Portugal: Public Procurement

This country-specific Q&A provides an overview of Public Procurement laws and regulations applicable in Portugal.

  1. Please summarise briefly any relationship between the public procurement / government contracting laws in your jurisdiction and those of any supra-national body (such as WTO GPA, EU, UNCITRAL).

  2. What types of public procurement / government contracts are regulated in your jurisdiction and what procurement regimes apply to these types of procurements? In addition to any central government procurement regime please address the following: regulated utilities procurement regime (e.g. water, gas, electricity, coal, oil, postal services, telecoms, ports, airports), military procurements, non-central government (local, state or prefectures) and any other relevant regime. Please provide the titles of the statutes/regulations that regulate such procurements.

  3. Are there specified financial thresholds at which public procurement regulation applies in your jurisdiction? Does the financial threshold differ depending on the nature of procurement (i.e. for goods, works or services) and/or the sector (public, utilities, military)? Please provide all relevant current thresholds in your jurisdiction. Please also explain briefly any rules on the valuation of a contract opportunity.

  4. Are procurement procedures below the value of the financial thresholds specified above subject to any regulation in your jurisdiction? If so, please summarise the position.

  5. For the procurement of complex contracts*, how are contracts publicised? What publication, journal or other method of publicity is used for these purposes? What is the typical period from the publication of the advert that bidders have to respond to the advert for a complex contract?

  6. For the procurement of complex contracts, where there is an initial selection stage before invitation to tender documents are issued, what are typical grounds for the selection of bidders? If there are differences in methodology between different regulated sectors (for example between how a utility might undertake a regulated procurement procedure and how a government department might do so), please summarise those differences.

  7. Does your jurisdiction mandate that certain bidders are excluded from tendering procedures (e.g. those with convictions for bribery)? If so, what are those grounds of mandatory exclusion? Are there any notable features of how this operates in your jurisdiction e.g. central registers of excluded suppliers? Does your jurisdiction specify discretionary grounds of exclusion? If so, what are those grounds of discretionary exclusion?

  8. Please describe a typical procurement procedure for a complex contract. Please summarise the rules that are applicable in such procedures. Please include a timeline that includes the key stages of the process, including an estimation for the total length of the procedure.

  9. If different from the approach for a complex contract, please describe how a relatively low value contract would be procured. (For these purposes, please assume the contract in question exceeds the relevant threshold for application of the procurement regime by less than 50%)

  10. What is seen as current best practice in terms of the processes to be adopted over and above ensuring compliance with the relevant regime, taking into account the nature of the procurement concerned?

  11. Please explain any rules which are specifically applicable to the evaluation of bids.

  12. Please describe any rights that unsuccessful bidders have that enable them to receives the reasons for their score and (where applicable in your jurisdiction) the reasons for the score of the winning bidder. Are regulated procuring bodies required to provide these reasons for their award decision before awarding the contract in question?

  13. What remedies are available to unsuccessful bidders in your jurisdiction? In what circumstances (if any) might an awarded contract be terminated due to a court's determination that procurement irregularity has occurred?

  14. Are public procurement law challenges common in your jurisdiction? Is there a perception that bidders that make challenges against public bodies suffer reputational harm / harm to their prospects in future procurement competitions? If so, please provide brief comment. Assuming a full hearing is necessary (but there are no appeals), how much would a typical procurement claim cost: (i) for the defendant and (ii) for the claimant?

  15. Typically, assuming a dispute concerns a complex contract, how long would it take for a procurement dispute to be resolved in your jurisdiction (assuming neither party is willing to settle its case). Please summarise the key stages and typical duration for each stage.

  16. What rights/remedies are given to bidders that are based outside your jurisdiction? Are foreign bidders' rights/remedies the same as those afforded to bidders based within your jurisdiction? To what extent are those rights dependent on whether the host state of the bidder is a member of a particular international organisation (i.e. GPA or EU)?

  17. Where an overseas-based bidder has a subsidiary in your territory, what are the applicable rules which determine whether a bid from that bidder would be given guaranteed access to bid for the contract? Would such a subsidiary be afforded the same rights and remedies as a nationally owned company bidding in your jurisdiction?

  18. In your jurisdiction is there a specialist court or tribunal with responsibility for dealing with public procurement issues? In what circumstances will it have jurisdiction over a public procurement claim?

  19. Are post-award contract amendments/variations to publically procured, regulated contracts subject to regulation in your jurisdiction? Are changes to the identity of the supplier (for example through the disposal of a business unit to a new owner or a sale of assets in an insolvency situation) permitted in your jurisdiction?

  20. How common are direct awards for complex contracts (contract awards without any prior publication or competition)? On what grounds might a procuring entity seek to make a direct award? On what grounds might such a decision be challenged?

  21. Have your public procurement rules been sufficiently flexible to allow contracting authorities to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic? What measures have been most used and in what areas have any difficulties arisen? How have these evolved since 2020 and is it likely that lessons learned from procurement during this period will give rise to longer term changes?