As with the other legal systems in continental Europe, which are based on Roman law, the sources of law which underpin the Greek legal order are very specific.
Under Article 26 of the Constitution, legislative power is vested in Parliament and the President of the Republic. Only these two state bodies have the power to legislate or to assign part of this power to other state bodies.
The highest form of binding law in the Greek state is the Constitution. The present Constitution was adopted in 1975 and underwent minor amendments in 1986 and 2001. It is the apex of the pyramid of the Greek legal system.
Immediately below the Constitution are the laws adopted by Parliament. The right of legislative initiative rests with Parliament and the Government. Laws are published in full in the Government Gazette. Many legal journals publish the texts of laws, sometimes in special editions. In addition there are at least two legal databases where legislation can be found in electronic form (http://www.dsanet.gr and http://lawdb.intrasoftnet.com).
However, in accordance with Article 28 of the Constitution, generally acknowledged rules of international law and international conventions that have been ratified by statute and have entered into force in accordance with their respective provisions form an integral part of domestic Greek law and take precedence over any provision of law that contradicts them.
Under Article 43 of the Constitution, the President of the Republic, acting on the proposal of the competent Minister, issues the decrees necessary to implement the laws and may not suspend the implementation of laws or exempt anyone from their application. For the regulation of more specific matters, matters of local interest and matters of a technical or detailed nature, regulatory decrees may be issued on the basis of special authorisation given by law, within the limits laid down in the authorisation; Regulatory acts may be issued by other administrative bodies.
Under Article 1 of the Civil Code (which is an Act), “the rules of law are contained in legal acts and customs.” However, in the Greek legal system the role of custom as a source of law is negligible, if not non-existent.
Unlike the Anglo-Saxon system, court rulings do not constitute a source of law. The courts interpret existing laws and their rulings are an important source of interpretation of the law. Many legal journals publish interesting rulings and it is possible to find many court rulings of all levels in the electronic legal databases mentioned above.Top
Last update: 25-05-2006