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Last update: 01-06-2007
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Jurisdiction of the courts - Greece

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If you want to initiate legal proceedings in civil or commercial matters, you will have to identify the court that is competent to deal with your case or, in other words, has jurisdiction. If you use the wrong court or if there is a dispute over the question of jurisdiction you run the risk of a considerable delay in the proceedings or even of a dismissal of your case because of a lack of jurisdiction.



 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. Should I apply to an ordinary civil court or to a specialised court? A.
B. Where the ordinary civil courts have jurisdiction how can I find out which one I should apply to? B.
I. Is there a distinction between lower and higher ordinary civil courts and if so which one is competent for my case? I.
II. Territorial jurisdiction (Does the court of city/town A or of city/town B have jurisdiction for my case?) II.
1. The basic rule of territorial jurisdiction 1.
2. Exceptions to the basic rule 2.
a) When can I choose between the court in the place where the defendant lives (court determined by the application of the basic rule) and another court? a)
b) When do I have to choose a court other than that in the place where the defendant lives (court determined by the application of the basic rule)? b)
c) Can the parties themselves attribute jurisdiction to a court that would not be competent otherwise? c)

 

A. Should I apply to an ordinary civil court or to a specialised court?

In Greece in general there are no specialised courts, only ordinary courts. Nevertheless, if your case is related to a Community trademark dispute [from among those falling within the scope of Council Regulation (EEC) No 40/94 concerning Community trademarks] you should only apply to the Courts of Athens and Thessaloniki.

B. Where the ordinary civil courts have jurisdiction how can I find out which one I should apply to?

In the majority of cases the jurisdiction of courts is determined by the value of the claim. In order to assess the value of the claim regard is had to the main claim in the action without taking into account subordinate claims. Where several claims are raised in the same action they are all taken into account.

I. Is there a distinction between lower and higher ordinary civil courts and if so which one is competent for my case?

The Courts of the Peace, Single-Member Courts of First Instance and Multi-Member Courts of First Instance are competent to hear civil cases at first instance.

The Courts of the Peace are primarily competent to hear a) all disputes which can be assessed in monetary terms where the value of the claim does not exceed € 5,900 b) all disputes, whether main or subordinate, arising from rental agreements, where in such cases the agreed monthly rental fee does not exceed € 293.47.

The Courts of the Peace are also competent regardless of the value of the claim, for most disputes arising from the proximity of real estate properties, disputes arising from the relationship between hoteliers and their guests, and disputes arising from the sale of animals, etc.

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All disputes whose cash value can be assessed above € 5,900 but below € 44,000 fall within the competence of the Single-Member Court of First Instance.

The Single-Member Court of First Instance is also competent even if the value of the claim exceeds € 44,000 in the case of disputes involving rental agreements, contracts of work, the provision of work or items constructed by professionals or craftsmen, disputes involving collective contracts of work, disputes between social security organisations and persons insured with them, pay disputes, expert, arbitrator and assessor remuneration and expenses disputes, disputes relating to claims for compensation from any form of losses involving cars as well as claims arising from car insurance contracts, and disputes involving the possession or ownership of movable and immovable property.

The Single-Member Court of First Instance is always competent to try disputes, regardless of their value, relating to alimony from marriage, divorce or kinship, parent’s rights, disputes between parents while exercising their parental rights, and communication between parents and other ascendants and the child, arrangements of how the family home is to be used and the allocation of moveable property between spouses, as well as disputes relating to , arrangements of how the family home is to be used and the allocation of moveable property between spouses in the case where they cease to live together, disputes relating to condominium rights within apartment buildings and disputes relating to the cancellation of decisions taken by the General Meeting of associations or cooperatives.

The Multi-Member Court of First Instance is competent for:

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  1. all disputes which the Courts of the Peace and Single-Member Court of First Instance are not competent for, and
  2. appeals against the decisions of Courts of the Peace within their territorial jurisdiction.

II. Territorial jurisdiction (Does the court of city/town A or of city/town B have jurisdiction for my case?)

1. The basic rule of territorial jurisdiction

The court in the area in which the plaintiff is domiciled is the competent court.

If the plaintiff is not domiciled in either Greece or abroad, the competent court is the one in the area where he has his habitual residence. If the place where he is habitually resident is not known, the competent court is the one in the area where his last place of domicile in Greece was and if there was no place of domicile, his last place of habitual residence.

The State is subject to the jurisdiction of the court in whose region the authority, which represents the state pursuant to law in trials in each case, has its seat.

Legal entities capable of being involved in legal proceedings are subject to the competence of the court in whose region their seat is located.

2. Exceptions to the basic rule
a) When can I choose between the court in the place where the defendant lives (court determined by the application of the basic rule) and another court?

Where there is a choice of competent courts the plaintiff has the choice. Priority between those courts is determined by the time at which the action was lodged.

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If the court does not have material or territorial jurisdiction, the court acting ex officio shall issue a ruling on that matter and shall decide on which court is competent and shall refer the case to it. The consequences resulting from filing the action are unaffected.

Contractual disputes

Disputes relating to the existence or validity of an inter vivos legal transaction and all rights deriving from it can also be brought before the court within whose territorial jurisdiction the legal transaction was entered into or where fulfilment was made. Disputes for liquidated damages and for compensation due to delict during negotiations can also be brought before the same court.

Tort

Tort-related disputes can be brought before the court within whose territorial jurisdiction the tort was committed even if the claim relates to a person who has no criminal liability.

Claims for damages

Claims for damages and restitution resulting from crimes and for financial satisfaction due to moral harm or mental anguish can be brought before the criminal court handling the case.

Alimony, divorce, parental rights cases

All marital disputes (disputes relating to alimony due, the exercise of parental rights, disagreements between parents on the joint exercise of those parental rights, as well as communication between parents and other ascendants and the child, and the settlement of use of the family home and allocation of property between spouses and disputes relating to settlement of the family home and allocation of property between spouses in the case where they cease to live together) can also be brought before the court within whose territorial jurisdiction the spouses' last shared home was located.

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b) When do I have to choose a court other than that in the place where the defendant lives (court determined by the application of the basic rule)?

Disputes relating to proprietary rights over real estate property and disputes relating to the rental of real estate property are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the court within whose territorial jurisdiction that property is located.

[If the property is located within the territorial jurisdiction of several courts, the plaintiff has the right to choose].

Disputes relating to inheritance issues are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the court within whose territorial jurisdiction the testator, when he died, was domiciled or if not domiciled where he was habitually resident.

Inter-related trials (main and subordinate actions), particularly subordinate actions, actions for guarantees, interventions and other similar proceedings are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the court in the main action.

Subordinate actions within the competence of the Single-Member Court of First Instance and Court of the Peace fall within the jurisdiction of the Multi-Member Court of First Instance trying the main action while subordinate actions within the competence of the Court of the Peace fall within the jurisdiction of the Single-Member Court of First Instance trying the main action.

c) Can the parties themselves attribute jurisdiction to a court that would not be competent otherwise?

A first instance ordinary court, which does not have territorial jurisdiction may, with the express or tacit consent of the parties, become competent except in the case of disputes which do not relate to assets. This agreement must be express in the case of disputes where exclusive competence rules apply.

Tacit agreement is considered to exist if the defendant attends the first hearing in open court and does not raise a plea on lack of competence in due time.

Agreement between the parties making an ordinary court competent for future disputes is valid only if drawn up in written format and reference is made to a specific legal relationship from which those disputes arise.

« Jurisdiction of the courts - General information | Greece - General information »

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Last update: 01-06-2007

 
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