capital Partners

Estoril Sol



Martinhal Group


SIL Group


Tage Une Fois

United Lisbon Education Hub

Work highlights

  • Advising Elegant Residences on urban planning and licensing procedures for the installation of Martinhal Residences, a riverside development featuring tourist apartments and various facilities.
  • Advising Finangeste on the acquisitions of Multi 24 and the shopping centre Fórum Barreiro.
  • Advising Atenor on a share deal to acquire the company owning the North Interface Building in Campo Grande, Lisbon, a project involving the transformation of Campo Grande’s inter-modal station on Sporting Clube de Portugal’s properties.

Gómez-Acebo & Pombo

Gómez-Acebo & Pombo provides expert guidance to foreign clients seeking investment opportunities in Portugal’s residential and tourism sectors, with a focus on resorts, hotels, and leisure centres. The practice is led by Sofia Rodrigues Nunes, who draws on her ‘vast experience in the areas of ​urban planning and spatial planning’ as well as environmental and regulatory law to advise on licensing and planning procedures.

Practice head(s):

Sofia Rodrigues Nunes

Other key lawyers:

João Marques Rodrigues


‘Gómez-Acebo & Pombo has vast experience in urban planning and spatial planning projects. They are dedicated to each project, continuously monitoring all phases.’

‘Sofia Rodrigues Nunes is always a pleasure to work with. She is committed, dedicated, and has vast experience in the areas of ​urban planning and spatial planning.’

Key clients


Afa Group

Stonecapital and Squareview

Optilon Krea

Besix Red




Boissée Finance

Slow Casanoble

Zenith Potential



Larfa group



SRS Legal

The planning division at SRS Legal, adept in the planning and licensing of urban development projects, collaborates closely with its real estate team. With notable experience in urban and spatial planning and public procurement, practice head Alexandre Roque possesses a strong track record in administrative litigation, representing clients across a variety of sectors in planning, licensing, regulatory, and public procurement-related disputes.

Practice head(s):

Alexandre Roque


‘Alexandre demonstrates above-average technical knowledge in the areas of ​​urban planning and spatial planning.’

Key clients

A. Santo – Empreendimentos Industriais e Turísticos


GALP Energia

Gesto Energia

IHRU (Institute for Housing and Urban Renewal)


Lisbon Port Authority (APL)

MTX Solar

Oceano Fresco

Quinta dos Oitavos

Regional Government of Madeira

Repsol Portugal




Municipality of Porto

Puro Mar – Unipessoal, Lda.

Work highlights

  • Advising IHRU on design tenders under the RRP for the construction of 5,210 dwellings in Setúbal by 2026.
  • Advising Puro Mar on a concession for bivalve aquaculture in the Algarve, focusing on maritime spatial planning per the National Maritime Spatial Planning Situation Plan, and liaising with the ICNF and municipalities.
  • Advising the Lisbon Port Authority on the review of the Municipal Master Plans of Almada and Seixal, located on the southern margin of the Tagus River.

Sérvulo & Associados

Sérvulo & Associados excels in guiding real estate stakeholders - ranging from investors and financial institutions to major corporations - through intricate planning and licensing issues in Portugal. Leading the group is Eduardo Gonçalves Rodrigues, who leverages his experience as an architect to assist with complex zoning and planning matters. Another key individual to note in the team, Filipa Névoa focuses on urban licensing, planning and related administrative issues, including non-contentious and contentious work.

Practice head(s):

Eduardo Gonçalves Rodrigues

Other key lawyers:

Filipa Névoa; Francisca Saldanha Monteiro


‘The quality of the service, the friendliness of the lawyers, and the tranquility with which the legal knowledge is presented to us has generated unshakable trust.’

‘The firm brings in the best suitable team, with experts from several areas of law. I am glad we are supported by Sérvulo.’

‘Eduardo Gonçalves Rodrigue is very calm and knowledgeable, with an eye for detail. Francisca Saldanha Monteiro makes sure no detail goes unnoticed.’

Key clients

Interfundos – Gestão de Fundos de Investimento Imobiliário S.A.

Fundo de Pensões do Grupo Banco Comercial Português

EDP Energias de Portugal, S.A

Work highlights

  • Advised Fundo de Pensões do Banco Comercial Português, managed by Ageas, on the acquisition of 16 units of Edifício Lisboa from Kancelaval.
  • Assisted Interfundos with planning matters for the Golfe Praia da Marinha project, involving the negotiation of three planning contracts with the Municipality of Lagoa for a 200-hectare tourism project in Engenho Valley, Algarve.
  • Assisted EDP Energias Portugal, S.A. with licensing matters for the installation of solar panels, including the new generation of balcony solar panels.


The planning law team at TELLES, which sits within the firm’s real estate department, provides advice to both public and private clients on various urban planning and land use matters. The team, led by Pedro Almeida e Sousa in Porto and Miguel Nogueira Leite in Lisbon, offers expertise in planning, permitting, land allocations, and urbanisation contracts. Almeida e Sousa is seasoned in real estate and land development, while Nogueira Leite's core areas of focus include real estate investments, urban planning, and leasing arrangements.

Practice head(s):

Pedro Almeida e Sousa; Miguel Nogueira Leite

Other key lawyers:

Frederico Styliano Reis


‘The team is proactive in identifying potential problems even without being asked. Frederico Styliano Reis was always present and diligent in resolving the questions we raised.’

‘Frederico Styliano Reis provided us with unconditional support he has provided us. He used easy language when answering our questions had treated us exceptionally.’

‘We work exclusively with the Telles firm because we have a vast team of good professionals, with knowledge and experience in the most diverse areas, as well as for their care, attention and speed in dealing with various matters.’

‘I highlight associate Frederico Styliano Reis for the vast knowledge he demonstrates in the area of urban planning and for his care in finding answers and solutions to the questions asked.’

‘Pedro Almeida e Sousa – enormous experience, leadership skills, conveys enormous confidence and knowledge that result in an exceptional mediation capacity.’

‘Frederico Styliano Reis – very interested and knowledgeable of all urban planning legislation and land use planning. He knows the PDMs of the most important municipalities and has a remarkable ability to interpret them. On the national scene, I see very few lawyers with such comprehensive and solid knowledge.’

Key clients

Thomas & Piron

RAR – Imobiliária, S. A.

Domus Vi Group – Geriavi

Sis (Skto) Group

Ferreira Buid Power

Altis Group

Superbock Group

Explorer Investements


Celestial Ordem Da Trindade

Garcia, Garcia, S.A.

Transmaia – Transportes, Lda.

Hotéis Do Rio Sociedade Turística Do Rio Sado, Lda.

Qualiv – Real Estate Group


Work highlights

  • Advised Thomas & Piron on a urban planning matter, including revising the master plan and managing the Operation Planning and Management Unit (UOPG) in Loures.
  • Advised RAR GROUP on an urban planning matter, involving the Operation Planning and Management Unit (UOPG) in Porto.
  • Advised Geriavi Portugal, S.A., a DOMUSVi Group company, on a licensing process with the Lisbon Municipality for a permit to open a retirement home in a historic building.


At VdA, the planning group is geared to assist clients with due diligence in the context of real estate deals, as well as zoning, land use and environmental issues. Pedro Ferreirinha, who focuses on real estate matters, oversees the practice alongside Raul Mota Cerveira, a planning law expert, who is well versed in projects in the infrastructure, water, sanitation, energy and port sectors in Portugal and Lusophone Africa.

Practice head(s):

Pedro Ferreirinha; Raul Mota Cerveira

Work highlights

  • Advising Harmonious Jungle on the acquisition of properties, including licensing for a rural hotel in Peneda-Gerês Natural Park and an agribusiness project in Castelo Branco, Portugal.
  • Advising Fundação Oriente on the regularisation of a previously constructed project concerning ecological reserve, coastal area protection, and natural park reserve regulations in Quinta da Marinha, Guincho, Cascais.
  • Assisting Sniper Capital with acquiring property for the construction of a hotel, which involved maritime public domain issues with the Port of Lisbon Authority due to a portion of the property’s location on the Tagus Riverside.