A new study by consumer watchdog, Deco, concludes that the Portuguese have "very little" trust in their own justice system.
The study also pointed out that the public knows "almost nothing" about the functioning of the judiciary and certainly has the opinion that it is not independent of political interference.
Ignorance of how the system works and a general distrust of the judicial system are inexorably linked, particularly by women in the 30 to 44-year-old age group and by those with poorer education levels.
On a scale of 1-10, the confidence index in the justice system scored a poor 3.4. Even for the male, better educated over 45-year-old sector, which normally is less prone to supposition, the confidence index is below four.
The national survey was part of wider plan to see what citizens thought of their justice systems in Spain, Italy and Belgium as well as in Portugal.
The opinions on the state of Portugal's judicial system were drawn from responses to 15,000 questionnaires mailed to citizens aged between 30 and 74 years, representing about six million Portuguese, according to Carlos Morgado who was in charge of Deco’s study.
Less than half of the respondents knew that the Government can not change a court decision and overall only 7% had full confidence in the justice system, with 69% having very little confidence at all.
Bruno Santos of Deco said that he was “not astonished” by the widespread discontent that citizens have in the justice system," but was astonished at the level of ignorance in how the system worked.