Author(s) Catarina Gomes Pedra
Advisor(s) Elizabeth Fernandez
Year 2014

Synopsis The present dissertation focuses on the declarations of the parties in the Portuguese Code of Civil Procedure of 2013. Since the analysis of this means of proof fits into a more general theme, which is the use of procedural mechanisms to put questions to the parties, we will start with a broad historic and comparative overview of the different mechanisms of party interrogation. This research will focus on the testimonial disqualification of the parties to a judicial proceeding, focusing on both the arguments usually mentioned to refuse parties the right to testify and how it was subsequently overcome in several legal systems. After a description of the regulation on party interrogation in Portuguese civil procedure law until the latest reform of 2013, it will be shown that the exclusion of the party testimony obstructs the pursuit of truth and it does not fit into a system in which evidence is freely evaluated by the judge. The new Portuguese Code of Civil Procedure codified a new means of proof that allows parties to be heard by the court orally regarding those facts they have intervened personally or have direct knowledge, regardless of its favorable or unfavorable character. It will be argued that parties did not become qualified to testify as witnesses, so this is not a party testimony. However, this means of proof represents an overcoming of the nemo debet esse testis in propria causa principle and it is an important instrument to establish the facts truthfully, which is necessary to the resolution of the case.

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