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Dispute Resolution - Greece

"Reproduced with permission from Law Business Research Limited. This article was first published in 
Getting the Deal Through - Dispute Resolution (published in June 2011;
contributing editor: Simon Bushell).
 For further information please visit
www.GettingTheDealThrough.com."

LITIGATION

1. Court system
What is the structure of the civil court system? Are there subdivisions according to subject matter, nature or size of the claim? What is the hierarchy of courts in relation to appeals? How many judges sit at each level of the court system?

Civil and commercial litigation in Greece is conducted in the ordinary civil courts. Unlike other jurisdictions in Greece there are no specialist courts or divisions. Nonetheless, certain types of cases (i.e. Employment disputes, RTAs, Land Disputes, Landlord and Tenant disputes, etc) are dealt with by the ordinary courts under specialist procedures. Such procedures are governed by special parts of the Code of Civil Procedure (the “CCP”).

At first instance, in determining the appropriate venue, the claimant has to consider the two components of civil jurisdiction under the CCP: Subject Matter Competence and Territorial Competence.

Subject Matter Competence is divided in competence of value and special competence.

Special competence refers to a court’s power to hear a dispute regardless of the financial value of the claim and is determined according to the subject matter of a case. There is an array of rules to determine special competence and these should be examined before competence of value is examined, as they prevail.

Competence of value refers to the financial value of the claim and is summarised as follows:

  • Court of Peace (“CoP”) – claims of value up to 12,000 euro
  • Single Member Court of First Instance (“SMCFI”) – claims of value between 12,000 euro and 80,000 euro
  • Multi Member Court of First Instance (“MMCFI”) – claims of value of over 80,000 euro

The rules determining territorial competence resemble European rules on jurisdiction (ie. Brussels I) with the general rule being that a defendant must be sued at his local courts, whereas other rules offer alternatives (ie rules of concurrent competence) and/or confer exclusive competence to a particular court.

Number of courts:

  • 310 Courts of Peace (CoP),
  • 63 Single Member Courts of First Instance (SMCFI) and Multi Member Courts of First Instance (MMCFI)
  • 15 courts of appeal
  • 1 Supreme Court which is based in Athens and which hears appeals of reversion from the Courts of Appeal.

In the CoP and the SMCFI sits one judge with a secretary. Cases before the MMCFI are heard by a panel of three judges.


2. Judges and juries
What is the role of the judge and (where applicable) the jury in civil proceedings? Does the judge have an inquisitorial role or a passive role? In what circumstances (if any) are juries involved in civil actions?

From a practical perspective, the cornerstone of civil litigation is the principle of the “parties initiative” as set out in art. 106 CCP . This effectively means that it is for the parties to manage the proceedings.

Although in theory the Greek civil justice system is adversarial in nature, certain aspects of the procedure can be of an inquisitorial nature (such as an order by the court that the parties adduce more evidence under 337 CCP, or when certain issues can be examined at the court’s own initiative).

Generally, apart from setting the trial date and making any obiter orders, the court has no case management powers of the kind known in common law jurisdictions.

There are no juries in civil proceedings.


3. Limitation issues
What are the time limits for bringing civil claims? Is it possible for the parties to agree to suspend time limits?

Most limitation periods are laid down by the Civil Code.

The general rule is that all causes of action become time barred after the lapse of 20 years from the date the cause of action accrued.

There is a number of exceptions to the general rule such as the merchant exception, which provides for a shorter limitation period for disputes arising between merchants (the status of a merchant is conferred to a person by general commercial law) or the tort exception which provides for a limitation period of 5 years beginning on 1 January following the time when a prospective claimant becomes aware or ought to be aware of the circumstances giving rise to a claim.

Further exceptions exist and they are laid down either in the Civil Code and in other Civil and commercial statutes.

Notably, the limitation period can be interrupted if the debtor acknowledges the debt or when the particulars of claim are served. In such case any time which has already passed does not count.


4. Pre-action behaviour
Are there any pre-action considerations the parties should take into account? Are there any steps a party must take before issuing proceedings? Are there any steps available to such party to assist in bringing an action (pre-action exchange of documents, etc)?

In disputes which are listed for trial before the MMCFI, procedural law imposes a requirement to the parties to try to settle the dispute before the trial date. The claimant typically serves a notice inviting the defendant to negotiate a pre-trial settlement, usually at the offices of the lawyers acting for the claimant.

Additionally, in certain instances substantive law might require the parties to perform certain tasks before commencing proceedings.

Other than this, the CCP does not impose any pre- action conduct to the parties (such as letters of claim, pre- action protocols, pre-action disclosure etc).

Nonetheless, it is very common that the parties serve letters of claim before commencing proceedings in a view to ascertain whether an out of court settlement could be reached, or for default interest to start running.


5. Starting proceedings
How are civil proceedings commenced?

Proceedings are commenced by lodging the action with the court and serving it on the other party.

In Greece there is no prescribed claim form. It is for the claimant’s lawyers to draft the “action” which is effectively the claim together with the particulars of claim and a prayer. The action is the most important part of the Greek Civil litigation as it is the document that accompanies the parties until the case is finally decided.

A claim is “brought” when the action is both filed and served. Each step has effects of its own. Filing of the claim has procedural effects whereas service of the claim has substantive effects. These are:

Procedural Effects:

  • lis pendens
  • the Court is seized (in terms of jurisdiction and competence)
  • Preference between various competent courts

Substantive Effects

  • Interest (and or compound interest)
  • Interruption of the limitation period
  • Default

Service must be effected by the claimant through a process server. Service through post, DE, fax, email etc are not acceptable means of service under the CCP.


6. Timetable
What is the typical procedure and timetable for a civil claim? Documents to be served and time limits.

The procedure differs depending on the court that hears the case and the procedure which is followed.

The typical procedure for a large commercial dispute heard by the MMCFI under the ordinary procedure is as follows:

1. Filing the claim and obtaining a trial date

2. Serving the claim

3. Interim Stage

a. Possibility of interim relief

b. If any affidavits are to be used, a notice must be served on the other side inviting them to attend the execution of the affidavits (under oath)

4. Filing of the pleadings together with any evidence, at least 20 days before the trial

5. Obtains copies of the other side’s pleading and evidence from the court

6. 15 days before the trial date the parties can file a response to the pleadings of the other side and an addendum to their pleadings

7. Hearing

8. 8 days after the hearing the parties can file an addendum to their pleadings focusing on the issues raised at the hearing

9. A judgment is issued by the court, which the parties can obtain from the court registry and serve it.

10. Any possible appeals

11. Enforcement.

If a counterclaim is to be filed that counterclaim can either be filed through a standalone claim or through the pleadings. Such consideration should be made ideally during the interim stage.


7. Case management
Can the parties control the procedure and the timetable?

Under the CCP the parties are responsible for managing the case, controlling both the procedure and the timetable. The court apart from listing the case for trial or adjourning the hearing for significant reasons has no other case management powers.


8. 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)?

Preservation of documents

The CCP does not require expressly a party to preserve documents and other evidence pending trial. However, such obligation can be deduced by ancillary provisions in the CCP.

Nonetheless, it is very important that parties retain any documents which they have and can support their case, since litigation is contemplated, as all documents to which reference is made in the action must be filed with the pleading (see q. 6). Therefore it wouldn’t be commercially sensible for any such documents to be lost.

Disclosure

Subject to the general law, the litigants are under no obligation to disclose any documents that can adversely affect their or a third party’s case or even any documents that can support their case. Obviously the litigants will want to use any evidence supportive of their case so they can discharge their respective burden of proof, and it is a procedural requirement for any documents referred to in the pleadings and or in the particulars of claim to be adduced in evidence. Any such documents, together with the pleadings (ie the trial bundle) are filed with the court, and the other side can visit the court to inspect them and to obtain copies. (see qu. 6).

A litigant may apply for a document the other side holds and has an evidentiary value to be disclosed via the pleadings in the course of the trial. If any such documents are in a third party’ possession this can be done via a third party claim.

Furthermore the CCP also provides for applications for disclosure orders.

9. Evidence – privilege

Are any documents privileged (ie they do not need to be shown to the other party, for example because they consist of legal advice)? Would advice from an in-house lawyer (whether local or foreign) also be privileged?

In the absence of strict disclosure rules (such as the ones in part 31 of the CPR in England and Wales) the concept of privilege is unknown in Greece. Since no obligation exists to disclose information that adversely affect the client’s case or a third party’s case, there is no rationale behind such a concept.

A similar concept, is that of confidentiality, which exists in the course of a professional relationship between a client and a service provider (such as a lawyer).

Art. 400 and 401 of the CCP provide that certain service providers (such as lawyers, and other advisors) can either refuse or be exempt from testifying in court in relation to issues which were imparted in confidence in the course of a professional relationship, unless the client expressly waives confidentiality.

Any documents prepared by advisors that would otherwise be in position to refuse to testify can be excluded from a disclosure order. Such protection could extend to drafts prepared by lawyers, psychologists, doctors, etc.

10. Evidence – pretrial

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


In Greek Civil Proceedings witness statements are not used.

Nonetheless, the use of affidavits is very common. Such affidavits are sworn statements, made by witnesses of fact before a notary public, a justice of peace or a Greek Consulate. A litigant can use up to 3 affidavits and must serve a notice on the other side inviting them to attend at the execution of the affidavit. A witness that signs an affidavit does not have to attend trial. Any affidavits obtained are not exchanged between the parties, but are filed with the pleadings.

If an expert report is compiled, such report must be also filed with the court.

11. Evidence – trial

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

Each party can call at least one witness of fact. Such witnesses provide oral evidence, on which they can be cross examined by the other side, and can also be asked questions by the judge. No witness statements are used in Greek civil litigation.

If a witness prefers to give written evidence rather than orally testifying at trial, they may do so by means of an affidavit. (see q. 10)

If a key witness refuses to testify, although it is possible to compel him to appear at a hearing by means of a witness summons, this is extremely rare in practice as the sanctions for not attending are inconsequential.

If any experts are instructed, they will typically have to file an expert report, on which they may give oral evidence to amplify its content. Experts can be questioned both by the court and the parties.

In Greek Civil Litigation the parties to a dispute are not considered to be witnesses. The CCP provides that the litigants can be examined if the court has not obtained a clear view of the facts from the evidence presented.

Experts must be instructed by the court, if an application to that effect was made by the parties and the court considers that expert knowledge is required. Furthermore the court may instruct one or more experts on its own volition if it decides that certain matters require special knowledge in order to be understood. In the first case the party that petitioned the court for the appointment of the expert will be responsible for the expert’s fees.

If an expert is appointed, assessors can also be instructed by the parties, to assist them with their technical knowledge and comment on the expert report. Assessors in Greece are known as technical advisors.

The parties are free to instruct other advisors even though an expert has not been instructed and adduce any reports in evidence.

12. Interim remedies
What interim remedies are available? Are interim freezing injunctions or search orders available? Are such remedies available in support of foreign proceedings?

The Greek Courts may award to the parties various interim remedies including but not limited to prohibitory injunctions, freezing injunctions, and disclosure orders. Interim relief is available while proceedings are pending or imminent. Such relief is also available in support of foreign proceedings.

For interim relief to be granted, the applicant should demonstrate that there is an urgent situation or that there is imminent danger which should be avoided in order to secure or preserve a right or to regulate a situation.

Obtaining interim relief can take a long time. Thus, it is possible for the parties to apply for a provisional order which although, in theory it can be granted on the day of the application, it usually takes much longer.


13. Remedies
What substantive remedies are available? Are punitive damages available? Is interest payable on a money judgment?


A party may seek the following remedies:

  • Affirmatory relief (ie damages, specific performance)
  • Declarations (including negative declaratory relief)
  • Alteration of a legal relationship (ie rescission, creation or transformation)

As regards damages, Greek law recognizes compensatory damages and moral damages (ie damages for non pecuniary loss). Greek law does not recognize punitive damages.

Interest is payable on money judgments until payment.


14. Enforcement

What means of enforcement are available? (What sanctions are available in the event a court order is disobeyed?)

The CCP provides for three main types of enforcement, the appropriateness of which depend on the nature of the judgment. These are direct enforcement, indirect enforcement and alternative enforcement.

As regards money judgements indirect enforcement is relevant. The methods to be followed, depend primarily on the assets of the judgment debtor:

  • Execution of chattels (ie seizure and sale of the debtor’s immobile property).
  • Attachment of debts a third party has against the debtor.
  • garnishment of the debtor’s chattels, when possessed by someone else than the debtor.
  • Execution of real property, ships and aircrafts (ie seizure and sale in an auction).
  • Seizure of special assets (such as IP rights, shares etc).
  • Compulsory administration of businesses (a type of receivership) is also possible if certain requirements are met.
  • Committal orders can also be issued against a judgement debtor in cases of tort.

It must be noted that attachment of earnings (on salaries, pensions, alimony) cannot be made in connection to commercial debts.

In Greece only final judgements can be enforced. Final judgements are the decisions of the appellate courts or any first instance judgements which can no longer be appealed. For a non final judgment to be enforced leave for enforcement must be obtained by the court, which is typically done via a request for provisional enforceability in the prayer section of the action.

The CCP links the limits of enforcement to res judicata. That is to say that enforcement can be initiated not only against the judgment debtor but also any persons to which the res judicata of the judgment extends.

In Greece there is no such thing as an asset search, and it could prove technically impossible to trace any assets of the judgment debtor. Although in theory, it could be possible to search for the debtor’s real property, in the absence of a centralized land registry covering the entire country, this could prove to be very difficult, as the judgement creditor would have to conduct searches to several regional land registries.

However, if no sufficient assets can be detected, it is possible for the creditor to apply for an information hearing, forcing the debtor to provide information about all its current assets under oath.

Nonetheless, if a judgment creditor has disposed of its assets in a view to not have adequate assets to satisfy a debt or a possible judgment, an action for claw back (coupled with a private prosecution before the criminal courts) can be brought.

In Greece enforcement trials are very common. These can be brought by the judgment debtor during the process of enforcement, who can be opposing either enforcement in general or a specific step in the enforcement proceedings. Enforcement trials in Greece can be very lengthy and cumbersome. When enforcement proceedings are brought by the debtor, the process in not automatically stayed, but the debtor will also have to apply for a stay order.

In line with principle of the parties’ initiative, it is for the judgment creditor to move the enforcement process. The main players in enforcement proceedings are enforcement officers (who are licensed process servers) and a notary public. Self help is not recognised in Greece, and any attempts for private enforcement could constitute a criminal offence.

The Enforcement system in Greece is collective, which sometimes might leave a judgment creditor unsatisfied, especially in case of preferential or secured creditors serving a notice.


15. Public access
Are court hearings held in public? Are court documents (such as pleadings, witness statements and orders) available to the public?

Court hearings are generally held in public, whereas judicial reasoning occurs in private. Under article 114 CCP, it is possible for the court to order that a hearing (or part of it) be held in private. This is the case when the court considers that holding the hearing in public could be detrimental for the public order or the bonnes moeurs.

Documents filed by the parties during the interim stage, in practice are not generally available to the public. Court orders and judgments are considered to be public documents.


16. Costs
Does the court have power to order costs? If so, how are the costs assessed? Is a claimant required to provide security for the defendant’s costs?


The general rule is that the losing party pays the successful party’s costs. However Greek courts rarely award the full costs incurred by the parties, and the court assesses costs with reference to the value of the claim.

In most cases, the costs awarded by the courts do not reflect the actual expenditure incurred by the parties.

In large commercial disputes, the basic rule is that if the claimant succeeds he is entitled to 3% of the value of the claim, whereas if the defendant wins the case he shall be entitled to 2% of the value of the claim.

In cases of partial winning, the court taxes the costs according to a fraction, which is set as a winning percentage.


17. 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 (for example from professional investors seeking to invest in claims)? 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 (for example, a claimant selling some proportion of any recovery to investors in return for a fixed upfront payment, or a defendant paying a fixed sum to offset a proportion of any liability)?

Greek lawyers (and their clients) have to observe the minimum remuneration requirements imposed by the Code of Lawyers and other ancillary regulations.

If acting for the claimant in civil proceedings, the minimum legal fee is set at 2% of the value of the claim for filing an action and 1% for filing the pleadings, whereas if acting for the defendant the legal fee is set at 2%.

Clients are expected to pay for any disbursements which must be reasonably incurred for arguing their case, such as service fees and the court fee. The court fee is approximately 0,7% of the value of the claim.

As a tactic, when an unliquidated claim of substantial value is brought, and its prospects of success are uncertain, the claimant can seek to amend the prayer of the action to that of a declaration, thereby avoiding the court fee which is only payable in claims of an executionary nature.

Subsequently, if a favourable judgement is issued, the claimant can use the declaratory judgement to obtain an order for payment, thereby paying the “appropriate” court fee.

No Win No Fee Arrangements

In Greece, the type of no win no fee arrangement used is a contingency fee arrangement with the contingency figure usually set at 20% of the amount recovered. Conditional Fee Arrangements (ie arrangements whereby in the event of success the client pays legal fees plus an uplift in the event of success) are not common in Greece.

Assignment in whole or in part of a cause of action is possible in Greece. However, non pecuniary damages (such as damages for mental distress and claims of a personal nature) cannot be assigned.

Investing in Claims is not very common in Greece, particularly because of the practical impediments encountered in detecting a person’s assets.

The legitimacy of third party funding has not yet been tested in Greece.


18. Insurance

Is insurance available to cover all or part of a party's legal costs (either its own costs or its potential liability for an opponent's costs)?

Although technically insurance covering specifically litigation costs could be agreed under LD 400/1970, in practice it is not common for litigants to make such arrangements.

19. Class action

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

At present, class actions of the kind known in the US, do not exist in Greece. However, representative actions by consumer associations can be brought before national courts.

Furthermore, it is possible for different claimants with similar claims to bring an action jointly, but they will be treated individually.

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

Appeals against judgements issued by the CoP can be brought before the MMCFI, whereas judgements issued by the SMCFI and the MMCFI can be appealed before the Courts of Appeal.

Generally, all judgements issued by the courts of first instance can be appealed on both grounds of fact and law (procedural or substantive), unless the value of the judgement is below 1.500 euro, in which case they can only be challenged before the Court of Cassation on the limited grounds set out in art.560 CCP.

Any judgements issued by the court, should be served by the parties.

In Greece, no permission for appeal is required. An appeal is brought by filing the particulars of appeal with the court that issued the judgement, allocate a date for an appeal hearing at the court of appeal and serve the Particulars of Appeal (as issued by the court) on the respondent.

Appeal judgements can be challenged via a review in cassation before the Court of Cassation. Such review, can only be brought if any of the grounds set out in art. 559 of the CCP is satisfied. These grounds include, but are not limited to: flawed interpretation of the law, procedural irregularities, errors in the application of the rules of evidence etc.

21. Foreign judgments
What procedures exist for recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments? Is this governed by reciprocal agreements with different countries? What is the position if no such reciprocal agreement exists?

Judgements issued by the courts of the member states of the EU will be recognised automatically under the EU Brussels I regulation, provided the conditions detailed in the regulation are satisfied (ie the judgement is not manifestly contrary to Greek public policy) . Any such judgements should however be declared enforceable.

In non EU judgements, subject to any international treaties, a foreign judgement can be declared enforceable subject to certain requirements being met.

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

The procedure differs according to the jurisdiction in which the proceedings are being conducted.

EU Council Regulation 1206/2001 provides that within EU member states (except Denmark), transmission of requests for evidence can be done directly between designated courts.

In reference to proceeding which are being conducted in a non-EU country, law No. 3287/2004 which gives effect to the Hague Convention of 1970 provides that the court requesting any evidence could either obtain such evidence by means of a rogatory letter to the central authority of another contracting state, or via its diplomats, consulate agents or commissioners.

ARBITRATION

23. UNCITRAL Model Law
Is the arbitration law based on the UNCITRAL Model Law?

There is a distinction between domestic and international arbitration proceedings.

International commercial arbitration proceedings are governed by law No. 2735/1999 which implemented the UNICITRAL Model Law.

Domestic arbitration proceedings are governed by the CCP in articles 867 – 903.

24. Arbitration agreements
What are the formal requirements for an enforceable arbitration agreement? Does the agreement need to be in writing?

In order for an arbitration agreement to be valid it must be in writing and signed by all the parties involved. Such requirement is also met in the case of signed correspondence by fax, letters, telegrams.

The absence of a written agreement can be rectified if the parties appear before an arbitrator and participate voluntarily.

It must be noted that certain disputes (such as employment disputes) cannot be submitted to arbitration.


25. Choice of arbitrator
If the arbitration agreement and any relevant rules are silent on the matter, how many arbitrators will be appointed and how will they be appointed? Are there restrictions on the right to challenge the appointment of an arbitrator?

In international arbitrations, if the arbitration agreement is silent on the matter, there must be three arbitrators.

In case of three arbitrators, each party will appoint one arbitrator within 30days from the date the request of the other party was made, and the two arbitrators will then appoint a third arbitrator within 30 days of their appointment.

If the above deadlines are not met, each party can apply to the SMCFI to appoint the arbitrators.

The appointment of the arbitrator can be challenged if there exist grounds to justifiably doubt the arbitrator’s impartiality and independence. If however a party wishes to challenge the appointment of the arbitrator it has appointed, it can only do so for reasons of which it has become aware after the arbitrator’s appointment.

26. Arbitral procedure
Does the domestic law contain substantive requirements for the procedure to be followed?

In Greece there are no substantive requirements that must be met.

Under the principle of party autonomy, the parties are free to select the rules of procedure governing the process. Any such rules are usually set in the arbitration agreement.

In the absence of procedural rules in the arbitration agreement, it is for the arbitrator to decide on the procedure.

27. Court intervention
On what grounds can the court intervene during an arbitration? Can the court’s powers be overridden by agreement?

Generally speaking, the role of the court is of a supportive (and occasionally supervisory) nature. The Greek courts will not intervene during an arbitration. Nonetheless, the parties and/ or the arbitral tribunal can request judicial assistance if needed. The courts for example can appoint, release and remove an arbitrator, grant an extension, and require the parties to present evidence.

28. Interim relief
Do arbitrators have powers to grant interim relief (such as to preserve assets or documents)?

The position is different depending on whether the arbitration is domestic or international.

In domestic arbitration proceedings, the arbitrators cannot grant provisional remedies, nor modify or revoke any provisional remedies granted by the courts.

In international arbitration proceedings which are governed by law 2735/99 unless agreed otherwise the arbitral tribunal may grant any such interim measures it considers appropriate and necessary.

29. Award
When and in what form must the award be delivered?

The arbitral award must be issued in writing and must be signed by all arbitrators. The award must contain:

- the names of the arbitrators,

- the place and date the award is issued,

- the names of the parties,

- the arbitration agreement,

- the rationale (arbitral reasoning) and

- the decision

Generally the arbitration must be completed within the time specified within the arbitration agreement, in the absence of which it should be competed within a reasonable time. Any party to the arbitration can apply to the court to set a deadline.

30. Appeal
On what grounds can an award be appealed to the court? Is there a right of further appeal?

If it has been expressly agreed in the arbitration agreement, the arbitral award can be challenged before another arbitration tribunal.

Although an arbitral award cannot be appealed before the ordinary civil courts, it can be annulled if any of the following grounds apply:

  • The arbitration agreement was invalid.
  • The award was issued after the arbitration agreement ceased to have effect.
  • If the arbitrators were appointed in breach of the agreement, or the general law, or if the parties to the arbitration had revoked their appointment.
  • If the arbitrators abused the power conferred to them by the agreement or vested in them by law.
  • If the principle of equality of arms was not observed,
  • if the majority rules were not observed,
  • if the required content of the award is missing.
  • If the award is contrary to the public order or the bonnes moeurs.
  • If the award contains inconsistent provisions.
  • if there any grounds to re-open the case (as listed in art.544 exist)

The action for annulment can be challenged further by means of a review in cassation before the Supreme Court.


31. Enforcement
What procedures exist for enforcement of foreign and domestic awards?

Once all possible appeals have been exhausted, domestic arbitral awards constitute res judicata and adequate enforceable title.

Foreign arbitral awards automatically constitute res judicata if the following requirements are satisfied:

  • the arbitration agreement on which the decision was based is valid under the laws of the state which governed the agreement.
  • the dispute can be submitted to arbitration under Greek law,
  • there is no appeal, revocation or any other petitions pending
  • the defeated party was not deprived of its right to defend itself during the arbitration proceedings
  • no issues of res judicata arising out of a Greek Judgment exist; and
  • the award is not contrary to public policy and the bonnes moeurs

In the absence of other applicable treaties, enforceability of foreign arbitral awards is decided according to the New York Convention 1957.


32. Costs
Can a successful party recover its costs?

In international arbitration proceedings, in the absence of an express agreement as to costs, the arbitral tribunal, having regard to the facts of the case and the outcome of the arbitration, it allocates the costs between the parties.

In domestic arbitration proceedings, the arbitral tribunal determines who is liable to pay the costs. The relevant articles of the CPP (ie as to how the costs would be allocated if the case was tried before a court) are interpreted by analogy. It is possible that each party bears its own costs. Any cost related awards, could not reflect the actual expenditure incurred by the winning party.


ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION

33. Types of ADR
What types of ADR process are commonly used (mediation, conciliation, early neutral evaluation, adjudication, etc)? Is a particular ADR process popular?

ADR is not a very common means of resolving disputes in Greece.

Nonetheless, although litigation and negotiations between the parties’ lawyers are the principal methods of dispute resolution, some types of ADR (such as mediation and med-arb) are increasingly gaining popularity among certain industry sectors.

34. Requirements for ADR

Is there a requirement for the parties to litigation or arbitration to consider ADR before or during proceedings? Can the court or tribunal compel the parties to participate in an ADR process?

Greek courts will not compel a party to engage in ADR.

However, the CCP provides that a compulsory attempt for pre-trial settlement is made for large disputes which are allocated at the MMCFI. (See q. 4)

Failure to comply with the above requirement might lead to the claim being struck off.

MISCELLANEOUS

35. Are there any particularly interesting features of the dispute resolution system not addressed in any of the previous questions?

Points of procedure together with points of substantive law and any factual allegations are all dealt with at the same time (ie at trial). That is to say, there is no possibility of filing applications seeking to struck off the claim on procedural grounds prior to the hearing.

Furthermore, in Greece there is no equivalent procedural device to a summary judgement. However in certain instances a claimant can issue an order for payment (which is a relatively fast procedure)

Defamation privilege does not extend to the action and any other documents lodged with the court. It is common practice for defendants to bring counter-claims or fresh proceedings in defamation, particularly in the case of intentional torts (which are liked to a criminal behaviour).

UPDATE & TRENDS

Are there any proposals for dispute resolution reform? When will any reforms take effect? (Please also mention any ground-breaking recent cases, etc.)

The Greek government is in the process of passing a decree to update the CCP. Proposals for reform include raising the limits of competence of value and creation of one member courts of appeal.

Leoforos Aleksandras 57, Athens Greece - Tel: 210 2717137 - Fax: 210 2718481