Justice is administered by ordinary and special courts, including a constitutional court; the Supreme Court of Justice in Lisbon, consisting of a president and some 60 judges; five courts of appeal, at Lisbon, Oporto, Coimbra, Évora and Guimarães; courts of first instance in every district; and special courts. The jury system was reintroduced in 1976, but it is used only when requested by either the prosecutor or the defendant.
The judiciary is independent and impartial. Citizens enjoy a wide range of protections of fundamental civil and political rights which are outlined in the constitution with specific reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. An Ombudsman, elected by the Assembly of the Republic (legislature) to a four-year term, serves as the nation's chief civil and human rights officer.
The legal system is based on the civil law system. Portugal accepts compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice with reservations.