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Last update: 18-07-2006
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Service of documents - Greece

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. What does the legal term “service of documents” mean in practical terms? Why are there specific rules on the “service of documents”? 1.
2. Which documents need to be served formally? 2.
3. Who is responsible for serving a document? 3.
4. How is the document in practice normally served? 4.
5. What happens when in exceptional cases service to the addressee himself is not possible? 5.
6. Is there any written proof that the document has been served? 6.
7. What happens if something goes wrong and the addressee does not receive the document or the service is effected in violation of the law (e.g. the document is served to a third person)? 7.
8. Do I have to pay for the service of a document, and if so, how much? 8.

 

1. What does the legal term “service of documents” mean in practical terms? Why are there specific rules on the “service of documents”?

The term “service of documents” refers to the notification of a document to its addressee, so that they become aware of its contents, in accordance with certain provisions of the law of procedure which designate the bodies, the means of enabling the people concerned to become aware of the document contents as well as the accreditation of the service in question.

2. Which documents need to be served formally?

Documents that need to be served formally are applications to set aside judgements by default, actions at law, appeals, cassations, revisions, third-party oppositions, notices of opposition to judicial and extra judicial acts, third-party proceedings, trial announcements and third-party notices, applications for safety measures, applications for the provision of legal protection under discretionary jurisdiction, summons for discussion and all legal rulings (definitive or not).

3. Who is responsible for serving a document?

A document’s service is administered by the litigant following a written order attached below the document served either by the litigant himself or by their legal representative or following an application by the judge competent and in case of a High Court, by the Chairman (Code of Civil Procedure 123). The document is served by a writ-server appointed to the court in whose area of jurisdiction the addressee of the document resides or inhabits at the time of the service (Code of Civil Procedure 122.1). Services administered by the court may as well be conducted by a legal writ-server appointed to the area of its jurisdiction or by a police officer, a gendarmerie officer, a rural police officer, a forest service officer or by the secretary of the municipality or the community (Code of Civil Procedure 122.2,3). In accordance with decrees issued following a motion tabled by the Minister of Defense all or certain of the aforementioned documents may also be served by mail, telegram or telephone and the means by which the such service should be carried out and confirmed may be designated (Code of Civil Procedure 122.3).

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With regard to matters of safety measures, the person concerned is notified about the place and time set for the debate via a document issued by the court registry which specifies the place, the day and the time set for the debate or via a telegraphic or telephonic summons by the court registry. The judge competent has the right to order the service of a copy of the application along with the service of the summons (Code of Civil Procedure 686.4).

4. How is the document in practice normally served?

A document is served when handed to the addressee (Code of Civil Procedure 127.1), wherever they are located (Code of Civil Procedure 124). If the addressee resides in the place where the document is to be served or runs a store, office or lab there either on their own or with a partner or works as an employee, worker or servant, the document cannot be served elsewhere without his consent (Code of Civil Procedure 124.2)

5. What happens when in exceptional cases service to the addressee himself is not possible?

In case the addressee is not in his residence the document is handed to one of his relatives or servants with whom they share lodgings provided they are present or in case there are no flatmates or other kinship, the document is handed to one of the neighbours who are conscious of their actions and are not involved in the trial as opposing parties of the person concerned. In case none of the people mentioned in paragraph 1 is present in the residence,

  1. the document must be pasted up on the door of the residence in front of a witness,
  2. on the following working day the latest, a copy of the document, drawn up free of duty, must be handed to the head of the police department or the police station of the residence district and if he is not present to the police officer on duty and in case there is not a police department or station within the district in which the residence is situated, the copy must be handed to the head of the community and if he is not present to the community secretary. In all the above cases the delivery of the copy is certified with a receipt drawn up free of duty below the report of the service mentioned hereunder under reference number 6,
  3. on the following working day the latest the server of the document has to post to the addressee a written notice which must inform the latter about the type of the document served, the address of the residence where it was pasted up, the date of the service, the authority which received the document and the delivery date. The postage of the notice is certified with a receipt drawn up and signed free of duty by the server, below the report of the service (mentioned hereunder under reference number 6). The post office by which the notice was sent and the name of the official who received and countersigned it (Code of Civil Procedure 128.4) must be included in the certificate.

If the addressee of the service is not in the store, office or lab, the document is handed to the manager of the store, office or lab or to one of the partners, employees or servants, provided they are conscious of their actions and are not involved in the trial as opponent parties of the addressee of the service (Code of Civil Procedure 129.1). If none of the people mentioned in paragraph 1 is in the store, the office or the lab, the provisions of article 128, paragraph 4 of the Code of Civil Procedure (Code of Civil Procedure 129.2).

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If the addressee of the service or the persons mentioned in articles 128 and 129 refuse to receive the document or sign the report of the service or if they are unable to sign it, the server pastes up the document on the door of the residence, the office, the store or the lab in front of a witness (Code of Civil Procedure 130.1).

If the addressee of the service does not have a permanent place of residence, an office, a store or a lab or refuses to receive the document or is unable to do so or refuses to sign the report of the service and such refusal or inability is confirmed by a witness engaged by the server for that particular purpose, the report is handed to the persons mentioned in article 128, paragraph 4, subparagraph b (Code of Civil Procedure 130, paragraph 2).

If the addressee of the service is in hospital or is incarcerated and not possible to contact, in accordance with a certificate by the head of the hospital or prison attached to the report of the service, the document may as well be served to the head of the hospital or prison, who is obliged to hand it to its addressee (Code of Civil Procedure 131).

If the addressee of the service works on a merchant ship which docks in a Greek port and if he is not present or refuses to receive the document or refuses to sign the report or is unable to do so, the document is served to the captain of the ship or to his deputy and if they too are not present or refuse to receive it, the document is served to the port authority chief, who is obliged to notify the addressee of the service (Code of Civil Procedure 132.1)

If the addressee of the service works on a merchant ship which does not dock in a Greek port, the document is served at their residence, in accordance with article 128 and if they do not have a permanent place of residence the document is served according to the provisions about service to persons of unknown residence. In any case the document is also served at the office of the ship owner in Greece otherwise at the office of the ship agent in a Greek port, if there is one (Code of Civil Procedure 132.2).

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For persons belonging to one of the categories listed hereunder and have not retired, if the document is not possible to be served to themselves or to their relatives or servants with whom they share lodgings, it is served according to paragraphs 3 and 4 of article 128.

  1. For persons who belong to the armed ground forces, the document is served to the commander of the unit, division or department of the addressee. If the unit, division or department the document is served to the chief of the correspondent service,
  2. for officers, lieutenants and seamen of the navy the document is served to the chief of the navy general staff,
  3. for officers, lieutenants and airmen of the air force the document is served to the chief of the air force general staff,
  4. for officers and lieutenants of the town police, the gendarmerie and the port police corps and for policemen, gendarmes and port guards the document is served to the head of their relevant department,
  5. for persons belonging to the lighthouse, port signal lights and port radio station personnel, the document is served to the port authority chief of the area where they work (Code of Civil Procedure).

If addressee of the service resides or has his/her seat abroad, the document is served to the public prosecutor of the court in which the trial is pending or it is bound to be held or which handed down the ruling served and in case of trials in the Justice of Peace, the document is served to the public prosecutor of the regional court in the district of which the Justice of Peace belongs. Documents concerning the execution are served to the public prosecutor of the regional court in the district of which the execution is conducted and extra judicial acts are served to the public prosecutor competent in the latter or current place of residence of the addressee abroad and if there is no place of residence known abroad they are served to the public prosecutor of the capital regional court (Code of Civil Procedure 132.1). Once the public prosecutor has received the document he has to send it without any intentional delay to the Minister of Foreign Affairs who is obliged to transfer it to the addressee (Code of Civil Procedure 134.3)

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If the place or the exact address of residence of the addressee is unknown, the provisions of article 134, paragraph 1 apply and at the same time a summary of the notice served is published in two daily newspaper one of which must be issued in Athens and the other in the seat of the court otherwise they must both be issued in Athens on the instruction of the public prosecutor to whom the document is served. The summary is drawn up and signed by the server and it must include the full names of the litigants, the type of notice served, its application and, in case of a ruling, the enacting terms, the court in which the trial is pending or is bound to be held or the name of the server and if the addressee is summoned to appear or to take a specific course of action it must include the place and time set for him to appear and the course of action he is liable to take (Code of Civil Procedure 135.1). The aforementioned apply also in cases the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirms that the document cannot be sent to a person who resides or has his/her seat abroad (Code of Civil Procedure 135.3).

 If the office or stores mentioned in articles 128, paragraph 4, row b, 131, 132 and 133 are closed or the authorities or persons referred to in the above articles refuse to receive the document or to sign the report of the service, the server draws up a report and delivers the document to the public prosecutor of the regional court, within the jurisdiction of whom the place of the service falls. He then sends the document to the person who had refused to accept it or to sign the report. In that case article 136 applies.

6. Is there any written proof that the document has been served?

The server of the document draws up a report which, apart from the provisions of article 117, must also comprise a) the order for service, b) a clear designation of the document served and the persons concerned, c) a reference to the day and time of the service, d) a reference to the addressee of the document and to the way it was served if the addressee or the persons referred to in articles 128 to 135 and 138 (Code of Civil Procedure 139.1) were not present or refused to receive it.

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The report is signed by the server and by the receiver of the document and in the event of refusal or inability of the latter to do so, it is signed by the witness engaged for that particular purpose too (Code of Civil Procedure 139.2).

The server of the document states on the document served the day and the time of the service and then signs it. That statement constitutes proof in favour of the addressee of the document. If there should be a disparity between the report of the service and the statement, the report overrides the statement (Code of Civil Procedure 139.3).

The report on article 139 is drawn up in two original copies, one of which is delivered to the person who had ordered the service whilst the other is entrusted to the server for safe-keeping, free of duty. A brief statement is made about the service in a special record book kept by the server (Code of Civil Procedure 140.1)

The legal writ-server is obliged to provide copies of the originals contained in his file to the person who had ordered the service and to its addressee and to whoever has a legitimate interest in it, after respective applications from their part, given the written approval on the application of the chairman of the regional court of the district where the document was served (Code of Civil Procedure 140.2).

7. What happens if something goes wrong and the addressee does not receive the document or the service is effected in violation of the law (e.g. the document is served to a third person)?

  1. If one of the litigants has been unable to comply with a time limit due to force majeure or intent from the opposing party’s part (such as void service by the writ-server if the receiver of the document intentionally failed to notify the litigant) they are entitled to ask for the restoration of the status quo ante (Code of Civil Procedure 152.1) within a thirty-day notice following the day the barrier consisting of the force majeure or the knowledge of the intent was rescinded (Code of Civil Procedure 153).
  2. A person judged by default if not at all summoned or not summoned legally or in due time is entitled to submit an application to set aside the ruling issued within a fifteen-day notice after the service of the ruling if they reside in Greece and within a sixty-day notice after the last issue of the summary of the report about the service of the ruling (Code of Civil Procedure 501, 503.1,2) according to article 135 paragraph 1, if they reside abroad or if their place of residence is unknown.
  3. If the litigant has summoned their opposing party to the trial as of residence unknown although they were aware of his residence, the latter, if beaten totally or partially, is entitled to apply for a revision against the ruling issued within a sixty-day notice if they reside in Greece and within a hundred and twenty-day notice following the service of the contested decision if they reside abroad or if their place of residence is unknown and if the ruling had not been served within a three-year notice following the issue of the contested ruling, provided it is definitive or irrevocable, or else following the day it became definitive(Code of Civil Procedure 538, 544 No 9, 544.1,2,3,5).

8. Do I have to pay for the service of a document, and if so, how much?

The expenses of the service are payable in advance by the person who orders the service (Code of Civil Procedure 173.1,3).

The litigant who was beaten in trial is sentenced to defray those expenses too (Code of Civil Procedure 176,189.1). The total expenses depend on the place and the type of the service. The minimum limit of service expenses amounts to eighteen to twenty euros if the document is to be served to a person who resides or inhabits the seat of the writ-server.

Further information

  1. The litigants and every other person concerned has the right to appoint a legal representative to whom the documents served will be delivered. That applies to all or certain judicial or extra judicial services addressed to them concerning one or more or all of their affairs (Code of Civil Procedure 142.1), as provided for in particular in articles 142 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
  2. The aforementioned means of service of documents do not include the means of service of documents provided for by the Hague Convention concerning the service of judicial or extra judicial acts in civil or commercial matters abroad, which has been ratified by the Greek Government, L 1334, 14/14-3-1983.

« Service of documents - General information | Greece - General information »

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Last update: 18-07-2006

 
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