La’o Hamutuk

Bulletin  |  Surat Popular  |  Topic index  |  Reports & Announcements  |  Updates
Reference  |   Presentations  |  Mission Statement  |  LH Blog  |  Search  |  Home

Civil Code / Kodigú Sivíl

7 October 2010

Link to more information about Land Rights / Liga ba informasaun tan kona-ba direitu ba rai

The Civil Code is the pillar of civil law in Timor-Leste. Its rules will affect Timorese people from birth to death. The draft Civil Code currently before Parliamentary Committee A includes over 2,000 articles and was over 500 pages. The draft Civil Code has five “books” which look at contracts/obligations; property rights; family law; and succession. Few people know what the Civil Code is or how it works.

The draft Civil Code outlines rules on family such as marriage, adoption, paternity, alimony, divorce and inheritance. It includes rules on property: including tenant and landlord rights, leases, the terms of legal occupation (similar to “squatter’s rights”), compensation, mortgages, and jointly owned properties. It also outlines rules for domestic and commercial use of all water sources. So far, Timor-Leste has little capacity to develop specific laws on these issues. For this reason it is important that the Civil Code clearly articulates vulnerable people’s rights.

Many communities already have processes for property and family rights. It is essential that the Civil Code is respectful of local culture.

At the end of 2008 the Government presented a draft Civil Code for a short, Dili-based consultation. This draft was “copy and pasted” from Portugal, without adapting it to the local context. The Timor-Leste government made few changes before presenting it to Parliament in 2009. Advisors from the Portuguese government bilateral support to the Ministry of Justice played a leading role in drafting the law. So far this support has not provided: translations of draft laws in Tetum, popular versions that people can understand, or appropriate consultation. In Portugal people debated their Civil Code for 22 years before enacting it.

Although the draft Civil Code contains some positive aspects, La’o Hamutuk, JSMP and others have concerns about the lack of research or public consultation on this law.

In its submission La’o Hamutuk has urged Parliament not to enact any legislation on property issues until government has facilitated a National Land Consultation and a National Land Policy is in place. Without this process, laws threaten the property rights of customary and rural communities and vulnerable people.

La’o Hamutuk’s concerns include:

  • the lack of protections for sacred sites and local culture
  • the need for stronger safeguards for vulnerable people
  • impacts for women’s land rights
  • the need to make a stronger differentiation between household and commercial water use.
Kódigú Sivíl sai baze ba lei sivíl iha Timor-Leste. Kódigu Sivíl iha regras ne’ebé impaktu ba ema Timor-oan husi moris to’o mate. Esbosu Kódigú Sivíl ne’ebé agora Komisaun A mak konsidera inklui artigu liu 2,000, no pajína liu 500. Esbosu Kódigú Sivíl iha “livru” lima ne’ebé haree ba kontraktu/obrigasaun; direitu ba propriedade; lei família; no suksesaun. Ema oituan deit hatene kona-ba saida mak Kódigú Sivíl no ninia knaar legal.

Esbosu Kódigú Sivíl hatete regras kona-ba familia hanesan kazamentu, adopsaun, paternidade, alimonia, divorsiú no warisan/éransa. Esbosu ne’e iha regras kona-ba propriedade: inklui direitu ba ema ne’ebé arenda rai no direitu uma-nain, akordus aluga rai, oinsa okupasaun legal, konpensasaun, hipotéka no propriedade ho nain nu’udar grupu. Esbosu Kódigú Sivíl inklui regras kona-ba ujus bee husi fonte bee hotu, iha parte uma kain no parte komérsiu-nian. To’o agora, Timor-Leste iha kapasidade menus liu atu dezenvolve lei espesifikú kona-ba asuntu ne’e. Tan ne’e, importante tebes katak Kódigú Sivíl proteje ema kbiit-laek nia direitu ho klaru.

Komunidade barak iha ona prosesu atu deside kona-ba direitu ba propriedade no familía. Esensial duni katak Kódigu Sivíl iha respeitú ba kultura lokál.

Iha fin de 2008, Governu aprezenta esbosu Kódigú Sivíl ba konsultasaun badak iha Dili deit. Esbosu ida ne’e “kopia pas” husi Portugal, sein halo adaptasaun ba kontextu lokál. Governu Timor-Leste halo mudansa oituan de’it molok hato’o ba Parlamentu iha 2009. Asesor husi tulun bilateral husi Portugal ba Ministeriú Justisa iha knaar ne’ebé boot atu prepara lei ne’e. To’o agora tulun ida ne’e seidauk asegura tradusaun ba esbosu lei iha lingua Tetum; verzaun popular ne’ebé ema bele konprende didiak; ka konsultasaun ne’ebé apropriadu. Iha Portugal, ema han tinan 22 atu debate sira nia Kódigú Sivíl molok se aprova.

Maski esbosu Kódigú Sivíl iha parte positivu balun, La’o Hamutuk, JSMP no parte seluk iha preokupasaun kona-ba falta peskiza no konsultasaun kona-ba lei ne’e.

Iha La’o Hamutuk-nia submisaun, ami ezizi ba Parlamentu atu hein to’o governu halo Konsultasaun Nasionál kona-ba Rai, no iha Politika Nasionál kona-ba Rai molok aprova lei ne’ebé liga ba direitu ba propriedade. Sein prosesu ida ne’e, lei foun bele sai ameasa ba direitu ba propriedade ba: nain ba rai ne’ebé bazeia ba adat; komunidade rural; ema vulneravél.

La’o Hamutuk nia preokupasaun inklui:

  • falta proteksaun ba fatin lulik no kultura lokál
  • presiza haforsa proteksaun ba ema ne’ebé vulneravél
  • impaktu ba feto nia direitu ba propriedade
  • presiza haree liu diferensia entre uma-kain nia ujus be’e no komérsiu nia ujus bee.

Draft Laws

Submissions to Parliament (2010)

Submissions to Government (2009)

Esbosu Lei

Submisaun ba Parlamento (2010)

Submisaun ba Governu (2009)


The Timor-Leste Institute for Development Monitoring and Analysis (La’o Hamutuk)
Institutu Timor-Leste ba Analiza no Monitor ba Dezenvolvimentu
Rua dos Martires da Patria, Bebora, Dili, Timor-Leste
P.O. Box 340, Dili, Timor-Leste
Tel: +670-3321040 or +670-77234330
email:    Web:    Blog: