Public law in Portugal
EDP continues to be one of Morais Leitão, Galvão Teles, Soares da Silva & Associados’ key clients, receiving advice on energy, regulatory, public procurement and litigation matters. In other work the outfit is assisting Metropolitano de Lisboa with public procurement in the context of its modernisation and expansion. The team also handles the streamlining of administrative procedures and procurement matters in the energy, defence and transport sectors, including contentious work. Practice co-heads are João Tiago Silveira, Nuno Peres Alves and the ‘brilliant’, ‘very imaginative’ and ‘academic’ Porto-based Pedro Costa Gonçalves. Margarida Olazabal Cabral is also singled out.
PLMJ has seen the departure of Pedro Melo to Miranda & Associados in February 2019 but still fields an impressive team with strong arbitration and projects capabilities and an international outlook. Diogo Duarte Campos and Tiago Duarte advise the main institutional investors on all related administrative aspects regarding the BES resolution claims. Of counsel Frederico Perry Vidal handles international projects, including advising Sogec on an urban road paving and rehabilitation project in Senegal.
‘Undoubtedly a leading firm’, Sérvulo & Associados is noted for the team's ‘deep specialisation’, ‘mastery’ and ‘ability to focus on the essentials’. Mark Kirkby represented the Ministry of Defence in negotiations with the Republic of Brazil for the acquisition of six KC-390 aircraft and related services and parts from Embraer. Rui Medeiros is noted for his arbitration work. João Amaral e Almeida is a public procurement specialist; although less active, José Manuel Sérvulo Correia is singled out.
‘Strongly committed and business-oriented’, Uría Menéndez – Proença Carvalho focuses primarily on transactional and finance work and related disputes and some project-based procurement. It advised Altice on the preparation of its parliamentary hearing and on the defence of the injunction requested by Vodafone against the Portuguese Competition Authority, in both instances within the context the client’s attempted acquisition of Media Capital. Practice head Bernardo Diniz de Ayala is ‘totally focused on doing the best for the client’. Mafalda Ferreira joined DLA Piper ABBC in 2019.
VDA ‘works very well as a team’, assisting high-profile domestic companies and public entities with the full range of public law matters. It represented Elos in arbitration, constitutional, and administrative judicial proceedings against the Portuguese state claiming compensation for the cancellation of a high-speed railway project. Paulo Pinheiro, who is noted for his ‘strategic legal capacity and leadership vision’, and Rodrigo Esteves de Oliveira are the key names; they have ‘a practical mindset allied with profound knowledge of public law’. Catarina Pinto Correia was promoted to the partnership. Managing associates Ana Marta Castro and André Proença are also recommended. Mário Esteves de Oliveira sadly passed away in 2019.
Clients value Cuatrecasas’ ‘multidisciplinary approach’. Working out of Porto and Lisbon, the team supports public and private-sector clients such as the Porto Municipality, Vodafone and Dragados regarding concessions, regulatory work, litigation and arbitration. It is also active in banking resolution cases, including representing the Bank of Portugal in judicial proceedings as part of BES’ resolution procedures. This case was led by Lourenço Vilhena de Freitas; Duarte Abecasis heads the team; Filipe Avides Moreira is based in Porto.
Lino Torgal heads the five-strong team at Garrigues, which has a prominent energy-sector focus, acting for clients such as Galp, Petróleos de Portugal and Iberdrola. Other clients include the Portuguese Environment Ministry and EGF - Empresa Geral de Fomento. Active in disputes, it represented Portugal Telecom in a case concerning the construction contract of its data centre in Covilhã and the default of a subcontracting contract.
Linklaters' team is ‘strongly committed to its clients and extremely interested in every aspect of their needs’. Advice is mainly focused on public law related to transactions and financing and on administrative litigation, as well as on some urbanism and projects work. The team assisted Unilever with the environmental aspects of the global sale of its spreads business, and advised Luz Saúde subsidiaries in Lisbon and Oporto on several public law matters, including disputes. Practice head and public law expert Vera Eiró was promoted to counsel, and administrative disputes specialist Ricardo Guimarães made partner.
The ‘solution-driven’ team at AAMM Law Firm focuses on advising municipalities and public and private clients, including on litigation and arbitration matters. It regularly acts for Roche Group, most recently on a set of agreement contracts with the National Health Service to regularise financial debt. Paulo de Moura Marques and Diogo Pereira da Costa are the key contacts.
The ‘timely and responsive’ team at SRS Advogados achieves ‘good results’, advising on disputes and public procurement procedures, such as assisting the Lisbon Port Authority with the €450m construction and exploration of the Barreiro container terminal. José Luís Moreira da Silva leads the team; Alexandre Roque is the other name to note.
Abreu Advogados acts for clients in the energy and transport sectors on projects, concessions and other public law matters. A highlight was assisting ALSA (part of the National Express group) in litigation against the Portuguese government following the latter’s revocation of the client’s sub-concession of the Oporto public transportation services. The team also regularly assists with the public law aspects of real estate transactions. José Eduardo Martins and Manuel de Andrade Neves jointly head the team.
Albuquerque & Almeida
Albuquerque & Almeida advises private companies and public entities on procurement tenders and related disputes. It represented the concessionaire in an arbitration regarding the renegotiation of a port concession, and another private company in a judicial challenge to a tender award in the public transport sector. Alexandre de Albuquerque and Diana Silveira are the key contacts.
With DLA Piper ABBC, ‘there is no bluster, no delays or confusing legalese’; clients have ‘confidence in the decisions taken’. The team advises on procurement, transactions, urbanism, water and waste management, environmental matters, and disputes. Clients include private companies such as EDP Imobiliária and EDP Produção, as well as public, municipal and inter-municipal entities. ‘Very prepared’ practice head Hugo Correia is ‘focused, results oriented, and always looks for the most efficient solution’. Mafalda Ferreira was a new arrival from Uría Menéndez – Proença Carvalho.
Gómez-Acebo & Pombo
Gómez-Acebo & Pombo’s public law expertise lies in large infrastructure PPPs. Ricardo Campos and Paulo Nogueira da Rocha are advising Mota-Engil, Acciona, and Edivisa and Ferrovial / MSF- Barragens, respectively, on the construction of three dams. Albano Sarmento worked with both lawyers on highway PPPs.
Miranda & Associados
Miranda & Associados' team is noted for its 'availability', covering matters that range from assisting administrative entities such as the Shared Services of the Portuguese Government (ESPAP) and of the Health Ministry (SPMS), respectively, to more energy and infrastructure-focused work for clients such as REN, Galp and Ascendi. The former is the responsibility of Luís Oliveira, while João Rosado Correia handles the latter. Pedro Melo joined from PLMJ in February 2019 as department coordinator, and of counsel Sara Castelo Branco was a new arrival from Garrigues Portugal in May 2018.
PRA-Raposo, Sá Miranda & Associados, Sociedade de Advogados RL is noted for its ‘flexibility’ and ‘strong attention to detail’. It advises public entities and concessionaires on tenders and public contracts as well as related disputes. The ‘very talented and smart’ Oporto-based Noel Gomes co-heads the practice with David Coelho in Lisbon, who is ‘very skilful, creative and a capable problem solver’.
Raposo Bernardo provides ‘insightful’ and ‘highly valuable’ advice on administrative disputes, public procurement and other matters. Clients include Menarini Diagnostics and Iceland Air. Senior associate and practice head Manuel Esteves Albuquerque has ‘always creative, but very well supported solutions’.
Andersen Tax and Legal | NGMS – Sociedade de Advogados
Advising public and private entities on public contracts and disputes, Andersen Tax and Legal | NGMS – Sociedade de Advogados continued to represent the Portuguese state in an arbitration initiated by Meo concerning a financial penalty for breach of contract. Gonçalo Mota Nogueira heads the team. Other clients include African Development Bank, Parque EXPO 98, Veolia Environment and ADENE. The firm signed a collaboration agreement with Oporto firm CNA – Curado, Nogueira & Associados in February 2018 .
pbbr - Sociedade de Advogados RL acts for a number of high-profile private and public-sector clients, including Lisgráfica, ISEG, the Public Prosecutors Union (SMMP), Abanca and Mercer. It handles a variety of matters, including administrative disputes and public procurement. Tânia Ferreira Osório is the name to note.