Powers and functions

The competence and obligations of the Public Prosecutions Office (MP) are stipulated by Article 56 of the Organic Law on Judicial Organization, covering areas such as undertaking criminal proceedings, civil litigations, administrative proceedings and particular legal works. Such duties are summarized in four major areas:

Directing and supervising criminal investigation

MP directs criminal investigation carried out by criminal police authorities:

  • Without prejudice to the exclusive purview of judges of the Criminal Preliminary Hearing Court, MP authorizes the criminal police to conduct all investigation and provides detailed instructions thereto;
  • Pursuant to law, MP recommends special investigative measures to the Criminal Preliminary Hearing Court;
  • MP interrogates detained suspects, examines legitimacy of such detention, and suggests mandatory measures to be taken where necessary;
  • It decides whether to place crimes reported on file for investigation; and
  • Confirms the validity of the detention made by criminal police.

Initiating and ensuring criminal proceedings

MP makes prosecutorial decisions after investigation has been completed, and if prosecution is carried out, it will perform its statutory duties in ensuing procedures:

  • MP shall bring litigations where sufficient evidence is recovered to prove that crimes were committed by definite perpetrators;
  • If evidence shows that no crimes were committed or that the suspects are innocent, relevant criminal procedures shall not be taken. If there is a lack of substantial evidence after investigation to support that suspects have committed crimes or that crimes were if fact committed, or to identify the perpetrators, the cases in question shall be archived without any charges being brought;
  • Under particular circumstances, MP may apply for the suspension of proceedings with the Criminal Preliminary Hearing Court or suggest the archive of cases of which perpetrators are entitled to impunity; and
  • MP may file for appeals with the Court of Second Instance against decisions, verdicts or rulings made by the Court of First Instance, and submit written replies to the Court of Second Instance on appellant matters raised by other litigants. In addition, MP may appeal to the Court of Final Appeal in legally defined circumstances.

Protecting civil rights and interests

MP is responsible in:

  • defending legitimate rights and interests of the Macao SAR and representing the Macao SAR in court;
  • safeguarding rights and interests of the apparently disadvantaged party in civil proceedings by acting for the incapacitated, the unknown and the missing;
  • ensuring the legality of civil rulings;
  • defending civil rights of minors ;
  • preserving civil rights of workers; and
  • commencing special civil proceedings to protect collective or public interests.

Monitoring the application of law

  • MP participates in all types of litigations in courts as established by law. For the purposes of assuring legality, MP supervises civil, criminal and administrative trials and ascertains that relevant proceedings laws and other laws are properly interpreted and applied;
  • MP supervises police investigations to ensure that the investigation procedures are carried out in a lawful manner;
  • The Administrative Proceedings Code stipulates that, for the purposes of protecting legality, MP shall defend the government against which administrative proceedings are initiated by interested parties;
  • MP files judicial appeals against administrative acts of executive officials of any rank for infringing the legality principle, and requests the court to withdraw such acts or declare them invalid;
  • Representatives of the MP are required to attend tender opening procedures of all public work or service projects to ensure that such procedures are implemented in a fair and legitimate fashion;
  • Under legally defined circumstances or upon the request of the Chief Executive, MP plays a role in the entering into contracts by and between the MSAR and other parties; and
  • Under legally defined situations or upon the requests of the Chief Executive and the President of the Legislative Assembly, MP performs consultative functions or comments on the legitimacy of particular matters.