On matters of proof, Greek law follows the “principle of party prosecution”. This means that the court acts only on the application of a party and decides on the basis of the factual claims made and demonstrated by parties and of the applications that they submit. Procedural steps are taken at the instigation of the party, unless the law provides otherwise. Each party is required to demonstrate only the facts that have a bearing on the judgment of the case and that are necessary to support his independent claim or counter-claim. An application from a party that is not demonstrated is rejected.
Where the law stipulates some evidence for the existence of a fact, counter-evidence is allowed, unless otherwise provided. Facts that are so well-known that there can be no reasonable doubt that they are genuine or that are known to the court from another judicial procedure are automatically taken into consideration, without evidence. Finally, the court automatically takes into consideration the precepts of common experience, without evidence. The laws, customs and usages of other countries are automatically taken into consideration, although if the court is not familiar with them it may require evidence.
The court freely judges the evidence and decides according to its conscience whether the statements are genuine. In its decision it sets out the reasons that led the judge to form his opinion. Where the law deems that the balance of probabilities is sufficient (e.g. in precautionary measures), the court is not obliged to apply the provisions on the taking of evidence, the evidence itself and its force, but takes into consideration anything it deems appropriate in order to form an opinion as to the facts.
The basic principle is that the parties propose and provide the evidence. However, the court may of its own motion order the submission of any evidence allowed by law, even if the parties did not invoke it.
After the taking of evidence the court decides on the substance of the case, unless it finds that the evidence was insufficient, in which case it may once again order new, additional evidence to be submitted.
Evidence comprises confessions, expert reports, documents, the hearing of parties, witnesses, the oath of the party and presumptions of fact.
The provisions regarding witnesses are also applied when seeking to demonstrate past facts by examining persons who perceived those facts on the basis of their specialist knowledge. When experts are examined as witnesses, the same procedure is followed as for ordinary witnesses.
The oral or written confession of the party before the court or the delegated judge constitutes full proof against the person who has confessed, while confessions outside court proceedings and all other evidence are assessed freely.
Contracts and collective acts cannot be proven via witnesses if they are for a value of over €5 869.405, and the evidence of witnesses against the content of a document is not allowed, even if the legal act is for a value of less than GRD 2 million or €5 869.405. The evidence of witnesses is however allowed in the following cases:
Anyone who is called to be examined as a witness must appear and state the facts that they know. If the person fails to appear, without justification, the court records a decision ordering him to pay the expenses caused by his absence and may also impose a financial penalty.
A witness who appears and refuses to testify, even when required to do so, can be ordered by the court to pay a financial penalty.
The following cannot be examined as witnesses:
Persons related to the parties by blood or by marriage or by adoption up to the third degree, spouses (also after the dissolution of marriage) and persons engaged to be married may also refuse to testify.
Before he is examined a witness must be put under oath (by swearing a religious oath or by affirming). Witnesses are examined separately and only if it is deemed essential can they be cross-examined with other witnesses or with the parties. Witnesses give their evidence orally. Witnesses must state how they learned what they are testifying, and in the case of facts that they did not perceive directly, they must state the person who informed them of what they are testifying. The court may disallow questions put to witnesses by parties or their counsel if they are clearly pointless or irrelevant, and it declares the examination of a witness to be finished when it deems that he has stated everything he knows of the facts to be proved.
The court can consider legal evidence only. The concept of “legal” also includes the means by which the evidence was obtained. Evidence obtained illegally is illegal and is not taken into consideration.
Yes, the examination of parties is accepted as evidence.Top
Last update: 29-08-2007