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In Greece, generally, ADR has not been developed. This out-of-court practice is virtually unknown.
Articles 208 to 214 in Chapter One of the Code of Civil Procedure (hereinafter “the CCiv.P”) deal with the attempt at conciliation which may precede the filing of a lawsuit, although the mechanism is rarely used.
Anyone who intends to bring an action may, before filing the suit, request an attempt at conciliation by the justice of the peace who has local jurisdiction, even if that magistrate would not have jurisdiction to try the substance of the case. To that end, either a request, which must provide a short description of the dispute, is submitted to the magistrate, or the parties spontaneously appear before the magistrate in person. When a request for conciliation is submitted, the magistrate summons all the parties to appear before him as soon as possible on a specific day at a specific time. The invitation of the magistrate must make a brief mention of the dispute. If the parties appear before him spontaneously together, the magistrate may proceed straightaway with the attempt at conciliation. The attempt need not take place in public, but minutes of the magistrate's intervention must be kept. When attempting conciliation the magistrate examines the whole dispute with the parties, without being bound by the procedural and substantive law in force, assesses the facts freely by himself and tries to find a way to conciliation. In particular, the magistrate has the right to order inspection at first hand, the taking of expert opinion, the furnishing of any document and the appearance of the parties in person, and may examine witnesses, even without putting them under oath, and generally take any action to clarify the dispute. The conciliation may relate to the dispute in its entirety or only to a part of it. A short statement of the magistrate's actions in pursuit of conciliation is made in the minutes. If the attempt at conciliation fails, the fact is noted in the minutes and the magistrate states the reason for the failure. If conciliation is achieved, all the terms are stated in detail in the minutes.
Efforts to find another method of ADR began in 1995. Article 214A of the CCiv.P (which, after repeated postponements, entered into force only in 1999 for suits filed from 16 September 2000 onwards) provides: “Suits concerning disputes in private law which by reason of their subject‑matter fall within the jurisdiction of the multi-member court of first instance in ordinary proceedings, and in respect of which conciliation is permissible under substantive law, may not be heard unless there has been a prior attempt to find an out-of-court settlement. When drawing up the record of the filing of the suit and setting the date of the hearing, the registrar shall affix a clear stamp on the original and the copies stating that the case cannot be heard if there has not been a prior attempt to achieve an out-of-court settlement of the dispute.” The summons to the hearing must also include an invitation to the defendant to attend at the office of the plaintiff's lawyer or at the offices of the law society of that lawyer, on a specific day at a specific time, to attempt to find an out-of-court settlement. The party thus invited must appear with a lawyer or be represented by a lawyer with special power of attorney. The lawyers may jointly fix another date for the meeting or postpone the meeting to another day and time at a specified place. The meetings to achieve an-out-of court settlement of the dispute take place within a period from the fifth day after the service of notice of the suit to the thirty-fifth day before the date fixed for the hearing. At the meetings, the parties, with their lawyers or represented by the lawyers to whom they have given power of attorney, and assisted also, if they wish, by a third person chosen jointly, are to examine the dispute in its entirety, as well as any cross-action of the defendant, without being bound by the provisions of substantive law. They are to use all appropriate means to ascertain the key facts and the points on which they agree or disagree, as well as the consequences which they accept or dispute, with a view to achieving a mutually acceptable solution of the dispute in whole or in part. If the parties arrive at a solution of the dispute in whole or in part, a minute is drawn up, with exemption from duties, stating the content of their agreement and, in particular, the nature of the acknowledged right, the sum attaching to the due performance and any terms under which the performance will be fulfilled. The agreement is restricted to the dispute which is the subject of the suit. In addition, the costs are determined and imposed in accordance with the provisions of Article 176 et seq. The minute is dated and signed by the litigants or their lawyers in as many originals as there are litigants or groups of litigants. Each party may furnish an original of the minute to the president of the multi-member court of first instance before which the action is pending and request him to ratify it. The president ratifies the minute after verifying, a) that the dispute can be the subject of out-of-court settlement in accordance with paragraph 1, b) that the minute has been signed lawfully and, c) that the nature of the acknowledged right and any sum attaching to the due performance are made clear in the minute. If an order for performance was also sought in the dispute, the minute permits enforcement upon ratification, and the president appends the enforcement order to it at the same time. If only a declaratory judgment was sought, the minute evidences the right acknowledged. In every case ratification of the minute results in termination of the court action.
If an agreement is not reached, a minute noting the failure of the attempt to find an out-of-court settlement, in which the causes of the failure may be set out, is drawn up and signed. If a joint minute is not signed, the lawyer of the plaintiff or of another party draws up a statement in which the causes of the failure may be set out. The lawyer of the opposing party may draw up a similar statement. The failure minute or the statements are lodged during the hearing together with the pleadings. A special failure minute or statements do not have to be drawn up in the case of a partial agreement.
Unfortunately, this ADR mechanism has not produced the anticipated results and is functioning only as a procedural prerequisite for the hearing of actions in court.
The only ADR mechanism which can be considered operative in Greece is arbitration.
Chapter Seven of the CCiv.P (Articles 867 to 903) is given over to arbitration and lays down conditions governing the mechanism.
All private law disputes, other than those relating to the provision of dependent labour, can be taken to arbitration, provided that the parties to the arbitration have the authority to dispose freely of the subject‑matter of the dispute. The parties can make even future disputes subject to arbitration, but in that case the agreement must be in writing and refer to a specific legal relationship from which disputes may originate. An agreement to submit to arbitration may also be made before a court during the hearing of a case. One or several persons or even an entire court may be appointed as arbitrators.
If the arbitration agreement does not appoint the arbitrators or stipulate the method of their appointment, each party appoints one arbitrator. If there are several arbitrators, and the agreement does not stipulate otherwise, the arbitrators have to appoint the presiding arbitrator. The appointment of an arbitrator by one of the parties, the appointment of a presiding arbitrator by the other arbitrators and the appointment of arbitrators by a third person cannot be revoked.
A list of arbitrators drawn up by the multi-member court of first instance is kept at each single-member court of first instance. A person who is appointed as an arbitrator is not obliged to accept the appointment. The party bringing the other to arbitration makes an advance payment of half the remuneration of the arbitrator or arbitrators, as determined by Article 882 of the CCiv.P. The arbitration award stipulates which party is to pay the remuneration and the costs.
The procedure is conducted in the presence of the arbitrators acting in concert. The arbitrators determine the place and time of the arbitration and the procedure to be followed as they see fit, unless the arbitration agreement stipulates otherwise. During the arbitration the parties have the same rights and the same obligations, and the principle of equality is observed. The parties must be summoned to appear and to put forward their arguments orally or in writing, as decided by the arbitrators, and to furnish their evidence. The presiding arbitrator directs the discussion. Appearance with a lawyer or representation by a lawyer may not be prevented. Witnesses and experts can be questioned on oath or without taking an oath. If the arbitration agreement does not stipulate otherwise, the arbitrators apply the provisions of substantive law. The arbitration award must be drawn up in writing and be signed by the arbitrators. It must state: a) the full names of the arbitrators; b) the place and time of issue of the decision; c) the full names of those who took part in the arbitration procedure; d) the agreement to seek arbitration on which the decision is based; e) the grounds; f) the operative part. The arbitration award is not open to review. It may be annulled in whole or in part by a court judgment only for one of the following reasons: 1) if the arbitration agreement was invalid; 2) if the award was issued after the arbitration agreement had expired; 3) if the persons who issued the award were appointed in violation of the terms of the arbitration agreement or of the provisions of law, or if the parties had withdrawn them, or if they ruled in spite of the acceptance of an application for their exclusion; 4) if the persons who issued the award overstepped the authority given to them by the arbitration agreement or by the law; 5) if provisions of Article 886(2) (discontinuance of the agreement) or of Articles 891 and 892 (content of the arbitration award) were violated; 6) if the decision is contrary to public order provisions or to moral conventions; 7) if the decision is incomprehensible or contains contradictory provisions; 8) if there is a reason for review under Article 544 of the CCiv.P.
Article 902 of the CCiv.P provides that standing arbitration arrangements may be established at chambers of commerce and the like, stock and commodity exchanges and professional associations which are legal persons governed by public law, via orders issued on a proposal of the Minister for Justice and the minister responsible for supervision of the chamber, exchange or association, following the issue of a prior opinion by the board of management of the body concerned.
As already explained in the factsheet "ADR – community law", the Commission has published on its website the list of a large number of ADR bodies for resolving consumer disputes in all the Member States. You will find in this list the practical information you need to decide whether to have recourse to one of these ADR schemes: its structure, its domain, the kind of procedure it follows, its cost and details. You may consult this list at the following web address: Consumer affairs.
It may well be that you need to have recourse to an ADR body established in another Member State. To know precisely which body to go to, you may consult the web pages of the EEJ-Net or of the FIN-NET in case of a conflict concerning financial services.
As stated previously, there is no specific ADR mechanism.
A form of ADR exists through the intervention of the local Labour Inspectorate. The employer is invited to the local Labour Inspectorate at the employee's request, and an official of the Inspectorate helps in the search for a resolution of the dispute. This procedure does not cost anything.
As stated previously, there is no specific ADR mechanism.
As stated previously, there is no specific ADR mechanism.
As stated previously, there is no specific ADR mechanism.Top
Last update: 19-05-2006