José Luís da Cruz Vilaça

With an in-depth knowledge of the various areas of European Union Law, Competition Law and issues related to the European Convention on Human Rights and the protection of Fundamental Rights, Cruz Vilaça has continually contributed to further the development of European Union Law and Competition Law.

Managing Partner

José Luís da Cruz Vilaça has a thorough knowledge of the various areas of European Union Law and Competition Law as well as of issues related to the European Convention on Human Rights and the protection of Fundamental Rights.

Cruz Vilaça was one of the first Portuguese jurists and scholars to study European integration matters when preparing his doctorate degree at the University of Paris I in 1975-78.

As Secretary of State for European Integration, in 1981/82, he led the accession negotiations to the European Communities (ECs), and, for the past 35 years, his entire professional and academic career has been under the aegis of European Integration, European Law, and Competition Law.

Following Portugal's accession to the EC in January 1986, Cruz Vilaça has served as Advocate General and later, between 2012 and 2018, as Judge at the Court of Justice of the EU, where he was elected President of Chamber in 2015. From 1989 to 1995, he presided, first by unanimous decision of the governments of the Member States and then by election of his peers, the newly established Court of First Instance of the EC’s.

Cruz Vilaça left his latest post after six years, to practice as a lawyer in his areas of expertise for nearly 18 years.
As a lawyer and jurisconsult, he has provided legal advice to individuals, associations and companies, including the largest ones on a European and global scale, in complex business operations and transactions in various sectors of the economy, and has represented them in cases before the European Commission, the Court of Justice and the General Court of the EU, the European Court of Human Rights, the Portuguese Competition Authority and the Portuguese courts.

As an arbitrator or expert witness, Vilaça intervened in important arbitration proceedings, at national and international level. He chaired arbitration and conciliation committees at the EIB-European Investment Bank and has carried out various institutional cooperation missions in Latin American countries and in the Andean Community, at the request of the European Commission, whose Disciplinary Board he chaired for 4 years.

As a researcher, a professor, an author of numerous publications and conferences, as well as through the various institutions, associations and study groups to which he belongs or has chaired, Cruz Vilaça has continually contributed to foster knowledge and the development of EU Law and Competition Law, as well as the strengthening of judicial protection of individual rights, and the consolidation of the EU as a legal order governed by the rule of law.

As part of his public service activities, in addition to the positions he has held in the EU, in international cooperation, regional development and the political sphere, Vilaça was responsible in 2002/03 for preparing the reform of Competition Law in Portugal, including a new Competition Act and the creation of the Competition Authority. As President of the International Federation of European Law (FIDE) (2016-18) he led the team that organized the XXVIII FIDE Congress, in Estoril. He currently presides APDEN (the Portuguese Association of Energy Law).

Founded Cruz Vilaça & Associados – Law Firm (2019).

Partner - Head of the European and Competition Law Practice Department at the law firm PLMJ, Lisbon (1996-2012).

Judge of the Court of Justice of the European Union (2012-2018).

President of the Court of First Instance of the European Communities (1989-1995).

Advocate General at the Court of Justice of the European Communities (1986-1988).

Professor at the Law Faculties/School of Law of the University of Coimbra, the Portuguese Catholic University, the Nova University of Lisbon.

Member of the General Council of the NOVA University of Lisbon (2012-2016), and of the Board of Trustees of the NOVA University Foundation (since 2017).

Professor at the Centre for European Studies, Coimbra Law Faculty (1983-85); Professor and Director of the Institute of European Studies of the Lusíada University of Lisbon (1988-2000; Professor: 2020-).

Member of the Working Group on the Future of the European Communities Judicial System - “Due Group” (2000).

Chairman of the Working Group for the Revision of the Competition Act and the Establishment of the Competition Authority (2002-03).

Chairman of the Disciplinary Board of the European Commission (2003-2007).

Consultant to the Central Region Coordination Commission (CCRC) (1977-80, 1983-86), to the European Commission (1995-98), and to the European Investment Bank (EIB) (2004-2008).

Institutional cooperation missions in South America (European Commission), in Guinea-Bissau (Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation), in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Tunisia and Egypt (Portuguese Institute for Strategic and International Studies - IEEI and European Union Institute for Security Studies - EUISS).

Member of the Portuguese Parliament (1980-1986).

State Secretary for European Integration (1981-1982).

State Secretary for the Presidency of the Council of Ministers (1981).

State Secretary for Home Affairs (1980).

Military service in the Portuguese Navy - Head of the Justice Department (1969-1972).

Selected publications since 2000:

  • “L’application de la Charte à lère du numérique”, Revista de Derecho Comunitario Europeo, 66, 447-469. 
  • “Parental Liability under the ECN+ Directive and its extension to accessory sanctions” (with Mariana Martins Pereira), 42 and 43 Revista de Concorrência e Regulação (2020), 75-86.
  • “The Intensity of Judicial Review in complex economic matters - recent competition law judgments of the Court of Justice of the EU”, Journal of Antitrust Enforcement, Oxford University Press, 2018. Available at:
  • “Légalité et sécurité juridique en droit européen” (with Marie Meister), Entretiens du contentieux, Conseil d’État, Paris, 2018. Available at:
  • “Challenges to the judiciary in the enforcement of competition rules in the digital age” (with Carla Farinhas), Keynote speech, V Lisbon Conference on Competition Law and Economics, October 18 2018, in Revista Concorrência e Regulação [Competition and Regulation Magazine], No. 36, Competition Authority, 2018. Available at:
  • “De l’interprétation uniforme du droit de l’Union à la ‘sanctuarisation’ du renvoi préjudiciel. Étude d’une limite matérielle à la révision des traités” (with Frédérique Rolin), Liber Amicorum Antonio Tizzano, G. Giappichelli Editore, 2018.
  • “Judicial Review of the Commission’s Decisions under Article 108(2) TFEU: past, present and future implications” (with Carla Farinhas and Mariana Pereira), in L’Europe au présent!, Liber Amicorum Melchior Wathelet, Bruylant, 2018.
  • “The European Federalization Process and the Dynamics of Fundamental Rights” (with Alessandra Silveira), in EU Citizenship and Federalism – The role of rights, (Dimitry Kochenov, editor), Cambridge University Press, 2017.
  • “L’intensité du contrôle du juge de l’Union en matière de concurrence”, Liber Amicorum Marko Ilesic, Ljubljana University, 2017.
  • “A adesão da União à Convenção Europeia para a Proteção dos Direitos do Homem e das Liberdades Fundamentais e o Parecer 2/13, de 18 de dezembro de 2014, do Tribunal de Justiça” [The Union's accession to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, and Opinion 2/13 of the Court of Justice of December 18 2014], Studies in Honour of Mário Esteves de Oliveira, Almedina, 2017.
  • “O ‘Método Comunitário’ e a União Económica e Monetária [The 'Community Method' and the Economic and Monetary Union], Liber Amicorum Fausto de Quadros, Almedina, 2016.
  • “Le contrôle de la Cour en pourvoi en matière de concurrence – Quelques réflexions à propos d’affaires récentes” (with Frédérique Rolin and Alessandro Marciano), Liber Amicorum Vassilios Skouris, Bruylant, 2015.
  • “EU Law and Integration: Twenty years of judicial application of EU law” (collected texts), Hart Publishing, 2014.
  • “Lei da Concorrência - Comentário Conimbricense” [Competition Law - Coimbra Commentary], notes to several articles, Almedina, 2013 (1st ed.) and 2017 (2nd ed.).
  • “Carta dos Direitos Fundamentais da União Europeia Comentada”[Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union Commented], notes to Article 1, Almedina, 2013.
  • “Le principe de l’effet utile dans la jurisprudence de la Cour”, The Court of Justice and the Construction of Europe – Analysis and perspectives on sixty years of case-law/La Cour de justice et la construction de l’Europe – Analyses et perspectives de soixante ans de jurisprudence, Asser/Springer, 2013
  • “The Fundamental Right to Human Dignity in the EU and Constitutional Legal Orders”, Studies in Honour of António Barbosa de Melo, Almedina, 2013
  • “Tratado de Lisboa - Anotado e Comentado” [The Treaty of Lisbon - Annotated and Commented], notes to several articles, Almedina, 2012.
  • “Introdução à nova Legislação da Concorrência”, Concorrência – Estudos [Introduction to the new Competition Law, Competition - Studies] (A. Goucha Soares and M. M. Leitão Marques, coordinators), Almedina, 2006
  • “Reenvio prejudicial para o Tribunal das Comunidades” [Referral for a preliminary ruling to the Court of the European Communities], Notebooks of Administrative Justice, 2006.
  • “Código da União Europeia” [European Union Code] (with Antonio Tizzano and Miguel Gorjão-Henriques), Almedina, 1998, 2000, 2003.
  • “O Ordenamento Comunitário da Concorrência e o Novo Papel do Juiz numa União Alargada” [Community Competition Legal Framework and the Judge's New Role in an Enlarged Union], CEJ Magazine, Almedina, 2004.
  • “A (não) aplicabilidade directa do Trips na ordem jurídica comunitária e em direito nacional e a duração das patentes no código da propriedade industrial” [The (non) direct applicability of TRIPS in Community law and national law, and the duration of patents in the industrial property code], Studies in Honour of Cunha Rodrigues, Coimbra Editora [Publisher], 2001.
  • “A Propósito dos Efeitos das Directivas na Ordem Jurídica dos Estados-membros” [Concerning the Effects of Directives on the Legal System of Member States], Notebooks of Administrative Justice, 2001.

Member of the Portuguese Bar Association since 1969, having been recognized as a specialist in European and Competition Law.

President of the International Federation of European Law (FIDE) (2016-2018).

President of the Portuguese Association of European Law (APDE) (2006-2018).

President of the Portuguese Association of Energy Law (APDEN) (since 2019).

Member of the Board of Directors of the Portuguese Institute for Strategic and International Studies (IEEI) for about 25 years.

Founding member of the Círculo dos Advogados Portugueses de Direito da Concorrência (Association of Portuguese Competition Lawyers).

Grã-Cruz da Ordem da Instrução Pública, Grão-Colar da Fundação Bissaya Barreto, Diploma de Honra do Grémio Literário – Defensor dos Direitos Fundamentais, Grã-Cruz da Ordem do Infante D. Henrique; Gran-Croce dell'Ordine di Merito della Republica Italiana; Grand-Croix de l'Ordre Grand-Ducal de la Couronne de Chêne; Officier de la Legion d'Honneur.

Fellow, St. Antony’s College, Oxford (1984-1985), and Fordham School of Law, NY (2002-2004).

Doctor of International Economics, University of Paris I - Panthéon Sorbonne (1978).

Master in Economic Political Science, University of Coimbra (1968).

Degree in Law, School of Law of the University of Coimbra (1966).

Portuguese (mother tongue), French (bilingual), Spanish (fluent), English (fluent), Italian (reasonable), German (basic knowledge).

José Luís da Cruz Vilaça regularly intervenes in courses and conferences in different countries.

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