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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.
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).
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).
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).
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)
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,
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).
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).
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.
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)
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.
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.
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).
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.
Last update: 18-07-2006