The Portuguese Parliament has standing
committees (specialised committees with permanent jurisdiction
over specific matters, and which in principle exist in every
legislature), and ad
hoc committees (established for a limited period of time
in order to perform a specific function, culminating in the
presentation of a descriptive report on the committee’s
work, which must include the conclusions to be drawn therefrom).
Each committee may create subcommittees to
look at specific matters that fall within the main committee’s
overall areas of competence, although this does require prior
authorisation by the President of the Assembly of the Republic,
who will first consult the Conference of Parliamentary Committee
Chairmen. Once authorisation has been received from the President
of the Assembly, the subcommittee’s composition and
scope are defined by the committee which created it; and at
the end of its work, the subcommittee’s conclusions
are also submitted to the parent committee.
In addition to subcommittees, committees may
also create working groups for specific, temporary purposes. These
may be of a legislative nature or to follow up the work on
a certain matter.
of inquiry are ad hoc committees bound by specific rules.
Their mission is to scrutinise compliance with the Constitution
and other laws, and to consider the acts of the Government
and the Administration. In addition to complying with the
special rules on their formation, duration and modus operandi,
committees of inquiry enjoy the same investigative powers
as the judicial authorities.