Supreme Court clarifying judgment on the necessary efforts to notify defendants.

On February 16, 2021, the Supreme Court issued Ruling 81/2021, which analyses and clarifies those aspects which are considered correct and sufficient to hold that the necessary efforts have been made to notify a defendant in the case of an eviction lawsuit; it can be transposed to civil suits in general.

In practice, it is relatively common for defendants not being physically notified, and thus sometimes pleas of nullity are introduced because the defendant appears after the default judgment and alleges that no attempt was made to notify them properly, requesting that the entire lawsuit be repeated.

In this case, which is based on the situation described above, the Supreme Court indicates that it must be established whether the plaintiff exercised proper diligence, not extraordinary diligence, to notify the defendant. For this purpose, it is considered sufficient that notice has been attempted at the address indicated in the contract and that an address inquiry has been made by the court. The Court further holds that contacting by telephone would only be applicable if it is clear that the plaintiff knows the relevant number.

This is a useful and interesting sentence as a guide to knowing the efforts necessary to notify the defendant in any type of legal proceeding, not only eviction.

Antoni Faixó
Dispute Resolution Area