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High Council of the Public Prosecution Service

The High Council of the Public Prosecution Service/HCPPS is foreseen in the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic [article 220(2)] of the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic/CPR) as integrated in the Prosecutor General’s Office. It is the highest management and disciplinary body, through which both the disciplinary competence and the competence to manage the Public Prosecution Service/PPS staff are exercised [article 15(1) of the Statute of the Public Prosecution Service]. Furthermore, it is incumbent on the HCPPS to appoint, assign, transfer, promote dismiss or remove from office and consider the professional merit of public prosecutors, as well as to take disciplinary action against them except for the Prosecutor General/PG (article 27 of the SPPS). It operates also as appeal body with regard to the decisions taken by the Council of Court Officials in respect of court officials integrated in the PPS career.

The HCPPS is a panel-structured body presided over by the Prosecutor General, being composed of public prosecutors chosen by virtue of their functions (the 4 district deputy prosecutors general), public prosecutors elected from among and by each of the three categories of public prosecutors (1 deputy prosecutor general, 2 district prosecutors and 4 deputy district prosecutors), members elected by the Assembly of the Republic (5) and members designated by the Minister of Justice (2) [article 15(2) of the SPPS].

These characteristics confer democratic legitimacy on the HCPPS and feature it as a body independent from the functional hierarchy.

It operates either in plenary sessions or in sections for matters relating to evaluation, disciplinary action and permanently [articles 26(1), 29 of the SPPS; 168(1) of the Law on the Judicial System Organisation/Law No. 62/2013 of 26 August 2013]. The decisions are made by a majority vote, the Prosecutor General having the casting vote (article 28 of the SPPS).

The Inspection of the Public Prosecution Service operates next to the HCPPS, being entrusted with the collection of information on the service and merit of Public Prosecutors, as well as with investigations and disciplinary proceedings to be carried out in compliance with the decisions of the HCPPS or upon the Prosecutor General’s initiative (articles 34 and 35 of the SPPS).