Planning law in Portugal

Morais Leitão, Galvão Teles, Soares da Silva & Associados

Morais Leitão, Galvão Teles, Soares da Silva & Associados' planning law practice sits within its public, urban and environmental law department, which has 'strong credibility in the national and international market'. The team is frequently instructed on all planning aspects of major real estate developments in the country, as well as related acquisitions. Urban construction and touristic developments are particular strengths and, in light of the pandemic, the team has been advising clients on relevant new legislation, for example, the extension of deadlines for construction licensing. Planning expert João Pereira Reis heads the team, aided by highly regarded managing associate Rui Ribeiro Lima. Real estate partner João Torroaes Valente and public law practice head João Tiago Silveira are also names to note.

Practice head(s):

João Pereira Reis

Other key lawyers:

Rui Ribeiro Lima; João Torroaes Valente; João Tiago Silveira


Strong brand and large capable workforce capable of tackling large projects and keep to tight deadlines, as well as experienced in dealing with international clients.

Strong credibility in the national and international market. Organization, knowledge and mastery of the requested subjects.

Rui Lima – availability and deep knowledge on the subject of urbanism.

‘João Torroaes Valente is experienced and dynamic, with strong negotiation skills.

‘Rui Ribeiro Lima has extensive knowledge and experience in urban planning.

Work highlights

  • Advising Round Hill Capital on the allotment operation and construction of a real estate development project in Porto.
  • Acting for King Street Capital Management on its acquisition of several companies that held eight plots of land for construction of a multipurpose development project in Lisbon.
  • Assisting Bloom Marinha on the implementation and creation of a touristic village with townhouses in Cascais, aimed to be one of the most luxurious condominium in the metropolitan area of Lisbon.

Sofia Galvao Advogados

Sofia Galvao Advogados is a boutique real estate and project planning law firm that works for developers and investors on significant, planning-driven deals. Recent work has included advice on mixed-use tourist developments as well as complex urban housing projects. The team is co-led by Sofia Galvão and Hugo Nunes; Galvão is particularly strong on real estate and tourism developments as well as environmental matters, while Nunes has notable strength in litigation. Luís Moitinho de Almeida is another name to note in the team.

Practice head(s):

Sofia Galvão; Hugo Nunes

Other key lawyers:

Luís Moitinho de Almeida


Although it is a boutique, the work team reveals a remarkable cohesion, total availability for requests that, sometimes unexpectedly arise, with great academic knowledge of these matters, also possessing excellent qualities in terms of litigation. The mastery of matters in this area of law allows the client to make decisions and define strategies that prove to be winning when subject to the appreciation of the courts.

The lawyers Sofia Galvão and Hugo Nunes are the core elements of the office with high knowledge of the agents working in this area, which, together with the excellence of their academic and litigation skills, constitute an excellent bet for those who resort to them.

Sofia Galvão is an excellent professional in this area of law, having demonstrated her qualities over the years that she has already practiced in the area of urbanism and spatial planning, as shown by the positions she has played at the governmental and international level.

Hugo Nunes stands out in the team, always available and responding quickly to contacts, always with high personal commitment in the defense of our interests, contributing decisively to winning outcomes.

Hugo Nunes is well prepared and uses accessible language. Demanding but diplomatic in relationships with third parties – constructive in the face of difficulties.’

Sofia Galvão is, in my opinion, the best specialist in the market in urban planning and spatial planning. Her deep legal knowledge allows for enormous security in the concrete analyses to be carried out and the implementation of strategies.

The best urban planning and spatial planning team in Portugal. Competence, experience, capacity for innovation, recognition, friendliness, speed, flexibility, a society that we always want to find in any subject or transaction. Sofia Galvão and Hugo Nunes make a difference in the Portuguese law scene!’

It is a small team (compared to other large societies) that is highly specialized and is very competent in solving complex problems. It has a pragmatic approach to problems and develops a long-term strategy for solving problems. Of the team members I highlight Sofia Galvao, Hugo Nunes and Luis Moitinho Almeida.

Key clients

Discovery Land Company (CostaTerra)

Batipart (Club Med)

Tidewell Corporation (Apostiça)

Jackyl (Suíça)

Consórcio Arquitectos (Entrecampos)

Metropolitano de Lisboa, EPE (EU Sete Rios)

Quinta do Mar (Sintra)

Stone Capital (Carcavelos)

Auchan Portugal Hipermercados (Cascais)

El Corte Inglès (Porto)

Work highlights

  • Assisting Novo Banco on the construction of a major development in Lisbon, involving the setting up and execution of a highly complex and sophisticated planning strategy.
  • Advising Discovery Land Company on the acquisition and development of a prime location allotment for the purpose of construction of a high-end residential and tourist resort.
  • Acting for Tidewell on the implementation of a detail plan for a prime location resort in Sesimbra.


PLMJ has significant capabilities in planning law, particularly in large urban developments; in 2020, it advised on student housing and office developments in Lisbon, among a broad range of instructions. Practice head Sara Blanco de Morais has town and country planning expertise and also covers project management and related litigation and regulatory issues. Managing associate Manuel da Silva Gomes focuses on planning and environmental matters, in particular administrative matters and related litigation. Public entities in Portugal as well as domestic and international developers make up the team's client base.

Practice head(s):

Sara Blanco de Morais

Other key lawyers:

Manuel da Silva Gomes


Strong customer orientation. Creativity and constant search for the best solutions.

PLMJ is the office with which I usually interact mainly in the area of urbanism. What distinguishes it, in my opinion, is the competence and availability of its professionals and the multidisciplinary nature of the services they provide.

Technical and legal knowledge, assertiveness and leadership skills.

What distinguishes Sara Blanco de Morais is her high competence and availability.

‘Sara’s knowledge of urban themes and assertiveness are a fundamental contribution to the development of the projects in which we have been working and it is a characteristic recognized by the various players.

Key clients

Elegant Family Hotels/Martinhal

Eunea/VESB, S.A. – Aldeia da Muda/Comporta

Galp Energia

Grupo SIL

Ikea Portugal/Inter Ikea Centres


Quinta do Lago

SCAI, S.A. (Grupo Champalimaud)

United Investments Portugal – Sheraton Pine Cliffs Resort in the Algarve

Universidade Nova de Lisboa

Vale do Lobo

Work highlights

  • Advised Core Estate on the Portuguese legal framework and assistance in the investment in Portugal. The main goal is to build students’ residences.
  • Assisting Logiters on the expansion of a major logistic platform in Alcochete.
  • Acting for Elegant Offices on the licensing procedure of two office buildings.

Sérvulo & Associados

The urban planning group at Sérvulo & Associados acted for a range of real estate investors, major companies, funds and banks on their planning and licensing matters in 2020. Eduardo Gonçalves Rodrigues leads the team and has worked in conjunction with the office's wider real estate practice on recent tourist and residential developments, among others. Consultant Filipa Névoa is another contact to note for planning work.

Practice head(s):

Eduardo Gonçalves Rodrigues

Other key lawyers:

Filipa Névoa


Willing to provide the necessary framework and clarification with the support of an extended structure.

Eduardo Gonçalves Rodrigues has extreme objectivity with regard to removing redundancies and unnecessary material in the prepared documents, favoring clarity and legibility.’

Key clients

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

FOCUS GROUP II – Design & Consultancy, Lda.


Graciosa Parcela, Lda.

New Paradigm – Investimentos Imobiliários, Lda.

Work highlights

  • Advised Interfundos on the planning matters of Golfe Praia da Marinha (GPM) project, involving the negotiation of three planning contracts with the Municipality of Lagoa.
  • Assisted Birchview on a vendor’s real estate and planning due diligence (VDD) for a set of 94 luxury buildings located in Quinta do Lago, Loulé.
  • Advised New Paradigm in the execution of the UOPG3 Detail Plan, aiming to execute the provisions of the Meia Praia Master Plan in Lagos, Algarve – valued at approximately €50m.


TELLES fields an experienced real estate, construction and urban planning practice, which advises on urban planning and regeneration, construction, and hotel and commercial services licensing. Pedro Almeida e Sousa has 30 years of broad real estate experience and is based in the firm's Porto office; Miguel Nogueira Leite is based in Lisbon and has recently led on matters in the industrial, retail, tourism and agricultural sectors. Senior associate Frederico Styliano Reis and associate Bernardo Gomes de Castro are further contacts of note.

Practice head(s):

Pedro Almeida e Sousa; Miguel Nogueira Leite

Other key lawyers:

Frederico Styliano Reis; Bernardo Gomes de Castro


‘In the area of ​​urbanism and real estate, there are few law firms with Telles know-how and experience. The assistance provided gives our projects a greater degree of certainty in the investments made.’

‘Diversity and knowledge in a wide range of subjects.’

‘They were always very strict: 1 – in the identification of the applicable legal framework, 2 – in the structuring of the necessary procedures to carry out the claims 3 – in the inventory of risks and alternative ways to achieve the objectives of its customers.’

‘Great availability to deal with all issues, even in the mandatory confinement time in Portugal, and it was always possible to advance the necessary topics.’

Key clients





















Work highlights

  • Assisted the RAR Group in the rehabilitation of Quinta de S. José de Ribamar (a 16th Century monastery and palace) for the development of a residential area.
  • Advised Ferreira Build Power in the preparation of an Urban Development Contract with the Municipality of Santo Tirso as well as in the execution and revision of the Municipality’s master plan.
  • Assisted Qbic Hotels and Cerebrus Global with a prior information request with Porto Municipality to rehabilitate the historic and abandoned “Colégio Almeida Garrett” to a 240-room hotel.


Urban development projects and related compliance, environmental impact matters and disputes are specialisms of the planning team at VdA. The practice also has a notable practice in African jurisdictions, being particularly active in São Tomé and Príncipe in 2020. Clients include key real estate and project developers in Portugal and Africa, as well as local authorities. Practice head Raul Mota CerveiraRodrigo Esteves de Oliveira and Ana Marta Castro are the key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Raul Mota Cerveira

Other key lawyers:

Rodrigo Esteves de Oliveira; Ana Marta Castro


The VdA team is highly skilled, especially in Portuguese speaking countries with a 360 degree complete approach to each case.

VDA’s team is unique, I believe that fast and quality legal opinions are the key capabilities.

Raul Mota Cerveira is a highly skilled lawyer with a very practical and pragmatic approach to the cases. Also important to mention his ability to be always connected and providing quick feedback to the customers.

The team I work with at VdA is very knowledgeable, on juridical issues and business models/practicalities. Totally focused on client needs and expectations, they are always available, fulfilling deadlines, and being good listeners and open to others’ ideas.

Willingness to help at very short notice – strong network of contacts in our remote area of operations in Africa. Friendly and engaging attitude.

Vda has a committed team that will never leave you without a solution.

‘The commitment, the domain of the subjects, and the quality of the delivered work.’

Raul Cerveira and his team guided me through the legal process in my property development project. The VDA team’s guidance in English was most helpful!!

Key clients

IFRRU – Instrumento Financeiro da Reabilitação e Revitalização Urbanas 2020

Malazan Development

Foz do Tejo

EDP Renováveis

MEO – Serviços de Comunicações e Multimédia, S.A.

HBD – São Tomé and Príncipe

ANA – Aeroportos de Portugal, S.A.

Maikara Lodge

Municipality of Figueira da Foz


Fundbox / Quinta da Ombria


Work highlights

  • Assisting EDP Renováveis in the setting up of an independent solar power plant project in Principe Island (Biosphere Reserve) with a renewables generation and storage solution.
  • Advising Instituto da Conservação da Natureza e das Florestas on the definition of compensation measures as a result of the environmental impact assessment of the construction of a new airport in the metropolitan area of Lisboa, Montijo.
  • Assisting IFRRU – Instrumento Financeiro para a Reabilitação e Revitalização Urbana 2020 (IFRRU 2020) on the implementation of the financial instrument for the urban renewal, that covers the entire Portuguese territory.


The planning aspects of some of Portugal's largest property transactions are handled by the team at Cuatrecasas, co-ordinated by the firm's head of real estate, Nuno Sá Carvalho. Tourist resorts, real estate in Lisbon and logistics sites were all subjects of the team's work in 2020; clients include significant banks and investors in the region. Sara Quaresma, promoted to partner in 2020, is an active member of the team.

Practice head(s):

Nuno Sá Carvalho

Other key lawyers:

Sara Quaresma; Gonçalo Nogueira


Personalized service and support, availability to analyze and discuss solutions with a view to optimizing the performance of the operations under study.

Nuno Sá Carvalho for the professionalism with which he deals with matters, seriousness demonstrated in the relationship with the client, security and rigor in the analysis of the topics under discussion.

Cuatrecasas’ team stands out for their readiness, knowledge, hands on approach, client perspective above all and resolution of issues. Mention should be made and recognition given to Nuno Sá Carvalho.

Sara Quaresma shows off-the-shelf quality, never neglecting any detail or ever “relaxing” even after more than two years of work. In the countless negotiations we had, Sara always showed a superior preparation than the counterparty, making negotiations more favorable for our side.

Cuatrecasas stands out for its professionalism and customer service. The urban planning and spatial planning team is competent and accessible. It quickly becomes an extension of the company’s legal department.

Nuno Sá Carvalho’s extremely high professional skills are only surpassed by his personal qualities.

The team is exceptionally dedicated and has gone to great lengths to understand the nature of our business to enable them to provide targeted advice.

The key individuals I work with in the planning space are Nuno Sá Carvalho and Gonçalo Nogueira. The qualities valued in them are their directness and practical utility of their advice. They are highly responsive and take pride in the assistance they provide.

Key clients


Baupost/Eurofund (BPI Xv S.à.r.l)

Orpea Group

Club Med

Acciona Group

Bosch group

Zurich Group

Fremont Bluespace

Leroy Merlin

Habitat Invest

Savills Investment Management

Hi Partners (Blackstone)

The Student Hotel

RIVA Asset Management

Solvay Group

Novo Banco

APCO – – Investimentos e Empreendimentos Imobiliário

Circuito do Sol

Work highlights

  • Acting for Novo Banco on the sale of an emblematic resort in Comporta, in the total estimated amount above of €60m, including town planning aspects.
  • Advising Acciona Group on its expansion to the Portuguese market, including several acquisitions and developments of real estate projects in Lisbon, with an investment above €100m.
  • Assisting Fremont Bluespace on the acquisition and development of several real estate properties for the installation of self-storage warehouses.

FALM, Ferreira de Almeida, Luciano Marcos & Associados, Sociedade de Advogados, R.L

FALM, Ferreira de Almeida, Luciano Marcos & Associados, Sociedade de Advogados, R.L has extensive experience in the planning aspects of real estate and construction projects. Its six-partner team has relevant expertise, with José Mário Ferreira de Almeida and Luciano Marcos being key contacts.

Gómez-Acebo & Pombo

Planning advice at Gómez-Acebo & Pombo's Lisbon office is co-ordinated by of counsel Sofia Rodrigues Nunes, who has strong experience in urban renewal projects. The team has handled a range of recent instructions in that field, as well as work in the tourism sector. Land assessments and contentious planning issues are also mainstays.

Practice head(s):

Sofia Rodrigues Nunes

Key clients

UPI Tavira












Work highlights

  • Assisting UPI Tavira on planning and licensing matters for an urban development project in the historical area of Tavira.
  • Advising Enigma Solene on an urban development project of hotel and tourism apartments in Rua da Manutenção in Lisbon.
  • Assisting Junerastior on planning and licensing matters concerning an urban development project in Marvila, Lisbon.


Jorge Salvador Gonçalves heads the real estate and planning department at Garrigues, advising on the relevant aspects of property transactions in the tourism, logistics and leisure sectors, as well as zoning issues and urban regeneration projects.

SRS Advogados

SRS Advogados regularly assists high-profile names in renewable energy, the beverage industry and public institutes on urban and land use planning. Alexandre Roque heads the team and is an experienced public law expert; highlights for 2020 include advising on the planning approval for photovoltaic power plants and assisting the Port of Lisbon on its €30m Marina de Pedrouços project.

Practice head(s):

Alexandre Roque


The responsible partner is absolutely available for the requested support.

‘Alexandre Roque is exceptionally competent, transmitting enormous confidence in the content of the support provided. He is very available, helpful, simple, easy to contact, understands the client’s needs and does not try to hinder or show anything beyond what is requested. He is incisive and very efficient.

Key clients

Port of Lisbon

Sumol+Compal, S.A.

Repsol Portugal, S.A.

Ventinveste, S.A.

Marcascais, S.A.

IHRU – Instituto de Habitação Urbana, I.P.

Regional Government of Madeira

GALP Energia, S.A.


Gesto Energia, S.A.

MTX Solar, Lda.

Finerge, S.A.

Work highlights

  • Acted for Sumol + Compal on the construction of new logistic storage facilities in Almeirim, Portugal, which represents an investment of over €25m.
  • Advised the Port of Lisbon on the Marina de Pedrouços Project.
  • Advised various clients on the planning approval of large-scale photovoltaic power plants.

Uría Menéndez – Proença Carvalho

Uría Menéndez – Proença Carvalho established itself as a notable firm in planning law with the hire of counsel Goncalo Reino Pires in September 2019. He leads on a range of planning matters, from planning instruments to licensing procedures, as well as environmental assessments and public domain matters. Clients include investors and developers, and the team was involved in a number of tourism industry projects in 2020.

Practice head(s):

Gonçalo Reino Pires

Other key lawyers:

Pedro Teixeira de Sousa


‘Uría is a law firm made with experienced and talented persons which are result oriented. With a high level of pragmatic approach in the way they handled clients’ needs.’

‘I highlight Gonçalo Reino Pires for his competence, his reasoning ability, his openness to discussion and his relationship with the client.’

‘Gonçalo Reino Pires is an extraordinary, knowledgeable person and talented lawyer. One of the best in its area of expertise and always walking with deep security in the advice given to its clients.’

‘Technical competence and knowledge, openness to discussion, time availability and easy relationship. The element that distinguishes the firm is Gonçalo Reino Pires.’

Key clients

VIC Properties

Multi Development Corporation

INTERVGP – Construção Industrial Unipessoal

Pêro de Amigos

INEOS Automotive, Unipessoal

Capital Real I – Fundo de Investimento Imobiliário Fechado


Vilamoura World (Lone Star Group)

Grand Bay Residences

Allianz Real Estate / Elo Mutual Pension Insurance Company

Portis – Hotéis Portugueses

Work highlights

  • Acted for VIC Properties on the acquisition from Novo Banco of the companies that own Herdade do Pinheirinho, a tourist development project in Melides (Grândola), with a total area of 200 hectares and an existing golf course.
  • Advised INEOS Automotive on the installation of an industrial complex in the Eco-Parque Empresarial de Estarreja for the development of Projekt Grenadier.
  • Assisted Vilamoura World on the development of several real estate projects in Vilamoura, regarding 400 hectares for urban purposes (with 5,300 residential and touristic units expected to be developed).