About us

Mission and Guiding Principles


Through the debate between ideas, cultures and talents, we create knowledge, innovative practices and we open new paths for the future.

The mission of NOVA School of Law is to enhance the differences and individualities of each student, making diversity a starting point for adapting to the challenges to which the Law responds.

Guiding Principles

1. NOVA School of Law was created to be at the centre of innovation in the development of legal sciences and in the teaching of Law in Portugal through its progress in research, in teaching of new disciplines, in the use of new pedagogical methodologies, and with its goal of responding to new professional training requirements.

2. The mission of NOVA School of Law is to be open to society, to new branches of law and to other social sciences, with specific focus on contemporary changes to public life and its inherent problems. In addition to its traditional research and teaching activities, NOVA School of Law will address the need for developing activities of debate, for collaboration and for dissemination of ideas with other sectors of society. Close relations with the most modern Law Schools in Europe and the United States are priority.

3. NOVA School of Law is committed to reinforcing the idea of ​​an academic community, believing that the professional mission of university law education must develop in balance with other essential functions, both cultural and scientific. From a pedagogical point of view, NOVA School of Law aims to maintain high standards of merit and evaluation.

4. NOVA School of Law, in addition to addressing  the basic legal and non-legal disciplines essential to the training of a lawyer, regards its specific goals to be the investigation and teaching of emerging rights in the following areas:

a) Forensic Law
b) Public Administration Law
c) International Law
d) Corporate Law
e) Social Law

5. Particular attention will be given to “Law Making”, “Law and Economics” and “Critical Law Studies”. 

6. NOVA School of Law will organise large public conferences  on“The State of Justice in Portugal” and “The State of Public Administration in Portugal” on a regular basis.

7. The Bachelor’s Degree in Law at NOVA School of Law adopts a programme of study organised into semesters, divided into three groups of subjects:

a) Introductory subjects – including foundation courses in law, as well as non-legal subjects, essential in understanding the modern world;
b) Foundation subjects – including  the principle legal  subjects essential in the training of all lawyers;
c) Complementary subjects – not only of a  “practical legal interdisciplinary” nature, but also including a wide range of options from which students can choose according to their personal preferences and with the help and guidance of their teachers.

8. There are recommended prerequisites for the degree course.

9. NOVA School of Law has  a teacher training programme which will ensure continuous teacher development for all its teaching staff to address both pedagogical and didactic training.

10. NOVA School of Law has a preference for replacing traditional  theoretical and monologued classes with  sessions based on theoretical-practice and discussion.

11. The programmes and basic bibliography for subjects will be published at the start of each academic year.

12. NOVA School of Law will use new technologies and audio-visual media in its teaching, both of a general and  legal nature (e.g.forensic films).

13. The weekly number of classes per subject will vary, depending on the objective of each class and its effective importance in the training of the jurist.

14. All scheduled classes must be given; exceptionally, in accordance with the school’s regulations, there may be substitutions or additional classes to compensate for absences.

15. The effective teaching of theoretical, theoretical-practical and practical classes is  the responsibility of the teachers, and may not be delegated, except in occasional and exceptional cases, to assistants.

16. As a rule, the distribution of teaching services will follow the principle of rotation in accordance with the Co-ordination.

17. Each teacher will make available their weekly student tutorial schedule.

18. The role of the Pedagogical Council will be honoured.

19. NOVA School of Law will carry out its self-evaluation, including student evaluation of  teachers and courses.

20. The school calendar will be published at the beginning of each school year, setting out the class timetables and exams.

21. Each semester will include 13 weeks of classes. The duration of each class is 1h15m, with a 15 minute break between each two classes.

22. Teaching and assessment will be based on the credit unit system.

23. NOVA School of Law favors  its own system of candidate selection for university education, according to strict criteria of demand and responsibility.

24. The core subjects for  recruitment of  students will be Philosophy and History or Portuguese.

25. The Pedagogic Council will make the necessary arrangements so that students, and in particular those of the 1st year, are subject to special forms of individual monitoring. All teachers will participate in this task of the school.

26. Appropriate measures will be taken to eradicate fraud in exams and tests.

27. NOVA School of Law will be integrated into the main university student exchange programmes with the European Union, Brazil and the United States of America.

28. In all course subjects the final assessment will, as a general rule, consist only of a written or oral exam.

29. At the beginning of each academic year, the Scientific Council, with consideration of each co-ordination proposal, may establish a different method of evaluation of knowledge acquired by the student in each subject. This may consist of a  written exam  and oral exam, or other method considered appropriate to the specific nature of the subject.

30. The influence on the final classification of the evaluation carried out in a given subject shall be defined by the Scientific Council, taking into consideration the proposal of the co-ordination. The Scientific Council shall also determine whether exams of each academic term shall be compulsory or optional.

31. For each course, the co-ordination shall publish the appropriate method of evaluation at the beginning of the course, in accordance with the preceding principles and rules.

32. The re-sit exams for the 1st academic term will be held the following June, and for the 2nd academic term, the following January. There is no further recourse to appeal.

33. NOVA School of Law will publish the statistics of the exams taken annually.

34. NOVA School of Law will grant all academic degrees provided for in the Statutes of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa.

35. NOVA School of Law will organise specific Master’s and PhD programmes, including a taught component, which will be evaluated, and the elaboration of a dissertation (research component).

36. According to the evaluation of the taught component, the candidate will be advised whether to continue their project or not, and to prepare the dissertation accordingly.

37. For the completion of the taught component of a programme, the work done on another programme, whether at a Portuguese or foreign university, may be credited, depending on the classifications obtained and the adequacy of the subjects studied.

38. The Scientific Council will define the rules that govern the preparation of Master’s and Doctoral dissertations, seeking to enhance their qualitative and innovative aspects. The Scientific Council may establish limits to the length of these dissertations.

39. The orientation of Master’s and Doctoral dissertations will be effective and continuous, and candidates having finished the taught component, who are advised to continue with their dissertations, should be especially supported in the preparation phase of their dissertations.

40. Any candidate shall have the right to request, on reasonable grounds, the Scientific Council to replace their advisor.

41. NOVA School of Law will provide the best possible conditions for the regular processing of doctorates, namely in obtaining the necessary support and respecting the established deadlines.

42. NOVA School of Law will pursue an active policy of obtaining scholarships at home and abroad, namely with a view to preparing the doctorate.

43. NOVA School of Law will have a permanent teaching staff, consisting of career teachers, whose activity is research and teaching. This core group of teachers is expected to spend a great part of their time at the Faculty and to participate in the management activities of the institution.

44. When justified, NOVA School of Law will call on professionals of recognised merit in order to ensure its teaching activities, in particular at graduate level. These appointments are temporary in nature and the selection of persons to be invited will follow principles other than those governing the recruitment of career teaching staff.

45. The Faculty will make a clear distinction between degrees and academic titles on the one hand and teaching career posts on the other. It will endeavour to support PhDs and aggregations of high-level candidates, whether or not they are attached to the institution. When recruiting teachers, the best candidates will always be sought regardless of the institution where they obtained their degrees.

46. The academic career begins with recruitment as Assistant Professor. The NOVA School of Law requires that at  this stage, its teaching staff are primarily engaged in graduate studies. Post-graduate students working as assistants will be asked to contribute to a moderate extent, namely to support in the correction of exams, but not for regular teaching functions.

47. The criteria used for career progress will be, in order of importance: published scientific research, pedagogical performance and contribution to the functioning and external recognition of the institution.

48. The Scientific Council will promote active career management, based on regular assessment of each teacher’s performance, giving special emphasis to the personal curriculum developed over time.

49. NOVA School of Law will apply career management policy to its organisational strategy, seeking to ensure the appropriate balance of scientific areas with age, taking into account progressive reinforcement of the requirement criteria.

50. NOVA School of Law will pay special attention to the decision-making processes that involve the establishment of a definitive link to the School, namely ensuring that all relevant information, both on the people involved and on the policies of the institution, will be taken into consideration.

56. NOVA School of Law may render services to the community, within the scope of its scientific and academic capacities, promoting initiatives aimed at the community, and accepting requests for study, training and university extension projects.

57. NOVA School of Law will establish the criteria for the application of the proceeds from the provision of services to the community, taking into account the remuneration of its employees and an appropriate consideration for the development of the School.

58. NOVA School of Law will seek to maintain the best relations of cooperation with other Portuguese law schools, for which it will propose the appropriate protocols and agreements that prove to be mutually convenient.

59. NOVA School of Law will pay considered attention to cooperation with law schools in Portuguese-speaking countries.

60. NOVA School of Law will seek to maintain on an annual basis the exchange of professors with foreign universities.

61. NOVA School of Law will pursue the objective of establishing collaboration programs with foreign law schools, namely North American and European.

62. NOVA School of Law will promote the creation of organisations to support its scientific research activities and to provide services to the community that permanently contribute to the improvement and modernisation of Law.

63. NOVA School of Law will be strict towards its teaching and non-teaching staff with regard to the fulfillment of their respective functional duties, namely in terms of absences, deadlines and schedules, as well as the reception and attendance of students and the public.

64. NOVA School of Law will promote an amicable environment between the various bodies of the School, and particularly amongst the teaching staff and student body.