This is my first post. Given my particular research interests (law and economics, comparative law, judicial behavior), I will focus on legal reform and the impact of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the Portuguese legal system. Two initial quick notes:
(I) As I wrote in a document compiled by Nova, the MoU failed to grasp the complexity of problems faced by the Portuguese legal system. As a consequence, it is technically deficient and potentially counter-productive (for example, eliminating backlogs by June 2012 is simply unfeasible and undermines the credibility of the whole plan). Furthermore, the proposed reform of court districting is based on a clear misunderstanding: Portugal is NOT eliminating 200 courts but rather concentrating the management of such courts, which is a very different issue.
(II) The Portuguese court system is not worse than the Spanish, the Italian, the Greek or the French court systems (probably better according to the numbers produced by the World Bank Governance Indicators and the World Bank’s Doing Business). It is certainly better than most Central and East Europe, Latin America, Africa and China. Blaming the legal system for lack of FDI and economic growth is simply misplaced and a myth that covers other structural determinants. In fact, the inefficiencies of the Portuguese legal system are more likely to impose significant costs to small domestic investors and firms than to foreign investors and multinationals (they use international commercial arbitration anyway).