The Portuguese Arbitration Association was founded on 27 March 2006 by a group of leading academics, lawyers and magistrates. According to its bylaws, the Association aims to "foster domestic and international arbitration as a jurisdictional method to resolve disputes regarding disposable rights, as well as to promote its use in the national territory".
In setting up this Association, the founding members consider that arbitration presents itself is a viable alternative to state justice system, which is not able to ensure the speed, the adequacy and the predictability required by day-to-day legal affairs, in particular in contractual relationships. The promotion of arbitration is hence of the utmost importance to relieve the overload of state courts, providing fairer and swifter decisions for legal disputes.
Among the means available to APA, under its bylaws, to achieve its goal, the following should be highlighted:
Disseminating of arbitration and its advantages as a method of resolving disputes;
Establishing codes of conduct applicable to arbitrators;
Preparing suggestions or proposals to amend the legislation regarding arbitration;
Cooperating with universities and professional associations in the organization of courses or seminars on arbitration;
Promoting the competitive advantages of Portugal as a seat for international arbitration; and
Organizing colloquiums, congresses, conferences or other events related to arbitration.
The participation by members in APA activities is done, in particular, through the Councils. Currently, the following Councils are in place and operational: Publications Council, Ethics Council, Council for Commercial Arbitration Practice, Public Law Arbitration Council, Investment Arbitration Council and Under 40 Council.
Individuals or legal entities may be admitted, if invited by the Board or by submitting an application, sponsored by two members, on the condition that they show interest in participating in the pursuit of the goals of the Association.