Deadlines are the final dates by which a deed must be effected or by which it must be received in order for the case to be heard or for a deed to be effected. The aim of enacting deadlines is to speed up the administration of justice and safeguard the right to a hearing. Procedural deadlines are deadlines which have procedural consequences when adhered to or missed. There are two main types of deadline: 1) deadlines for ACTION are deadlines by which the procedural act must be effected, such as the statutory deadline for filing an appeal (cf. Article 318(1) of the Code of Civil Procedure) and 2) PREPARATORY deadlines are deadlines after which the procedural act must be effected. These deadlines, such as the deadline for summoning the defendant (Article 228 of the Code of Civil Procedure) are usually for the benefit of the defendant, in that they give him time to prepare. This distinction is important because deadlines for action may be extended by agreement between the parties, while preparatory deadlines cannot be extended. Deadlines for action which fall on a public holiday expire the following working day, while preparatory deadlines expiry on their expiry date, irrespective of whether it falls on a non-working day or public holiday. The following are some of the most important procedural deadlines in the Code of Civil Procedure:
Procedural deadlines are laid down in the Code of Civil Procedure and in other procedures, such as those relating to marital differences (divorce, annulment, etc.), bankruptcy notices, applications to set aside bankruptcy notices by default (cf. Article 632 of the Code of Civil Procedure), salary disputes, labour disputes, injunctions, enforcement and applications to set aside enforcement by default.
Non-working days in Greece are listed in law 1157/1981, although the list is not exhaustive. The criterion for a non-working day is that no transactions in general are effected and non-working days for specific professions or services are therefore immaterial. They may be national, religious or other holidays, including local or temporary holidays. Public holidays are non-working days for government services. The following qualify as public holidays: 25th March (national holiday), 28th October (national holiday), 1st January, Epiphany (6th January), Good Friday, Easter Saturday, 1st May, 15th August, Christmas Day and Boxing Day, Boxing Day, Whit Monday, Ash Monday, Easter Monday and every Sunday.
Articles 144 to 151 of the Code of Civil Procedure refer to procedural time limits. A distinction is made, depending on the source of the time limit, between statutory time limits (time limits set by law, such as time limits for instituting legal proceedings), judicial time limits (time limits set by the court hearing the case, such as the time limit for the parties to report in person, cf. Article 245 of the Code of Civil Procedure), deferral time limits (time limits which cause the hearing to be adjourned as a sanction for non-compliance) and mandatory time limits (time limits which result in forfeiture of the right as a sanction for non-compliance). The starting point and expiry dates of time limits are discussed below. A time limit is suspended if one party dies before it expires. If the suspended time limit commenced with service of a document, the new time limit will commence on service of the same document on the deceased's statutory successors. If it started from some other event, the new time limit will commence on service of a statement to that effect on the above persons. If a case is adjourned before a time limit expires, the time limit will be suspended and the new time limit will commence when the case resumes. The period from 1st to 31st August is disregarded for the purpose of the deadlines for action referred to in Article 147(7) of the Code of Civil Procedure (which include deadlines for instituting proceedings and deadlines for applications to set aside a judgment by default.
The law allows time limits to be extended both by agreement between the parties and by consent of the judge. Both statutory and judicial time limits can be extended, provided that this does not affect third party rights. Judges are not bound by the contents of an application to extend the agreement and may admit it in part or dismiss it, depending on their appraisal of the individual circumstances. In other words, the parties must cite and submit grounds which justify the extension. Finally, time limits may be shortened by agreement between the parties and judicial decision. All statutory time limits can be curtailed, with the exception of time limits for instituting proceedings.
The period starts the day after the starting point occurred (a momento ad momentum). Deadlines generally expire at 19:00 hours on their expiry date. Deadlines for action which fall on a public holiday expire the following day. Deadlines are also extended if they fall on a Saturday. If the second day after the deadline is also a public holiday, the deadline is extended to the next day which is not a public holiday. The purpose of starting the period the following day is to avoid losing a day when the starting point (usually service) occurs just before 19:00 hours. It is immaterial if the next day (i.e. the day on which the period commences) is a non-working day, nor does it matter if non-working days occur during the period, unless the law explicitly stipulates otherwise (cf. Article 632 of the Code of Civil Procedure on applications to set aside bankruptcy notices by default).
There is no provision in the Code of Civil Procedure for time limits to be extended or shortened if documents are transmitted or sent by post or other form of transport service.
The day on which the starting point occurs can only be counted if explicitly permitted by law or in the judicial decision or contract. This does not apply to the provision that the period starts on service. Thus the important deadlines for lodging an appeal, appeal in cassation or application to set aside judgment by default commence the day after service or publication of the judgment. If, however, it is stipulated that the period commences from a specific day, that day counts. Where the starting point of the period is service, knowledge of the contents of the document to be served acquired by some other means is immaterial for the purpose of calculating the deadline (cf. above - reply 4).
In most cases, as stated above, the fact that the period includes non-working days is immaterial. Working days only count when express provision is made to that effect (such as for the deadline for applications to set aside a bankruptcy notice by default, which generally expires on Monday, 18 April (sic)).
Again, if the period is expressed in months or years, the fact that it includes non-working days is irrelevant.
As the rule is that deadlines set by law or by the court commence the day after the starting point, their final expiry date is established in relation to the day after the starting point.
If the period is expressed in years, it expires at the end of the same day in the final year. For example, if a court judgment is published on 8 May 2000, the three-year period for lodging an appeal expires on 9 May 2003 (whereby it is immaterial for the purpose of calculation if one year is a leap year).
If the period is expressed in months, it expires at the end of the same day as the starting day in the last month. If there is no such day, it expires on the last day of the month (whereby the number of days in each month is immaterial).
A half-year period is six (6) months long and a period of a fortnight is fifteen (15) days long.
If the period is expressed in hours, intervening public holidays are not counted. The last hour is found by reference to when the period started, which is the first hour after the starting point. For example, if an affidavit has been scheduled for 10:00, the summons will have been made on time if served at 9:40.
If the period expires on a public holiday or a Saturday, it is extended until the next day which is not a public holiday, even where the period has as a starting point a future event.
There is no provision in the Code of Civil Procedure for deadlines to be increased for residents of remote or separate geographical parts of Greece. If, however, the party lives outside Greece or is of unknown whereabouts, the Code of Civil Procedure makes provision for a longer deadline, depending on the procedure.
Again, there is no statutory provision for deadlines to be increased on grounds of distance, regardless of whether or not the seat of the court is a long way from the party's place of residence. The deadline is generally the same for all parties. However, there is special provision for parties resident outside Greece.
The time limits for appeals are regulated in Article 518(1) of the Code of Civil Procedure. If the appellant lives in Greece, it is thirty (30) days and if he lives abroad or is of unknown whereabouts, it is sixty (60) days. The time limit of sixty (60) days does not apply to persons abroad temporarily (on holiday or absent for a few days for a specific purpose), but is of a certain duration depending on their professional or family circumstances.
The Greek legal system accepts that the claim to legal protection includes both definitive and temporary legal protection, regardless of the nature of the dispute. The injunctions procedure (cf. Articles 682-738 of the Code of Civil Procedure) regulates cases where, in order to take account of the urgency of the case or in order to avert an imminent danger, the court may order measures to secure or maintain a right or regulate a situation and then modify or revoke them. As such cases are urgent, the judge is responsible for stipulating the time and place at which the application for the injunction will be heard and he must act quickly, but with due account for the parties' right to a hearing. The judge may therefore choose the method of summons and the deadline for summoning the parties at his discretion, even where they are resident abroad or of unknown whereabouts, and the hearing may be set for a Sunday or public holiday. With the exception of injunctions, the deadlines referred to above apply in other civil procedures and there is no provision for them to be extended.
This does not exist in the Greek legal system.
There are no procedural consequences for non-observance of periods for court action. If a deadline by which the parties must take action passes without their taking any action, they forfeit their right. With preparatory deadlines, the outcome is different, for example the case may be dismissed (cf. Article 271(1) of the Code of Civil Procedure).
Restoration of the status quo ante is a legal remedy provided for under the Constitution which allows a party who missed a deadline for reasons of force majeure or dishonesty on the part of the other party to apply for restoration of the status quo ante prior to expiry of the deadline.
However, an application for restoration of the status quo ante cannot be filed if it is based on a) fault on the part of the applicant's briefed lawyer or legal agent, b) circumstances on which the judge ruled during examination of an application for an extension to the deadline or an adjournment in order to grant the relevant extension or adjournment. The application must state why the deadline was missed, the evidence that will allow the truth to be established and the deed that was overlooked or state that it has already been effected. The application for restoration of the status quo ante must be heard within thirty (30) days of the day on which the impediment constituting force majeure ceased to apply or knowledge was obtained of the other party's dishonesty and a new application cannot be filed if the above deadline is missed (cf. Articles 152-158 of the Code of Civil Procedure).Top
Last update: 22-06-2007