Degree in legal and political sciences, University Lisbon. Postgraduate studies in European studies, Catholic University, Lisbon.
Member directory board Academy Association Lisbon Law Faculty, 1982—1984. Member Municipal Assembly, Lisbon, Portugal, 1982—1993. Coordinating secretary FAUL, 1990—1992.
Member of Parliament Assembly of Republic, Portugal, 1991—2007, president Socialist Party parliamentary group, 2002—2004. Councillor Municipality of Loures, Portugal, 1993—1995. Member national secretariat Socialist Party, Portugal, since 1994.
Secretary state parliamentary affairs Government of Portugal, 1995—1997, minister parliamentary affairs, 1997, minister justice, 1999—2002, minister state and administration, 2005—2007. Member of the European Parliament European Parliament, Brussels, 2004—2005, vice president, 2004. Mayor City of Lisbon, since 2007.
Son of Orlando da Costa and Maria Antónia Palla. Married; 2 children.