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Fiches Belges: Portugal

Superficial body search (301)



Is this measure possible in your Member State under International Judicial Cooperation?

Yes. A superficial body search is ordered where there is evidence that a person has concealed on his/her person objects relating to a criminal offence or which may be used to commit a criminal offence or can be used as evidence.



International legal framework applicable for this measure in your Member State

Convention of 29 May 2000 on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters between the Member States of European Union and Convention of the Application of the Schengen Agreements.



* receive the request/decision for judicial cooperation

The Public Prosecution Offices.

* execute/recognise the measure (if other than the receiving authority)

Criminal Police Bodies.



Accepted languages for the request/decision

Portuguese or French.



Deadlines for the execution of the request/decision (where applicable)

There is no deadline for the execution of the request. However, according to the Portuguese Criminal Procedure law, the superficial body search order has a maximum validity period of thirty days.



a. Special requirements

Requests for mutual assistance addressed to Portugal are processed in accordance with the fundamental principles of Portuguese law. However where another State expressly requests it or there is an agreement, treaty or international convention to that effect, the mutual assistance may be granted in accordance with the legislation of that State, as long as it is not incompatible with the fundamental principles of Portuguese law and does not seriously endanger those involved in the procedure. These measures are ordered by the competent judicial authority, which should, as far as possible, supervise their implementation. Criminal investigation bodies may carry out searches without the prior authorization of the judicial authority in cases of: (a) terrorism and violent or highly organized crime, in an emergency or where people are in danger, or: (b) where the person concerned has given express consent, or: (c) where a person is caught in the act of committing an offence punishable by imprisonment, and: (d) may carry out searches on suspects who threaten to escape, where there is serious reason to believe that they are hiding on their person objects relating to a criminal offence which may be used in evidence and which might otherwise be lost, and (e) may carry out searches on persons required or wishing to take part in procedural acts where there is reason to believe that they are concealing weapons or other objects with which they may commit violence. In the cases set out in (a), (d) and (e) above, the procedure will be declared invalid unless the examining magistrate is immediately informed of the measures taken so that he can decide whether they are valid. Except in the aforementioned special cases, before a body search is carried out, the person concerned is given a copy of the decision ordering the search, which states that the person may indicate a person he/she trusts to be present during the procedure. The body search must respect the dignity of the person and, where possible, the exposure of that person.

b. Other useful information

The Minister of Justice may authorize the participation of foreign judicial authorities and criminal police in criminal proceedings to be carried out in the Portuguese territory. Participation is authorized under compliance of the reciprocity condition and only by way of assistance to the Portuguese judicial authorities or criminal police concerned in the proceedings, whose presence and direction is mandatory in all cases.

Last reviewed on 6 July 2016 by EJN Secretariat
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