Portugal / Tribunal Constitucional / Judgment 97/2011 Scope of article 78a (1) of the Constitutional Court Act

Key facts of the case:
 
The situation under review is in the scope of article 78a (1) of the Constitutional Court Act (Lei do Tribunal Constitucional), since a similar question had already been subject to a previous judgment of this Court, Judgment No. 54/2011, available at www.tribunalconstitucional.pt, reason by which a summary judgment was delivered. 
It concerns the interpretation of article 4 (5) of Decree-Law No. 164/99 of 13 May, which created the Guarantee Fund for Child Maintenance (GFCM) (Fundo de Garantia de Alimentos Devidos a Menores, FGADM).
 
The Public Prosecutor (PP) appealed to the Constitutional Court against the refusal of the Braga Family Court (BFC) (Tribunal de Família e Menores de Braga, TFMB) to implement article 4 (5) of Decree-Law No. 164/99 on the grounds of its unconstitutionality. On its judgment, the TFMB ordered the FGADM to pay the monthly amount to which the original debtor was legally bound for the child maintenance, after the recognition that he did not satisfy such obligation. The TFMB determined that the date from which the payments were due by the FGADM was the same as the date of the mother’s application for the Fund intervention.
 
Results (sanctions) and key consequences or implications of the case:
 
The Constitutional Court dismissed the appeal of the PP, considering as unconstitutional, by violation of articles 69 (1) and 63 (1) and (3) of the CRP, the rule included in article 4 (5) of Decree-Law No. 164/99 in the interpretation that the duty of the FGADM to assure the payment of the child maintenance set by court, replacing the debtor, is only effective after the court judgment determining the amount of the payment to be made by this Fund, without the obligation of settling payments related to periods of time prior to that judgment.
Paragraphs referring to EU Charter: 

 

20, 21 (1), 24 (1) and (2), 51 (1), 52 (7) and 53