Litigation

Court system

What is the structure of the civil court system?

In the first instance, Greek courts are subdivided into Magistrate Courts (Justices of the Peace), Single-Member First Instance Courts and Multi-Member First Instance Courts. Though there are a lot of exceptions, depending on the nature and subject matter of the dispute, the general rule is that in the ordinary procedure of the civil courts the Magistrate Courts are competent for monetary disputes up to €20,000; disputes arising out of lease agreements where the monthly rent does not exceed €600; and disputes between joint property owners up to €20,000. The Single-Member First Instance Courts are competent for monetary disputes up to €250,000. The Multi-Member First Instance Courts are competent for all disputes for which the Magistrate Courts and the Single-Member First Instance Courts are not competent.

By exception, the Magistrate Courts are also competent for a number of disputes depending on their nature and subject matter and irrespective of the value of the dispute. Likewise, the Single-Member First Instance Courts are competent for a number of disputes depending on their nature and subject matter, even if the value of the dispute is above €250,000, in which case it would normally fall within the competence of Multi-Member First Instance Courts, and for some other disputes irrespective of whether the Magistrate Courts or the Multi-Member First Instance Courts would otherwise be competent.

As regards disputes that are heard in the special proceedings before the civil courts, such as family and matrimonial disputes, property disputes (arising out of lease agreements, labour disputes, disputes in connection to the payment of fees and credit instruments) and orders for payment or the surrender of the use of the leasehold, the general rule is that either the Magistrate Courts or the Single-Member First Instance Courts will have competence, depending on the value of the dispute in question. There are very few cases in the special proceedings where the Multi-Member First Instance Court will have competence.

For interim measures proceedings and for cases that are heard in a voluntary procedure of a quasi-administrative nature, as a general rule the Single-Member First Instance Court will have competence.

In the second instance, the Single-Member First Instance Courts are competent for appeals against decisions of the Magistrate Courts within their territory; the Single-Member Appeal Courts are competent for appeals against the decisions of the Single-Member First Instance Courts; and the Three Member Appeal Courts are competent for the hearing of appeals against decisions of the Multi-Member First Instance Courts.

In the third and final instance, the Supreme Court (Areios Pagos) is competent for appeals in cassation (on points of law) against decisions of any civil court.

There are no specialist commercial or financial courts, but there are special commercial sections in the ordinary procedure of the First Instance and Appeal Courts, while special naval sections (in charge of naval disputes) have been established in the First Instance and Appeal Courts of Piraeus.

Judges and juries

What is the role of the judge and the jury in civil proceedings?

A Greek court, consisting of one or more judges, as the case may be, will act only at the request of a party and decide on the basis of the factual allegations raised and proven by the parties and their motions, unless otherwise provided by law. The court will also order, even ex officio, the evidence process by any applicable means of evidence that the law permits, even if these were not invoked by the parties. Any procedural acts are done at the initiative of the parties, unless otherwise provided by law. The court is obliged to encourage at any point of the trial and in any procedure the settlement of the dispute, the selection of mediation as an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) method, to support any relevant initiatives of the parties and to formulate settlement proposals taking into account the factual and legal situation of each case. The judge will:

  • conduct the hearing;
  • give permission to the parties to speak;
  • examine the parties, their legal representatives, witnesses and expert witnesses;
  • seek clarifications by the parties on any allegations that are vague or incomplete;
  • order at the request of any of the parties or ex officio anything that can contribute to the determination of the dispute, including ordering the parties themselves to be present and to answer questions or provide clarifications;
  • declare if and when the hearing has been concluded; and
  • issue the decision in due course.

In the voluntary procedure, the inquisitorial system applies and the court may order ex officio any measure suitable for ascertaining the facts, even if not raised by the parties, and especially facts that contribute to the protection of the interested parties, their relationship or the greater public interest.

There is no jury in Greek civil proceedings.

Limitation issues

What are the time limits for bringing civil claims?

Unless otherwise provided by Greek law, the standard limitation period for bringing civil claims is 20 years. However, a shorter limitation period of five years is provided for certain categories of claims, including, inter alia:

  • the claims of merchants and manufacturers for the sale of goods, the execution of works, taking care of the affairs of others and their expenses;
  • the claims of farmers, fishermen and others for the sale of the products of their profession;
  • the claims of transporters of people or goods for freight and their expenses;
  • claims of hotel, B&B and other owners for the provision of lodging, food and other services, as well as their expenses;
  • the claims of those that do not belong in the above categories but take care of the affairs of others or provide services by profession for their fees and expenses;
  • the claims of servants and workers for the payment of their wages and expenses;
  • the claims of teachers for their fees and costs;
  • the claims of institutions for the provision of teaching, fostering, hospitalisation and care-taking, for the provision of their services and their costs;
  • the claims of those that take care, foster and raise people, for their services provided and their costs;
  • the claims of doctors, nurses, lawyers, notaries, court bailiffs and persons appointed to conduct the affairs of others, for their fees and expenses;
  • the claims of the litigants for any prepayments made to their lawyers;
  • the claims of factual and expert witnesses for their fees and expenses;
  • interest and dividends;
  • any rents;
  • all kinds of wages, late amount due, pensions, alimonies or payment made periodically; and
  • the claims of persons to whom work is provided for their prepayments made against future claims.

Any limitation period is interrupted if the debtor recognises the claim in any way. The parties cannot agree to disapply the statute of limitation or to set a longer or shorter limitation period or to make the terms of the statute of limitation harsher or lighter. However, it is possible to waive the right to invoke the statute of limitations after such time has lapsed.

Pre-action behaviour

Are there any pre-action considerations the parties should take into account?

By means of article 182 of Law 4512/2018, effective 16 September 2019 (by virtue of article 206 of Law 4512/2018, as it was amended by article 19 of Law 4566/2018), before submitting to the court, the authorised attorney must inform his or her principal in writing as per the possibility of attempting to settle the dispute via mediation, provided that the conditions for mediation are met, as well as on any mandatory submission of the dispute to mediation, under the penalty of inadmissibility of the hearing of the action. Such informative documentation must be signed by the principal and his or her attorney and must be filed together with the writ of the action or any other legal brief initiating proceedings, under the penalty of inadmissibility of the hearing of the action or such brief.

As regards the steps available to a party to assist in bringing an action, although pre-action exchange of documents is not provided in Greek law, it is possible for a party to request the production of documents either during the pending trial proceedings or even before, by means of a separate legal action or an application for interim measures in case of urgency, provided that the party making this request for pre-action has a legal interest to be informed of the content of a document in the possession of another (ie, if the document was drafted in the interest of the party requesting it or certifies a legal relationship that relates to him or her, or relates to negotiations for the said legal relationship entered into by the applicant or a third party intervening for the latter).

Starting proceedings

How are civil proceedings commenced? How and when are the parties to the proceedings notified of their commencement? Do the courts have the capacity to handle their caseload?

Proceedings are commenced when the writ of action is deposited at the secretary of the court to which it is addressed or is deposited electronically and a copy thereof is served on the defendant.

Greek courts have a long history of issues with handling the caseload in a timely manner and, in spite of a number of reforms and initiatives attempted, such issues remain to a great extent. The last major reform was through Law 4335/2015, effective as of 1 January 2016, which provided, inter alia, for the abolition of the examination of witnesses at the hearings, as this was thought to cause delays, and for new, shorter timetables, as set out in question 6.

Timetable

What is the typical procedure and timetable for a civil claim?

A claim that is heard in the ordinary procedure must be served to the defendant within 30 days or, if the defendant resides abroad or is of unknown address, within 60 days. Written pleadings, together with any supporting documentation, powers of attorney, affidavits, exhibits, etc, drafted in Greek or together with their (full or partial, as the case may be) legal translation in Greek, must be filed by the parties within 100 days as of the filing of the claim or, if any of the defendants resides abroad, within 130 days of filing. Additional pleadings and rebuttals can be filed 15 days after the filing of the pleadings, together with any additional documentation. Interventions (joinders), summonses to the trial, announcements of the trial or counter-actions are filed and served on all parties within 60 days from the filing of the claim. Interventions made after a summons to the trial or an announcement of the trial must be filed and served on all parties within 60 days from the filing of the claim. Within 15 days from the closing of the case file, the judge (or in case of a Multi-Member Court the panel of the court and its judge rapporteur) must be appointed and the hearing date must be set no later than 30 days after the end of the above deadline, or if this is not possible because of the caseload of the court, at a later date, as necessary. This 30-day deadline for setting the hearing date is in practice not met by most Greek courts because of their caseload, and delays, ranging from a couple of months to up to one year in some cases, have unfortunately become the norm. The courts’ decisions are in writing and are issued after the hearings, usually between two to eight months thereafter.

Case management

Can the parties control the procedure and the timetable?

The parties can extend the timetable of the procedure (ie, the relevant deadlines set by law or by the court) if the parties agree to that and only if the court also agrees, or if the court so decides absent any agreement of the parties, taking into account the circumstances of each case. Extending appeal deadlines is not possible.

In addition, at the request of one of the parties the judge or the court, as the case may be, may also decide to shorten the applicable deadlines if there are serious reasons and the deadline is not one for filing an appeal. The parties can also agree to shorten the legal or court deadlines.

Evidence – documents

Is there a duty to preserve documents and other evidence pending trial? Must parties share relevant documents (including those unhelpful to their case)?

There is no specific duty under Greek procedural rules to preserve documents and other evidence pending trial. There is a general duty on the parties and their attorneys to conduct the proceedings in good faith and to set out the facts as they know them, fully and truthfully. The parties and their attorneys are also expected to contribute, with their diligent conduct of the trial and the timely raising of argumentation and submission of means of evidence, to the expedition of the trial and the speedy resolution of the dispute.

Evidence – privilege

Are any documents privileged? Would advice from an in-house lawyer (whether local or foreign) also be privileged?

Though the notion of privilege does exist in Greek law, there are no specific rules in Greek civil procedural law determining whether a document can be characterised as privileged or not. That said, it is specifically provided in the Greek Code of Civil Procedure that priests, lawyers, notaries, doctors, pharmacists, nurses and their aids, as well as any advisers of the parties, cannot be examined, when summoned as witnesses, on the facts that were entrusted to them or they ascertained during the exercise of their profession, for which they have a confidentiality obligation, unless the party entrusting the same to them and to whom the secrecy relates allows it. Public officials and military personnel, in service or retired, cannot be examined as witnesses for facts for which they have a confidentiality obligation, unless the competent minister allows their examination. In any event, priests, lawyers, notaries, doctors, pharmacists, nurses and their aids, as well as any advisers of the parties, are entitled to refuse to be examined as witnesses on the facts that were entrusted to them. Relatives up to the third degree, unless they have the same relation to all parties, spouses, even after the dissolution of their marriage, and those engaged to be married may also refuse to testify. Lastly, any witness may refuse to testify facts that constitute professional or artistic privilege.

In view of the above, documents containing privileged information are not expected, as a matter of Greek law and practice, to be shown to the other party, and any request to the court either to examine as a witness a person covered by privilege or to force a party to produce documents that contain privileged information is not likely in the majority of cases to be accepted.

Evidence – pretrial

Do parties exchange written evidence from witnesses and experts prior to trial?

The parties have the right to examine under oath witnesses prior to trial before either the competent magistrates (justices of the peace) or notaries or Greek consulates (if the testimony is given outside of Greece). They have a duty to summon the other party to attend, if they wish, the execution of such testimony under oath (affidavit), at least two business days before, and to include in such summons the exact date and place of execution of the affidavit to be given, the action or brief to which it refers and the name, address and profession of the affiant. The party summoned may obtain a copy of the affidavit at any time after its execution or at the time of its submission to the court by the opponent, together with the latter’s pleadings and supporting documentation.

Evidence – trial

How is evidence presented at trial? Do witnesses and experts give oral evidence?

Evidence is presented to the court by means of each party’s pleadings and additional pleadings and rebuttals, which are filed together with each party’s supporting documentation. In respect of claims filed after 1 January 2016 that are heard in the ordinary procedure, witnesses and experts no longer give oral evidence and their testimonies are in effect substituted by written testimonies under oath (affidavits) executed, as mentioned above, before either the competent magistrates (justices of the peace) or notaries or Greek consulates (if the testimony is given outside of Greece). If after the review of the case file it is found by the court that the oral testimony of one affiant from each side or, in the absence thereof, of one person proposed by each side, is absolutely required, then an order to repeat the hearing for the purposes of such oral testimony will be given by the court. Witnesses and experts can still give oral evidence in cases heard under the special proceedings, the voluntary procedure or interim measures proceedings.

Interim remedies

What interim remedies are available?

Interim remedies are available and include:

  • the ordering of security for a monetary claim;
  • the registration of a prenotation of mortgage;
  • the conservatory seizure of movables, immovables, rights in rem thereon, claims and all assets of the debtor either in his or her hands or in the hands of third parties;
  • the placement in judicial escrow (custody) of movables, inmmovables, a group of objects or of a business in the event of a dispute pertaining thereto, such as for their legal ownership or possession;
  • the temporary adjudication of certain categories of claims;
  • the temporary regulation of a situation via the court’s order to do, omit or tolerate a certain act by the party against which the application has been filed;
  • the sealing, unsealing, signing or public deposit; and
  • the issuance of a European Account Preservation Order pursuant to Regulation (EU) No. 655/2014.

The above remedies are available in support of foreign proceedings provided that the local Greek courts have jurisdiction to order the interim relief sought.

Remedies

What substantive remedies are available?

Substantive remedies include:

  • compensatory damages to the injured party for any loss that he or she has suffered;
  • restitution in the form of monetary recovery or recovery of property;
  • specific performance obliging a party to perform its contractual obligations after a breach has been established; and
  • a declaratory judgment declaring the rights or obligations of one party.

Punitive damages, however, are not available under Greek law. In case of a monetary claim and when the debtor is late in payment, the creditor is entitled to claim the interest provided by contract or by law, without being obliged to prove any damage. In addition to interest, the creditor may also claim, unless otherwise provided by law, any other positive damage that he or she has suffered. In such cases, interest is payable on a money judgment provided that it is formally requested by the court.

Enforcement

What means of enforcement are available?

Enforcement under Greek law includes the following means:

  • in case of an obligation to surrender a movable, via the taking by the court bailiff of such movable from the person against which enforcement is made and the delivery thereof to the appropriate person;
  • in case of an obligation to provide replaceable items or anonymous securities, via the taking by the court bailiff of such items or securities from the person against which enforcement is made and the delivery thereof to the appropriate person;
  • in case of an obligation to provide or surrender an immovable property, ship or aircraft, via the court bailiff expelling the person against which enforcement is made from such immovable property, ship or aircraft and establishing thereon the appropriate person;
  • in case of an act that can be done by a third party, via the creditor doing such act and the relevant cost being incurred by the debtor;
  • in case of an act that can only be done by the debtor, via the court condemning the latter to do such act and in the event that it is not done condemning same to a monetary penalty of up to €50,000 in favour of the creditor and to personal detainment of up to one year;
  • in case the debtor has the obligation to omit or tolerate an act, via a court threatening, in the event that the debtor violates his or her obligation, a monetary penalty of up to €100,000 in favour of the creditor for each violation and to personal detainment of up to one year;
  • in case someone is condemned to a declaration of his or her will (intention), such declaration is considered to have been made when the court’s decision became final and unappealable;
  • in case of an obligation to surrender a child, via the court condemning the parent in possession of such child to surrender same under penalty, in case of such non-compliance, of a monetary penalty of up to €100,000 in favour of the party requesting the child’s surrender and to personal detainment of up to one year;
  • in case of a monetary claim that must be satisfied, via the seizure of the property against which enforcement is made or via compulsory administration or personal detainment; and
  • in case the creditor’s claim cannot be fully satisfied via any imposed seizure of the debtor’s property, via obliging the debtor to submit under oath to the court a detailed list of all his or her assets, with their exact location.
Public access

Are court hearings held in public? Are court documents available to the public?

Civil court hearings in Greece are held in public and only the deliberation for the issuance of the court’s decision is made in secret. The judge conducting the hearing may determine in his or her judgment the number of persons that can stay within the court and has the power to order the exclusion of minors, persons carrying arms, as well as those that do not behave well in court. The court can order a hearing, or part thereof, to be in closed session if it could be detrimental to good morals or public order.

Pretrial proceedings and any proceedings outside court are not public, although the parties, their legal representatives and attorneys may attend same. Any court documents filed with the court are not available to the public, but only to the parties, their legal representatives and attorneys.

Costs

Does the court have power to order costs?

The court has the power to order costs and as a rule it is the losing party that is condemned by the court to pay the costs of the winning party. In case of partial victory and partial defeat of each party, the court will assess the costs according to the extent of their respective victory and defeat. The court can also offset all costs or part thereof when the dispute is between relatives up to the second degree or if it finds that the interpretation of the rule of law that was applied was especially difficult. For the purposes of the court determining and clearing the amount of costs that should be awarded, each side must produce a table with his or her respective costs.

The claimant is not required by law to provide security for the defendant’s costs, but the defendant can make such a request to the court and the court may order security for costs if there is an obvious danger of inability to enforce the court’s decision condemning a plaintiff to pay costs.

Funding arrangements

Are ‘no win, no fee’ agreements, or other types of contingency or conditional fee arrangements between lawyers and their clients, available to parties? May parties bring proceedings using third-party funding? If so, may the third party take a share of any proceeds of the claim? May a party to litigation share its risk with a third party?

‘No win, no fee’ agreements and other similar types of contingency or conditional fee arrangements between lawyers and their clients are available to parties in Greece. In case of such an agreement, the agreed fee cannot exceed 20 per cent of the value of the dispute and, in the event that more than one lawyer is involved, 30 per cent. The agreement must be made in writing and must be duly filed with the local bar association of the lawyer that has concluded the same. The agreement will be valid only if the lawyer has undertaken the obligation to carry out the trial until the court’s decision has become final and unappealable, without the lawyer being entitled to any fee in case of defeat. Any agreement between the parties for expenses does not overturn the validity of the said fee arrangement.

Insurance

Is insurance available to cover all or part of a party’s legal costs?

Yes, such insurance is available, subject to the risk profile in question and the amount of coverage.

Class action

May litigants with similar claims bring a form of collective redress? In what circumstances is this permitted?

Greek law provides for simple and forced collective redress.

In the case of simple collective redress, more than one person can lodge a claim (or face a claim) if they have the same common rights or obligation or if their rights and obligations are based on the same factual and legal cause, or if the subjects of the dispute are claims or obligations of the same kind or obligations based on materially the same historical and legal basis and the court has competence upon each defendant.

Collective redress will be forced when the dispute requires a uniform way of resolution or if the parties can only jointly bring or face a claim or when, because of the circumstances of the case, there cannot be contrary decisions towards the parties. The litigants that do not legally participate in the trial or have been summoned to attend the same will be deemed to be represented by those attending.

In addition to the above, it is also possible under Greek law for consumer unions to bring a class action against suppliers that violate the law. This action can be any kind of action for the protection of the general interests of consumers and usually aims at the issuance of a court decision ordering the supplier in question to cease its illegal activity or pay moral damages.

Appeal

On what grounds and in what circumstances can the parties appeal? Is there a right of further appeal?

The parties can appeal a decision when they were wholly or partially defeated in the first instance and if the decision was erroneous in fact or in law. The decisions that can be appealed are those of the Magistrate Courts, Single-Member First Instance Courts and Multi-Member First Instance Courts. Disputes heard before the Magistrate Courts with a value under €5,000 cannot be appealed. Only decisions that are either final or refer the dispute to the competent court can be appealed. The deadline for the filing of an appeal is 30 days from the service of the first instance decision or, in the event that the appellant resides outside Greece or is of unknown residence, 60 days. If the decision has not been served, then the appeal deadline is two years from the publication of the first instance decision. During the time period for the filing of the appeal, the first instance decision cannot be enforced, unless the decision was declared by the first instance court as temporarily enforceable against the losing party. An appeal that has duly been filed will suspend the enforcement of the first instance decision, save for any first instance decision that was declared temporarily enforceable against the losing party.

The court will first examine the admissibility of the appeal, then examine the admissibility and soundness of its grounds, and if any of the appeal grounds is found to be sound, the first instance decision will be quashed and the Appeal Court will keep the case and decide on its merits. The Appeal Court cannot render a decision that is more detrimental to the appellant if the opponent has not filed its own appeal or counter-appeal. However, the Appeal Court can render a decision that is more detrimental to the appellant if it quashes the first instance decision and goes ahead with ruling on the merits.

A further appeal in cassation is possible before the Supreme Court, but only on points of law, not fact. The deadline for the filing of such further appeal is 30 days from the service of the appealed decision or, in the event that the appellant resides outside Greece or is of unknown residence, 60 days. If the decision has not been served, then the appeal in cassation deadline is two years from the publication of the decision.

Foreign judgments

What procedures exist for recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments?

Reciprocal agreements for the recognition and enforcement of judgments exist between Greece and the following countries:

  • Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, Germany, Georgia, the successor states of Yugoslavia, China, Cyprus, Lebanon, Hungary, Ukraine, Poland, Romania, the successor states of the USSR, the successor states of Czechoslovakia, Syria, Tunisia, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland (for the Lugano Convention on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters of 30 October 2007);
  • all contracting states to the Convention of 2 October 1973 on the Recognition and Enforcement of Decisions Relating to Maintenance Obligations;
  • all contracting states to the Hague Convention of 29 May 1993 on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption;
  • all contracting states to the Convention of 19 October 1996 on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in Respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children;
  • all contracting states to the Hague Convention of 23 November 2007 on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance;
  • all contracting states to the Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road (CMR) (Geneva, 19 May 1956);
  • all contracting states to the UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency of 30 May 1997;
  • all contracting states to the Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail (COTIF) of 9 May 1980, as amended by the Vilnius Protocol of 3 June 1999; and
  • all contracting states to the European Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of Decisions concerning Custody of Children and on Restoration of Custody of Children (9 May 1980).

If no international agreement (multilateral or bilateral) exists or if the Regulation of the EU does not apply to the recognition or enforcement of a certain foreign judgment, then such judgment will be recognised and enforced in Greece pursuant to the Greek Code of Civil Procedure (GCCP) (Presidential Decree No. 503/1985, as amended and in force today). However, in the event that an international agreement is in place or if the Regulation of the EU is applicable, then the rules of such agreement or EU Regulation will supersede and disapply the GCCP.

In case the GCCP applies, then the following rules and process may come into play.

  • First, as regards recognition of a foreign judgment issued pursuant to a disputes procedure, then pursuant to article 323 GCCP and subject to what international treaties (multilateral or bilateral) or Regulations of the EU provide (if there is any international treaty (multilateral or bilateral) or Regulation of the EU that applies to the foreign judgment in question, then the rules of such treaty or EU Regulation will supersede and disapply the GCCP), such judgment is recognised to have force and constitute res judicata in Greece without any other procedure, provided that:
    • it constitutes res judicata according to the law of the country of issuance;
    • under the provisions of Greek law, the case was subject to the jurisdiction of the courts of the country to which the court that issued the judgment belongs;
    • the party who lost was not deprived of the right to a defence and in general of the right to participate in the trial, unless such right was deprived according to a provision that applies equally to the subjects of the country to which the court that issued the judgment belongs;
    • it is not contrary to a judgment of a Greek court that was issued in the same case and that constitutes res judicata for the parties between which the judgment of the foreign court was issued; and
    • it is not contrary to good morals or to public order.

Though recognition of a foreign judgment is ipso jure, ie, without any procedure, provided that the conditions set out in article 323 GCCP are met, there is also the possibility, if there is any legal interest in doing so, to file a civil action seeking a declaratory judgment on whether or not the res judicata of a foreign judgment has or does not have effect in Greece.

  • Second, as regards recognition of a foreign judgment issued pursuant to the voluntary (uncontested cases) procedure, then pursuant to article 780 GCCP and subject to what international treaties (multilateral or bilateral) or Regulations of the EU provide (again, if there is any international treaty (multilateral or bilateral) or Regulation of the EU that applies to the foreign judgment in question, then the rules of such treaty or EU Regulation will supersede and disapply the GCCP), it shall ipso jure have the same force and effect in Greece as that recognised to it under the law of the country of the court that issued it, provided that:
    • the judgment applied the substantive law that should be applied under Greek law and was issued by a court that had jurisdiction pursuant to the law of the country whose substantive law it applied; and
    • it is not contrary to good morals or to public order.
  • Third, as regards recognition of a foreign judgment relating to the personal status of a party, then pursuant to article 905, paragraph 4 GCCP and subject to what international treaties (multilateral or bilateral) or Regulations of the EU provide (again, if there is any international treaty (multilateral or bilateral) or Regulation of the EU that applies to the foreign judgment in question, then the rules of such treaty or EU Regulation will supersede and disapply the GCCP), such judgment shall not ipso jure have res judicata effect in Greece, unlike what is provided under articles 323 and 780 GCCP above. For this judgment to acquire such effect, it will have to be recognised by a judgment issued by the competent Greek Single-Member First Instance Court. A foreign judgment will be recognised if:
    • it is enforceable pursuant to the law of the country of issuance;
    • it is not contrary to good morals or public order; and
    • it meets the conditions of article 323(ii)-(v) GCCP.

As regards enforcement of a foreign judgment, then pursuant to article 905 GCCP and subject to what international treaties and Regulations of the EU provide, a foreign judgment can be enforced in Greece after it has been declared enforceable by a judgment of the Single-Member First Instance Court of the district within which the domicile of the debtor is or, if there is no domicile, of the debtor’s residence, or, if there is no residence, of the Single-Member First Instance Court of Athens. A foreign judgment will be declared enforceable by the competent Greek Single-Member First Instance Court pursuant to the above procedure if it is enforceable pursuant to the law of the country of issuance and if it is not contrary to good morals or public order of Greece. Lastly, for a foreign judgment to be declared enforceable, the conditions of article 323(ii)-(v) GCCP must also be met.

Foreign proceedings

Are there any procedures for obtaining oral or documentary evidence for use in civil proceedings in other jurisdictions?

Yes, for civil and commercial matters, this is possible on the basis of Council Regulation (EC) No. 1206/2001 of 28 May 2001 on cooperation between the courts of the member states in the taking of evidence in civil or commercial matters.