Legislation

Law 24/ 2009, of 29th May

(In force since 1st June 2009)

 

Juridical Regime of the National Ethics Council for the Life Sciences

 

The General Assembly decrees the following, under the terms of paragraph c) of article 161 of the Constitution:

 

Article 1

Object

 

The present law stipulates the juridical regime of the National Ethics Council for the Life Sciences.

 

Article 2

Nature and mission

 

The National Ethics Council for the Life Sciences, abbreviated as CNECV, is an independent consulting body that works with the Parliament and whose mission is to analyze the ethical issues raised by scientific progress in the fields of biology, medicine or health in general and in the life sciences.

 

Article 3

Competences of the CNECV

 

1 – The CNECV must:

a) Systematically follow-up the evolution of ethical issues raised by scientific progress in the fields of biology, medicine or health in general and in the life sciences;

 

b) Issue opinions on the issues pertaining to the previous paragraph, when such is requested under the terms of article 6 or by its initiative;

 

c) Present an annual report to the Parliament on the state of application of new technologies to human life and respective implications of ethical and social nature, formulating the recommendations it deems convenient;

 

d) Promote the training as well as raising awareness of the population in general about the ethical issues in the fields of the life sciences, through its initiative or in collaboration with other public, social or private entities, namely by holding conferences periodically or publicly presenting the most important issues that have been submitted for their analysis;

 

e) Ensure the national representation in international meetings of counterparts;

 

f) Release its activities, opinions and publications, for which it has its own editorial facilities;

 

g) Set up a report on its activity at the end of each calendar year, to be sent to the President of the Republic, the President of the Parliament and the Prime-Minister, and to release in the respective site on the Internet.

 

2 – The CNECV may delegate, wholly or partially, the competences referred to in the previous number to the steering committee as laid out in No. 2 of article 5, with the exception of those laid out in paragraph b) of the previous number.

 

Article 4

Composition

 

1 – The CNECV has the following composition:

 

a) Six persons of acknowledged merit who will assure special qualification in ethical reflection raised by the life sciences, elected by Parliament according to the method of Hondt’s highest-average rule; this election also provides for six substitutes;

 

b) Nine persons of acknowledged merit who will assure special qualification in the realm of bioethical issues, appointed by the Medical Association, Nurses’ Association, Biologists’ Association, Bar Association, Pharmacists Association, Council of Deans of the Portuguese Universities, the Lisbon Academy of Sciences, the Medical-Legal Council of the National Institute of Forensic Medicine, Public Institute, upon consulting the respective technical-scientific committee and the Foundation for Science and Technology, Public Institute;

 

c) Three persons of acknowledged scientific merit in the fields of biology, medicine or health in general and of the life sciences and two persons of acknowledged scientific merit in the fields of law, sociology or philosophy, all appointed by resolution of the Council of Ministers.

 

2 – The mandate of the CNECV members is independent of that of the entities that appointed them and is valid for five years, which cannot be renewed more than once.

 

3 – The mandate of the CNECV members begins by taking office before the President of the Parliament.

 

4 – The CNECV elects, among its members, a president and a vice-president, the latter substituting the president in his/her absence or impediments.

 

5 – The CNECV members are independent in the exercise of their functions and do not represent the entities that elected or appointed them.

 

Article 5

Functioning

 

1 – The CNECV stipulates the discipline of its functioning through an internal regulation.

 

2 – The CNECV elects, among its members, a steering committee, with an executive nature and of permanent basis.

 

3 – The steering committee comprises two personalities of each category of the personalities mentioned in No. 1 of the previous article.

 

4 – The steering committee is presided by the CNECV president and also integrates the vice-president.

 

5 – The steering committee tasks are to:

a) Follow up on the administrative and financial management of the CNECV;

b) Exercise the competences that have been delegated on it by the plenary session.

 

6 – By decision of the plenary session, specialized committees may be appointed to analyze specific issues.

 

Article 6

Issuing opinions

 

1 – The following may request opinions of the CNECV:

 

a) The President of the Republic;

b) The Parliament, by initiative of its President, a committee or a twentieth of the Parliament members in full exercise of their office;

c) Government members;

d) All other entities with the right to appoint members;

e) Public or private centres where practices are carried out with ethical implications in the fields of biology, medicine or health.

 

2 – Upon safeguarding the situations of confidentiality laid out by law, the CNECV opinions are public and must be made available on the respective internet site.

 

3 – The CNECV may consult the persons and entities it deems necessary to issue its opinions.

 

Article 7

Administrative and financial support

 

1 – The administrative, logistics and financial support necessary for the CNECV functioning, as well as its establishment, are assured by the sums registered on its annual budget, which is included in the Parliament budget.

 

2 – Notwithstanding the duty to cooperate by the Parliament library and the documental support of public services, the CNECV has a documentation centre to support its functioning.

 

3 – To ensure the exercise of its competences, the CNECV may receive, according to its budget availability, its own support services under the terms to be stipulated by resolution of the Parliament.

 

4 – The CNECV is supported by an executive secretary, who is responsible for:

 

a) Secretarial work of the CNECV, preparing minutes of the meetings;

b) Ensure the good organization and functioning of the support services;

c) Prepare the annual report project.

 

Article 8

Administrative and financial management

 

1 – The CNECV has administrative autonomy and has income from provisions registered in the Parliament budget, which are attributed to it by the State Budget.

 

2 – The CNECV also has income from its editorial activity and the accomplishment of training actions or conferences, as well as any other income which by law, contract or other means are attributed to it.

 

3 – The CNECV expenses are those deriving from costs of carrying out its designated competences.

 

4 – The CNECV president must ensure the respective administrative and financial management and present to the Parliament secretary-general the annual CNECV budget.

 

Article 9

Fee statutes

 

The CNECV members are entitled to attendance fees to the amount to be defined by order of the Parliament President, for each meeting they participate in, as well as allowances and transport costs, under the terms of the general law.

 

Article 10

Final and transitory provisions

 

1 – Up to the swearing into office of the new CNECV members appointed under the terms of the current law, the members appointed under the terms of the previous legislation remain in office, as well as support personnel in office.

 

2 – The 2009 Parliament budget is reinforced by the State Budget sums necessary for the financial and logistics sustainability of the CNECV.

 

Article 11

Repeal

 

Law No. 14/90, of 9th June, is hereby repealed.

 

Article 12

Date of entry into force

 

The current law comes into force on the 1st day of the month following its publication.

 

 

 

Approved on 27th March 2009.

The President of the Parliament, Jaime Gama.

Promulgated on 19th May 2009.

To be published.

The President of the Republic, Aníbal Cavaco Silva.

Subject to referendum on 20th May 2009.

The Prime-Minister, José Sócrates Carvalho Pinto de Sousa.

 

 

Law No. 14/90, of 9th June

(REPEALED – Law No. 24/2009, of 29th May)

 

National Ethics Council for the Life Sciences

 

The Parliament decrees the following, under the terms of articles 164, paragraph d) and 169, No. 3 of the Constitution:

 

Article 1

 

The National Ethics Council for the Life Sciences is an independent body that works with the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, hereafter abbreviated as Council.

 

Article 2

Competence

 

1 – The Council is responsible for, namely:

a) Systematically analyzing the moral issues raised by scientific progress in the fields of biology, medicine or health in general;

b) Issuing opinions on the issues referred to in the previous paragraph, when requested of it under the terms of article 7;

c) Presenting a report to the Prime-Minister, annually, on the state of application of new technologies to human life and respective implications of ethical and social nature, putting forward the recommendations it deems convenient.

 

2 – The Council may delegate, wholly or partially, the competences referred to in the previous number to the steering committee as laid out in article 5.

 

Article 3

Composition

 

1 – Besides the president, appointed by the Prime-Minister, the Council comprises the following members:

a) Six personalities of acknowledged merit in the fields of human and social sciences, who have demonstrated a special interest and commitment for the ethical issues;

b) Six personalities of acknowledged merit in the fields of medicine or biology with implications of ethical nature;

c) Six personalities of acknowledged technical quality and moral integrity, bearing in mind the main ethical and religious streams;

d) Two personalities of acknowledged merit in fields connected to bioethical issues.

 

2 – The personalities referred to in paragraph a) of No. 1 are appointed by the following entities:

a) Minister responsible for the field of science and higher education;

b) Minister responsible for the field of justice;

c) Minister responsible for the field of education;

d) Minister responsible for the field of youth;

e) Bar Association;

f) Committee for Equality and Women’s Rights.

 

3 – The personalities referred to in paragraph b) of No. 1 are appointed by the following entities:

a) Minister responsible for the field of health;

b) Medical Association;

c) Biologists’ Association;

d) Lisbon Academy of Sciences;

e) Foundation for Science and Technology;

f) National Council of Forensic Medicine.

 

4 – The personalities referred to in paragraph c) of No. 1 are appointed by the Parliament, according to the proportional system.

 

5 – The personalities referred to in paragraph d) of No. 1 are appointed by the following entities:

a) Minister of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, upon proposal of the organizations with national scope which are representative of the activities connected to bioethics;

b) Council of Deans of the Portuguese Universities.

 

(Layout introduced by Law No. 9/2003, of 13th May)

 

Article 4

Term of mandate

 

1 – The mandate of the Council members is independent of that of the entities that appointed them and is valid for five years.

2 – The mandate begins by taking office before the Prime-Minister.

3 – Up to the appointment of new members appointed by the entities stipulated in article 3, the members previously appointed shall remain in office.

 

(Layout introduced by Law No. 9/2003, of 13th May)

 

Article 5

Steering committee

 

1 – The Council shall elect, among its members, a steering committee, with an executive nature and of permanent basis.

2 – The steering committee shall comprise three personalities referred to in paragraph c) of No. 1 of article 3, three members of each of the groups referred to in paragraphs a) and b) of No. 1 of the same article and one member of the group referred to in paragraph d) of No. 1 of the same article.

3 – The steering committee shall be presided by the Council president.

 

Article 6

Competence

 

The steering committee is responsible for, namely:

a) Issuing opinions in the scope of the general orientations defined by the Council;

b) Exercising the competences delegated on it under the terms of No. 2 of article 2.

 

Article 7

Requests for an opinion

 

The following may request opinions of the Council:

a) The President of the Republic;

b) The Parliament, by initiative of its President or a twentieth of the Parliament members in full exercise of their office;

c) Government members;

d) All other entities with the right to appoint members;

e) Public or private centres where techniques are carried out with ethical implications in the fields of biology, medicine or health.

 

Article 8

Internal regulation

 

The Council shall establish, in an internal regulation, the discipline of its functioning and the conditions of publicizing its opinions.

 

Article 9

Administrative support

 

1 – The costs pertaining to the functioning of the Council are covered by budget provision attributed to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers.

2 – The administrative support which is indispensible for the functioning of the Council, as well as its establishment, shall also be assured by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers.

3 – The Council is supported by an executive secretary, freely appointed and exonerated by the president, with a salary like that of a personal secretary of the ministerial offices, who is responsible for secretarial support of the Council meetings and preparing the minutes of the meetings, as well as carrying out the remaining administrative tasks attributed.

 

(No. 3 appended by Decree-Law No. 193/99, of 7th June)

 

Article 10

Attendance fees, allowances and transport costs

 

Council members shall have the right to attendance fees, to an amount to be defined by joint order of the Prime-Minister and the Minister of Finance, for each meeting they participate in as well as allowances and transport costs, under the terms of the general law.

 

Article 11

Conference

 

Bearing in mind the preparation and sensitivity of public opinion towards ethical issues in the scope of the life sciences, the Council may promote periodical conferences and publicly present the most important issues that will have been submitted for its analysis.

 

Article 12

Documentation centre

 

A documentation centre shall be created as a support to the functioning of the Council, notwithstanding the duty to cooperate by the Parliament Library and the documental support of public services.

 

Article 13

Right to consultation

 

The Council may consult the persons it deems necessary to issue its opinions.

 

Article 14

Annual report

 

The Council shall set up a report on its activity at the end of each calendar year, to be sent to the President of the Republic, the President of the Parliament and the Prime-Minister.

 

Approved on 30th January 1990.

The President of the Parliament, Vítor Pereira Crespo.

 

Promulgated on 24th May 1990.

To be published.

The President of the Republic, MÁRIO SOARES.

 

Subject to referendum on 28th May 1990.

The Prime-Minister, Aníbal António Cavaco Silva.