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Last update: 23-03-2005
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Legal aid - Greece

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. What are the costs of a trial and who should normally pay them? 1.
2. What is legal aid? 2.
3. Can I benefit from legal aid? 3.
4. Can legal aid be obtained for all disputes? 4.
5. Is there a specific procedure for emergencies? 5.
6. Where can I obtain an application form for legal aid? 6.
7. Which documents should I attach to my request for legal aid? 7.
8. Where should I register my request for legal aid? 8.
9. How will I be informed of whether or not I am eligible for legal aid? 9.
10. If I qualify for legal aid, what should I do? 10.
11. If I qualify for legal aid, who will choose my lawyer? 11.
12. If I qualify for legal aid, will this cover all the costs of my trial? 12.
13. If I qualify for partial legal aid, who will pay the other costs? 13.
14. If I qualify for legal aid, will it cover any review I might make following the trial? 14.
15. If I qualify for legal aid, can it be withdrawn before the end of the trial (or even after the trial)? 15.
16. If I do not qualify for legal aid, can I appeal against this decision? 16.

 

1. What are the costs of a trial and who should normally pay them?

The main costs of a trial are the court costs for procedural acts and judicial stamp duty, charges for various funds, advance collection of barristers' fees, and bonds lodged against default. As a rule these costs have to be borne by the party who brings the action, but in the event that a party is defeated that party will be ordered to bear the costs.

2. What is legal aid?

Legal aid exempts the applicant from all legal costs, including judicial stamp duty, duty on the writ of execution, surcharges on these stamp duties, solicitor's and bailiff's fees, costs relating to witnesses and experts, and the fees of the barrister or other representative.

3. Can I benefit from legal aid?

The following are eligible for legal aid:
  1. anyone (any national) who can show that payment of his legal costs is liable to deprive him and his family of the means necessary for their maintenance;
  2. corporate bodies which are in the public interest or non-profit-making and groups of persons which have the right to take part in court proceedings if it is shown that payment of the costs of the proceedings would make it impossible or difficult for them to accomplish their aims;
  3. partnerships or associations if the partnership or association cannot pay the costs of proceedings and its members cannot do so without depriving themselves and their families of the means necessary for their maintenance;
  4. foreign nationals provided there are reciprocal arrangements, and stateless persons on the same conditions as apply to Greek nationals.

4. Can legal aid be obtained for all disputes?

Legal aid is available before all courts, civil, criminal and administrative.

It is available for both contentious and non-contentious proceedings.

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5. Is there a specific procedure for emergencies?

There is a specific procedure for emergencies which is always available for applications for legal aid.

6. Where can I obtain an application form for legal aid?

There is no special application form for legal aid. Legal aid is granted by: (a) the district court, (b) the (single-judge) regional court or (c) the president of the full regional court in which the proceedings are to be instituted or are pending; in matters unrelated to a trial, legal aid is granted by the district court of the place of residence of the applicant.

7. Which documents should I attach to my request for legal aid?

Legal aid is available if, as a result of payment of the cost of the case, the applicant may not be able to maintain himself or his family. As evidence of his circumstances, the applicant must submit:
  1. an attestation from the mayor or president of his municipality stating his financial and family circumstances and occupation, and certifying that he is unable to pay without risk to himself and his family; in the case of a non-profit-making corporate body, it must be shown that the accomplishment of its aims would be made impossible or difficult, and in the case of a partnership or association that the partnership or association cannot pay the costs of proceedings and its members cannot do so without depriving themselves and their families of the means necessary for their maintenance;
  2. an attestation from his local tax office certifying that in the previous three years the applicant has submitted an income-tax return and a return for any other tax due and that the returns have been checked by the tax office;
  3. in the case of a foreign national, an attestation from the Ministry of Justice certifying that there are reciprocal arrangements.

8. Where should I register my request for legal aid?

The request for legal aid should be made to one of the courts referred to above in accordance with the criteria already outlined.

9. How will I be informed of whether or not I am eligible for legal aid?

By any legal authority (such as a court, bar association, or ombudsman).

10. If I qualify for legal aid, what should I do?

You should apply to the court in the way described above.

11. If I qualify for legal aid, who will choose my lawyer?

The lawyer is chosen by the court which granted the aid at the aided person's request; in practice the aided person can influence the choice.

12. If I qualify for legal aid, will this cover all the costs of my trial?

See question 2.

13. If I qualify for partial legal aid, who will pay the other costs?

The applicant.

14. If I qualify for legal aid, will it cover any review I might make following the trial?

The granting of legal aid holds good for successive procedural stages and courts right up to the enforcement of judgments.

15. If I qualify for legal aid, can it be withdrawn before the end of the trial (or even after the trial)?

Legal aid may be withdrawn or restricted by the court, at the prosecutor's request or of its own motion, if the requirements for the granting of legal aid are not met or if the circumstances warranting legal aid no longer prevail or have changed.

Furthermore, if the aided party loses the case, he will still have to pay some or all of the costs of the winning party as soon as his circumstances improve and have been verified.

16. If I do not qualify for legal aid, can I appeal against this decision?

There is no right of appeal against a legal aid decision, but it may be reviewed.

Further information

If the applicant succeeds in securing legal aid on the basis of false statements or information, the court will order the withdrawal of legal aid and will impose a fine, without prejudice to the obligation on the applicant to repay the sums received, and without prejudice to the possibility of criminal prosecution.

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Last update: 23-03-2005

 
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