Whistleblowing Channel Regulation

  • Abreu Advogados has a whistleblowing channel, created before Law no. 93/2021 of 20 December came into force.
  • The aim of setting up this reporting channel was to ensure that Abreu Advogados’ lawyers, solicitors, employees and collaborators had a safe way to report situations of harassment, money laundering and terrorist financing, corruption, discrimination, non-compliance with the law or other situations which, even if not illegal, could jeopardise the culture of compliance with the law, independence, the quality of the services provided, the reputation of Abreu Advogados and the healthy coexistence between all the members of its professional structure.
  • With the implementation of Law no. 93/2021, of 20 December, and without prejudice to the fact that Abreu Advogados’ whistleblowing channel is already in operation, it is important, on one hand, to adapt the pre-existing channel to the legal requirements set out therein and, on the other hand, to ensure that the channel continues to operate, even in the case of complaints that go beyond the scope of Law no. 93/2021, of 20 December, as has been the case until now.
  • At the same time, the implementation of Decree-Law no. 109-E/2021, of 9 December, which created the National Anti-Corruption Mechanism and established the General Regime for the Prevention of Corruption, determined, in its article 8, no. 1, that the entities subject to that legal diploma should implement reporting channels, aimed at reporting offences related to corruption, which, under the terms of article 3, of the General Regime for the Prevention of Corruption, which is part of the Annex to the aforementioned Decree-Law, include the following crimes: corruption, undue receipt and offer of an advantage, embezzlement, economic participation in business, concussion, abuse of power, prevarication, influence peddling, money laundering or fraud in obtaining or diverting a subsidy, grant or credit, as set out in the Penal Code, approved in the Annex to Decree-Law no. 48/95, of 15 March, in its current wording, in Law no. 34/87, of 16 July, in its current wording, in the Code of Military Justice, approved in annex to Law no. 100/2003, of 15 November, in Law no. 50/2007, of 31 August, in its current wording, in Law no. 20/2008, of 21 April, in its current wording, and in Decree-Law no. 28/84, of 20 January, in its current wording.
  • This Regulation is intended to clarify the rules governing its operation for all members of the professional structure of Abreu Advogados and will apply regardless of the type of contractual relationship between Abreu Advogados and each of these members, regardless of the position held, establishing the rules applicable to Abreu Advogados’ internal whistleblowing channel, including the rules relating to its communication, as well as the procedures applicable to its reception, processing and archiving.
  • For the purposes described in the previous paragraph, the Supervisory and Compliance Committee of Abreu Advogados is responsible for managing the whistleblowing channel, including the record of the communications received, processing them, investigating the respective processes, and taking the final decision on the adoption of pertinent measures or closing the case, under the terms described below.


Article 2


  • The procedures applicable to the whistleblowing channel are designed to ensure that complaints are received, processed and filed in an exhaustive, independent, autonomous, confidential and impartial manner, excluding from the investigation and decision-making process anyone who has a conflicting interest in the matter being reported.
  • All communications must be made according to the principle of good faith, with adequate justification.
  • Deliberate, recurrent and unfounded use of the complaints channel may constitute a disciplinary, civil or criminal offence.
  • The whistleblower may request anonymity and must indicate that   when submitting the complaint.
  • Anonymity does not prevent the submission of documentation supporting the facts reported, which must be submitted when the complaint is presented.
  • Anonymity does not prevent the whistleblower from being contacted to obtain information relevant to establishing the facts and keeping a documentary record of all interactions with the whistleblower, which must be kept confidential.


Article 3


  • The completeness, integrity and preservation of the complaint (made in writing using the complaint channel form or the e-mail address [email protected]), as well as the confidentiality of the identity and other personal data of the whistleblower, the reported party and third parties mentioned in the complaint, as well as the confidentiality of the communications received, are guaranteed.
  • Even if the whistleblower does not wish to remain anonymous, their identity will remain known only to the people responsible for receiving and following up on the complaint.
  • The confidentiality of communications will be ensured by all the people responsible for the operational management of the mechanisms and the procedures for receiving, processing and archiving of these communications. Confidentiality will always be guaranteed, except in situations where the disclosure of information and/or the identity of those involved is required under the terms of the applicable legislation, within the scope of other investigations by competent authorities or subsequent legal proceedings, within the scope of which Abreu Advogados is notified to provide such information.
  • Confidentiality of identity does not prevent the whistleblower from being contacted with a view to obtaining information relevant to establishing the facts, and a documentary record is kept of all interactions.


Article 4


  1. For the purpose of this Regulation, the whistleblowing channel may be used to report intentional or negligent acts and omissions attributable to lawyers, solicitors, employees, former employees, workers, former workers, volunteers and trainees, paid or unpaid, service providers, contractors, subcontractors and suppliers, members of statutory bodies, including non-executive members, and anyone who has participated in recruitment processes at Abreu Advogados or in any negotiations that have not culminated in the conclusion of a contract, in the following areas:
  2. Public procurement;
  3. Financial services, products and markets and the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing;
  4. Product safety and compliance;
  5. Transport safety;
  6. Environmental protection;
  7. Radiation protection and nuclear safety;
  8. Food and feed safety, animal health and animal welfare;
  9. Public health;
  10. Consumer defence;
  11. Protection of privacy and personal data and security of the network and information systems;
  12. An act or omission contrary to and detrimental to the financial interests of the European Union referred to in Article 325 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), as specified in the applicable European Union measures;
  13. Act or omission contrary to the internal market rules referred to in Article 26(2) of the TFEU, including competition and state aid rules, as well as corporate tax rules;
  14. An act or omission that contradicts the purpose of the rules or regulations covered by any of the preceding paragraphs.
  15. Violent, especially violent and highly organised crime, as well as the crimes provided for in Article 1(1) of Law no. 5/2002, of 11 January, which establishes measures to combat organised and economic-financial crime;
  16. Crimes of unduly offering an advantage, punishable under the terms of Article 372(2) of the Penal Code;
  17. Crimes of fraud in obtaining a subsidy or grant, punishable under the terms of article 36 of Decree-Law no. 28/84 of 20 January;
  18. In addition to the provisions of article 2, no. 1, of Law no. 93/2021, of 20 December, Abreu Advogados’ whistleblowing channel must be used to report, in particular: (i) harassment, in any of its forms; (ii) acts of discrimination/retaliation; (iii) non-compliance with rules or regulations; (iv) non-compliance with internal procedures and (iv) violation of rules to prevent conflicts of interest.


Article 5


  • Anyone who reports or publicly discloses an offence on the basis of information obtained in the course of their professional activity, regardless of the nature of this activity and the sector in which it is carried out, is considered a whistleblower.
  • For the purposes of the previous paragraph, the following may be considered whistleblowers:
  1. The lawyers, solicitors, employees and collaborators of Abreu Advogados;
  2. Service providers, contractors, subcontractors and suppliers, as well as any people acting under their supervision and direction;
  3. Holders of shares representing the share capital of Abreu Advogados, persons belonging to the administrative or management bodies or to the supervisory or oversight bodies of Abreu Advogados, including non-executive members;
  4. Volunteers and trainees, paid or unpaid;
  • The fact that the complaint or public disclosure of an offence is based on information obtained in a professional, service provision or commercial relationship that has since ended, as well as during a recruitment process that has not culminated in a contract or during the pre-contractual negotiation phase of any type of legal relationship in which Abreu Advogados has taken part, shall not prevent the status of whistleblower from being recognised.


Article 6


The people referred to in no. 2 of the previous article have the duty to immediately report to the Supervision and Compliance Committee of Abreu Advogados any irregularity of which they become aware or which may reasonably be expected to be committed, regardless of the existence of means of proof, namely documentary evidence.


Article 7


  • Under the terms of Law no. 93/2021, of 20 December, it is forbidden to carry out acts of retaliation against the whistleblower.
  • An act of retaliation is an act or omission that, directly or indirectly, and even if in the form of a threat or mere attempt, occurs in the context of the professional activity carried out at Abreu Advogados, motivated by an internal or external complaint or public disclosure, and which is capable of causing the complainant, in an unjustified manner, pecuniary or non-pecuniary damage.
  • Threats and attempts at the acts and omissions referred to in the previous paragraph are also considered acts of retaliation.
  • The following acts are presumed to be motivated by an internal or external complaint or public disclosure until proven otherwise when carried out within two years of the complaint or public disclosure of the facts:
    1. Changes to working conditions or the provision of services, such as changes to duties, working hours, place of work or remuneration, non-promotion of the lawyer, solicitor, employee or collaborator or breach of labour duties imposed on Abreu Advogados;
    2. Suspension or termination of an employment or service contract promoted by Abreu Advogados;
    3. Negative performance appraisal or negative reference for the purposes of new job placement;
    4. Non-conversion of a fixed-term labour contract into an open-ended contract, where the employee had legitimate expectations of such conversion;
    5. Non-renewal of a fixed-term employment contract;
    6. Dismissal;
    7. Inclusion on a list, based on a sector-wide agreement, which could lead to the whistleblower being unable to find a job in the sector or industry concerned in the future;
    8. Settlement of contracts with third parties promoted by Abreu Advogados.
  • The disciplinary sanction applied to the whistleblower up to two years after the complaint or public disclosure is presumed to be abusive until proven otherwise.
  • Anyone who commits an act of retaliation incurs the duty to compensate the complainant for the damage caused.
  • Irrespective of any civil liability, the whistleblower may request the appropriate legal measures to inhibit or stop acts of retaliation.
  • Whistleblowers are generally entitled to legal protection under the terms of Law 34/2004 of 29 July.
  • Whistleblowers can benefit, under general terms, from measures for the protection of witnesses in criminal proceedings provided for in Law 93/99 of 14 July.
  • Without prejudice to the provisions of the preceding paragraphs and any civil and/or criminal liability that may arise, the conduct of those who report with manifest falsehood or bad faith, as well as those who breach the duty of confidentiality, may lead to disciplinary sanctions being applied for such reasons.


Article 8


  • Irregularities can be reported in writing and sent to:
  1. to the Supervision and Compliance Committee of Abreu Advogados, using the following e-mail address [email protected]
  2. through the “Whistleblowing Channel“, accessible at https://backoffice.abreuadvogados.com/whistleblowing
  • The complainant must give as exhaustive and objective a description as possible of the facts supporting the irregularity(ies) reported.
  • The whistleblower can attach documentation to this communication that supports the facts reported.


Article 9


  • Once the complaint has been received, a preliminary analysis will be carried out to determine whether the facts complained of relate to the matters and offences referred to in Article 4 of this Regulation.
  • The author of the complaint, regardless of how it is made, always receives a confirmation of reception. This confirmation does not imply that an investigation will be opened.
  • If, following the preliminary analysis referred to in number 1 of this article, it is concluded that the facts complained of relate to the matters and offences referred to in article 4 of this Regulation, an investigation will be opened.
  • The whistleblower will be notified of the reception of the complaint within seven days of receiving it, and will also be informed, in a clear and accessible manner, in cases where the object of the complaint may constitute a crime or administrative offence punishable by a fine of more than €50.000,00, of the requirements, competent authorities, form and admissibility of the external complaint, under the terms of articles 7(2)(e), 12 and 14 of Law 93/2021 of 20 December.
  • Additional information may be requested from the whistleblower, while their anonymity is guaranteed in all interactions made for this purpose, in situations where the whistleblower has requested such protection when submitting the complaint.
  • Within a maximum period of 3 months from reception of the complaint, the Supervision and Compliance Committee must notify the whistleblower of the measures envisaged, which must include an indication of the conclusions.
  • The whistleblower may request at any time that the Supervision and Compliance Committee inform him/her of the result of the analysis carried out on the complaint within 15 days of its conclusion.
  • The process for dealing with irregularities will be different depending on whether they relate to harassment and discrimination or of a different nature. It is the responsibility of the Supervision and Compliance Committee, in conjunction with the Human Resources Department of Abreu Advogados, to handle reports of irregularities relating to harassment and discrimination.
  • The handling of reports of other types of irregularities is the sole responsibility of the Supervisory and Compliance Committee.
  • The investigation may result in the need for communication or denunciation to the competent authorities, which will be assessed in a reasoned opinion by the Supervisory and Compliance Committee and decided by the Executive Committee.
  • When the case is closed, the whistleblower will be informed.
  • All complaints will be analysed and investigation reports drawn up, and if the case does not proceed to the investigation stage, a reasoned report will be drawn up indicating the measures taken or the justification for not taking any measures.
  • A record will be kept for each case, which will include an indication of the measures taken or the justification for not taking any measures. The results of investigations into irregularities are reported to the Executive Committee, always safeguarding the confidentiality of the participant’s identity and, where appropriate, their anonymity.

Article 10


  • The Supervision and Compliance Committee ensures the confidentiality of any complaints, communications it sends or receives from the whistleblower, as well as all reports, records and opinions it produces.
  • These documents will be kept on a durable medium that allows the information to be reproduced in full, for a period of five years and, regardless of this period, during the pendency of judicial or administrative proceedings relating to the complaint.
  • When the complaint concerns matter related to Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, the communications made and the reports to which they give rise shall be kept for a period of seven years.


Article 11


  • The information communicated under the irregularity reporting procedures will be used exclusively for the purposes set out in this Regulation, in strict compliance with the provisions of the Personal Data Protection legislation.
  • Supporting documentation and data collected during the preliminary analysis and investigation must be stored confidentially and securely. Security measures will be adopted in the storage of information to restrict access to authorised persons only.


Article 13


This document will be implemented on 14 December 2023.


Approved by the Board of Directors of Abreu Advogados on 13 December 2023.