SEAJ at conference marking 20 years of the Justices of the Peace

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The justice of the peace is one of the Government’s areas of commitment, as a means to avoid recourse to traditional courts, to resolve small conflicts quickly, cheaply, and with little bureaucracy.

The Secretary of State Assistant and of Justice participated, this Friday, in the Opening Session of the Commemorative Conference of “20 years of the Courts of Peace”, representing the Minister of Justice.
Jorge Alves Costa highlighted the renewal of the current Government’s commitment to the Courts of Peace, as a means of alternative resolution of disputes compared to traditional courts, which intends to pacify through conciliation and mediation, stressing the intention of the Executive to expand the established network.
A publicity and awareness campaign about alternative means of dispute resolution is also being prepared and should be implemented later this year. The initiative will also include the renovation of the image of the Courts of Peace, with the aim of enhancing the recognition and identification of citizens with this proximity justice response, ensuring that the Courts of Peace are known by all those who may be interested in using their services.
The Courts of Peace are a means of alternative dispute resolution, along with arbitration and mediation, which allows avoiding the use of traditional courts, to resolve small conflicts in a quick, cheap and unbureaucratic way.
They constitute a network of local courts, installed and functioning in close cooperation between the State and the Municipalities, designed to resolve conflicts through simple, appropriate, informal procedures, with absolute economy of procedure, related, namely, to contracts, property and similar situations, and consumer conflicts, among others.
Since they began operating on January 21, 2002 and until the end of the year 2021, the Courts of Peace have received more than 136 thousand cases and concluded around 132 thousand cases.  The numbers are a relevant indicator, demonstrating the importance of this means of alternative dispute resolution
Currently, 25 Justices of the Peace are installed, covering 70 counties and about 35% of the total Portuguese population. In these courts, 31 justices of the peace are in office, as well as 74 mediators in the mediation services of the justices of the peace, according to data from 2022.

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