National Central Authorities are the administrative entities, designated by the respective States to execute certain functions under a given international law instrument.
In the field of international judiciary cooperation for the protection of children and youth, the General Directorate of Reintegration and Prison Services (DGRSP) is the designated Portuguese Central Authority.
As Central Authority, DGRSP is competent, through its Legal Affairs and Litigation Cabinet, to ensure the regular compliance with the procedures established under the international law instruments referred to in section International Cooperation for the Promotion and Protection of Children and for the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
The Portuguese Central Authority intervention, takes place whenever it is requested at a national level – acting as the requesting Authority – or whenever it is requested internationally – as requested Central Authority.
The activity of the General Directorate of Reintegration and Prison Services, as requesting or requested Central Authority, fulfills the obligations imposed on the international law instruments, including the duty to cooperate with the other Central Authorities and to promote collaboration between the competent Portuguese authorities, in order to ensure the immediate return of children. In particular, the Portuguese Central Authority must, either directly or through an intermediary, take all appropriate measures to locate a child who has been illegally displaced or detained; prevent further harm to the child or prejudice to the interested parties by taking or having taken provisional measures; ensuring the voluntary return of the child or facilitating a friendly solution; to exchange information on the social situation of the child, if this is considered useful; provide general information relating to the Portuguese law; introduce or favor the opening of a judicial or administrative procedure for the return of the child or, in particular, allowing the organization or effective exercise of rights of access; to agree or facilitate, depending on the circumstances, legal assistance, including the participation of a lawyer and to ensure, on an administrative level, if necessary and appropriate, the safe return of the child.
It should also be borne in mind that, upon request of a central authority of another Member State of the European Union or the holder of parental responsibility, the central authorities cooperate in specific cases in order to meet the objectives of the European Council (EC) Regulation Nº 2201/2003. of 27 November 2003 Concerning Jurisdiction, Recognition and Enforcement of Decisions in Matrimonial Matters and Parental Responsibility, having the obligation, for this purpose, to act directly or through public authorities or other entities, in order to take all appropriate measures, in accordance with the data protection legislation of each Member State, to collect and exchange information on a child's situation, about any ongoing procedure or any decision taken in relation to the child; to provide information and assistance to the holders of parental responsibility seeking recognition and enforcement of decisions in their territory, in particular as regards rights of access and return for the child; to support communication between courts and to facilitate agreements between holders of parental responsibility, through mediation or other means, and to facilitate cross-border cooperation.
In the scope of the promotion and protection of children, the intervention of the Portuguese Central Authority occurs, as requested or requesting Central Authority, whenever a request is submitted and well justified by the foreign Central Authority or by the competent Portuguese authorities (Courts and Commissions for the Promotion and Protection of Children and Youth). In this context, requests for cooperation are addressed by the State with which the child has a substantial connection, to the Central Authority of the State in which the child habitually resides, which may, either directly or through public authorities or other bodies, provide a report on the situation of the child and / or request that the competent authority of that State consider the need to take measures for the protection of the child or the assets of the child.
For more information please contact us at Direção-Geral de Reinserção e Serviços Prisionais