HOW THE CENTRAL AUTHORITY WORKS IN GREECE

This article will provide guidance on how the central authority works in Greece.  In order to meet the criteria set forth by the Hague Service Convention, the Central Authority in Greece is the liaison for international service of process. A party seeking to serve papers must file a request to the Central Authority in Greece. This will initiate the procedure. In accordance with the Hague Service Convention, this request usually comprises a filled-out Request Form that specifies the case, the papers that need to be served, and the parties concerned. Click Here for information on the Code of Civil Procedure in Greece.

It may be necessary to engage local process servers like those at Undisputed Legal to send the papers to the right court or take additional steps to complete the service. A ‘central authority’ in Greece is a body overseeing the processing of international requests for legal documents and services. Cases requiring cross-border concerns, such as service of process, taking of evidence, or execution of foreign verdicts, need a central authority for international legal cooperation. Click here for a video on International Process Service.

What does the Central Authority in Greece do?

Documents requesting service abroad must be submitted to the competent Public Prosecutor (of the Court of First Instance, Court of Appeal, or Supreme Court of Appeal) by the party’s lawyer. A competent public prosecutor, usually the prosecutor of the district in which the defendant resides, must issue an order authorizing the execution of the service of judicial and extrajudicial papers. The act of serving documents is carried out by process servers in accordance with the Civil Procedure Code. Click Here for Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers!

Greece has made it clear that in order to carry out official service, the document in question must be either written in Greek or translated into Greek. A fixed charge must be given to the competent public prosecutor for all official services under Article 5(1)(a). The Hellenic Ministry of Justice, Transparency, and Human Rights should be the beneficiary of bank transactions to settle the costs. The technique mentioned should be followed by all service requests. 

The public prosecutor’s offices of [A.] the Supreme Court, [B.] the courts of appeal, and [C.] the courts of first instance are the authorized competent authorities for the transmission of judicial or extrajudicial papers to be served in another Member State (the ‘transmitting agencies’). The local public prosecutor’s office at the courts of first instance is the authorized competent authority for the reception of judicial or extrajudicial papers from another Member State.

Within sixty (sixty) calendar days after the action is filed, service must be made in matters involving the standard process. Court papers cannot be served on Greek citizens by diplomatic agents or consular personnel on Greek soil, with the exception of documents intended for citizens of the issuing Member State. Here at Undisputed Legal, we know what it takes to provide excellent service. Due diligence norms vary from one country to another. Our process servers are available locally because of their familiarity with the region and training in proper service procedures.

Summons in Greece

Time constraints must be met for an action to be carried out or for a case to be heard. Time limitations have been instituted to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to be heard and that justice is served quickly. Time constraints with procedural ramifications must be adhered to, or procedures will be delayed. 

The parties must be summoned sixty days before the hearing after filing the action; however, if the party’s domicile is unknown or lives overseas, the deadline is ninety days before the hearing. If the party being tried in absentia lives in Greece, the deadline for requesting the judgment to be set aside is fifteen days after the decision was served. However, if the party that did not appear resides abroad or has an unknown domicile, the deadline is sixty days after the judgment was served. The deadline for filing an appeal is thirty days following the service of the final judgment if the appealing party is a Greek national. If the appealing party is a foreign national or whose domicile is unknown, the deadline for the service of the final judgment is sixty days foll. In the absence of such service, the deadline is three years from the publication of the judgment.

If the party initiating the proceedings lives in Greece, the trial may be reopened after sixty days. However, if the party’s domicile is unknown or overseas, the trial can be reopened within one hundred and twenty days (120 days) Laws and statutes are the foundation of modern Greek law, which draws heavily on precedents set by Germany and Rome.  The current version of the Greek Code of Civil Procedure contains the laws that regulate civil procedure in Greece.

It is the responsibility of the plaintiff(s) to ensure that the defendant(s) are served with the lawsuit within thirty days (for domestic residents) or sixty days (for residents of other countries or persons of unknown residence) from the date of lawsuit filing, as recorded in the court’s secretariat. The first required mediation session is a necessity for most litigation. During this session, the parties are informed of their right to settle the disagreement via this method.  The time between the lawsuit’s filing and the briefs’ filing is when the session occurs.

If the parties do not reach an amicable resolution via mediation, they are required to submit their pleadings and evidence within a hundred and twenty days for domestic residents and one hundred and eighty days for foreign residents or those whose residency is uncertain.  The day of filing the action marks the beginning of these deadlines.  After the time for submitting briefs has passed, the litigating parties may submit a supplemental document to refute the points made by the other side in their briefs within fifteen days.  This addendum is subject to the parties’ right to submit such evidence as may be required for the rebuttal. Due diligence and promptness are crucial while providing service, as failure to do so may result in a default decision.  Here, it could be helpful to enlist the aid of a private process-serving agency, such as Undisputed Legal.

Enforcement of justice in Greece

The parties to a lawsuit in Greece have the option to choose a court in Greece or another country to hear their case, according to Greek law.  The validity of such clauses is contingent upon their written documentation and their relation to the territorial jurisdiction of a court. If two entities with different headquarters agree that the courts in Athens will have exclusive jurisdiction over a dispute, then the clause is valid. 

In addition to hearing appeals from decisions made by the Magistrates’ Court, the Single-member Court of First Instance and the Three-member Court of First Instance sitting in jurisdictional areas that roughly coincide with the boundaries of their respective prefectures.  In general, the kind of dispute or the amount at stake determines which court handles the case.  The Appeal Court reviews cases previously heard by the Courts of First Instance and decides them again, taking a fresh look at the law and the merits of the case.  Typically, matters are heard by panels of five judges or by the whole bench (plenary session) at the Supreme Court of Greece, which has the authority to consider petitions for cassation challenging the judgments of all of Greece’s Appeal Courts.  Since it lacks the power to overturn factual judgments, the Supreme Court of Greece limits its exceptional review to matters of law.

Every party involved in a lawsuit should also consider court bailiff costs, expert witness fees, translation fees, and other such expenses.   At the time of filing, they are attached to all legal documents, including lawsuits, briefs, applications, and more, and they cost between €2-€18 per document. In addition to a stamp duty cost equivalent to 32.4% of the State fee, the plaintiff is required to pay a fee to the State (‘dikastiko ensimo’), the rate of which varies with the size of the claim and ranges from 4% to 8% of the amount sought. The party requesting the review must prepay a court charge ranging from €75 to €150 in the case of an appeal.  Additionally, the party initiating the cassation petition must prepay a court cost ranging from €250 to €450.

Pre Action Procedure

The lawyer must notify the client of the possibility of resolving the disagreement via mediation before legal action is taken.  To that purpose, a concise statement is drafted and included in the claim file. It is also usual practice for the plaintiff to try to avoid litigation by serving the defendant with an extrajudicial statement via the Court Bailiff before starting the proceedings.

The claim’s birth and the possibility of its judicial pursuit mark the beginning of the prescription period, which concludes on the final day of either the fifth or the twentieth of the calendar year. First, a writ (suit, recourse, or application) must be filed with the secretariat of the court in Greece. Then, the defendant must be served with the writ. This is how civil proceedings in Greece begin.  The plaintiff serves the defendant with the writ as a single document when the secretariat provides the so-called ‘Certificate of Filing of Writ’ and attaches it to the last page of the court document. 

In Greece, parties involved in a lawsuit may request the Court Bailiff to serve a writ.  After that, it’s up to the Court Bailiff to serve the writ in accordance with the rules for the proper serving of writs.  In order to verify that the writ was served on the defendant(s) appropriately and legitimately, the Court Bailiff provides and distributes a ‘Certificate of Service’ to the instructing lawyer upon service.  The public prosecutor of the court with jurisdiction is the one who serves writs to defendants whose residency is abroad.  Once again, a Court Bailiff will issue a Certificate of Service to validate the aforementioned service.  

The next step is for the public prosecutor to forward the served writ to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who must forward it to the designated recipient or recipients.  What happens next depends on the nation that is receiving the funds.  However, it is also possible to serve the writ that initiates civil proceedings in line with the rules regulating the service of writs in the defendant’s country of residence.

Residents of Greece may be served with foreign proceedings in any manner recognized by Greek law, including the EU Service Regulation 1393/2007, the Hague Convention of 1965, or any other method. As long as the courts allow the same, service may take place whenever the recipient is located. On other occasions, it is necessary to leave the copy at the workplace during business hours with the person responsible for the location where the person being served works. If you want your summonses accepted or denied, using a private process server like Undisputed Legal’s might make all the difference.

Notary in Greece

Contracts involving real estate, inheritance, family law, and business law are duly prepared by the notary public in Greece. Any and all claims made in these papers have their full weight since they are public records.

The Greek Constitution (specifically Article 92, paragraph 4) defines a Notary Public as an official to whom the state has delegated certain powers and judicial authority. The appointment of a notary public is announced in the Official Government Gazette by the Minister of Justice in accordance with Article 26. The competent Public Prosecutor may conduct inspections of notaries while they are carrying out their responsibilities, in line with the relevant regulations regarding the inspection of courts and judicial officials 

The notary public is an official with responsibilities related to the public sector, including the creation and execution of notarial acts. A wide variety of responsibilities aimed at advancing economic, budgetary, and social policies or ensuring the public’s well-being are within this official’s purview.

Among the implied responsibilities of a notary public are inheritance, gift, parent benefit, income, property, capital gains taxes, and their correct collection and allocation. For United States individuals looking for a notary public in Greece, parties may schedule a notary appointment at either the American Embassy or the American Consulate General in Thessaloniki.  Parties can also arrange for an apostille and signature by scheduling an appointment. 

In order to get notarial services, citizens of the United States and other countries may schedule an online appointment at the U.S. Consulate General in Thessaloniki or the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Athens, Greece. Proper government-issued identification is required. There are specific documents that can only be signed at the Consulate General and Embassy that are legitimate in Greece and the United States. It is preferable to involve the services of a private process service agency like Undisputed Legal in order to prevent the dismissal of the case for improper service.

For the United States party seeking notarial services, it is important to identify which documents come under notarial jurisdiction. Notarizing a statement made under oath, a Power of Attorney, or even evidence of eligibility to apply for a U.S. passport, together with an authentic copy of the required documents, is acceptable. However, it is impossible to note endorsements of official documents, marriage records, births, deaths, and divorces in the United States, or documentation of identity and educational backgrounds.  Apostille stamps and signatures authenticate official documents provided by the government, such as birth certificates, notarial certificates, court decrees, and others, so that they may be accepted in other nations.

Power of attorney in Greece

The grantee, or proxy, may act on behalf of the grantor in legal matters via a power of attorney (POA). In Greece, a power of attorney (POA) may be granted unilaterally without the grantee’s signature, although it must be directed to them.

The power of attorney must be in the proper format to allow the referred-to transaction to close. The individual granting the power of attorney must additionally have their signature notarized by a public notary if the POA is to be used to accept an inheritance, purchase, sale, or gift of real estate, for instance.

It is imperative that Greek POAs be meticulous. In Greece, no single ‘general’ power of attorney document may include, in a few words, all representations before any authority, bank, etc. In order for the representation to take place before the relevant authority, it is necessary to mention the intended method specifically. Although a power of attorney in Greece is to make life easier for everyone involved, it can also be a hazardous instrument if not handled correctly. It grants the proxy a lot of authority and puts the grantor at risk of being unfairly obligated to the grantee’s conduct.

The Greek legal system allows for the revocation of power of attorney documents. The grantee is served with a declaration to revoke the grant. A notarial power of attorney may only be used to grant or withdraw authority.  Anyone granting another person power of attorney must meet certain legal requirements, including being of legal age (at least 18 years old) and sound mind. Individuals wishing to provide power of attorney must do so face-to-face with a consular staff while presenting a valid passport or Greek identification card that verifies their identity (name, surname, place, date of birth, names of parents).

Before the appointment, the Competent Consular Employee must receive the written power of attorney prepared by a Greek notary public or a Greek lawyer in practice. It is important to mention that the completed text should include the appointee’s full name, address, and the reason for the power of attorney.

A translator must be present if the individual executing the power of attorney is not fluent in Greek (i.e., cannot read or write). The individual granting the power of attorney will benefit from the document’s translation, and the interpreter will co-sign as the interpreter. The appointer, which grants a power of attorney, may choose someone they trust to serve as the interpreter. It is imperative to provide the completed and signed application. It is vital to provide a valid passport or a Greek identification card. A government-issued document (such as a driver’s license, utility bill, or phone bill) attesting to the specifics of the appointer’s residential address is also necessary.

To free up time for other aspects of client cases, businesses, individuals, and lawyers should consider hiring a private process service organization such as Undisputed Legal to handle process services. Specialists versed in the local legal environment are handling the task so that you may relax. It is our responsibility to ensure that all parties involved in court processes are duly notified. The administration of justice benefits greatly from the expertise, familiarity with local laws, and efficiency of professional process servers. If you found this article helpful, kindly consider leaving us a review. Click the link to share your feedback, and we would greatly appreciate a five-star review.

OUR PROCESS

Documents can be faxed at (800) 296-0115, emailed to ps@undisputedlegal.com, or uploaded to our website. We do require prepayment and accept all major credit and debit cards. Once payment is processed, your sales receipt is immediately emailed for your records.

Drop-offs must call and make an appointment first to be added to building security to permit access to our office. Documents for service must be in a sealed envelope with payment in the form of a money order or attorney check (WE DO NOT ACCEPT CASH) payable to UNDISPUTED LEGAL INC.; Our receptionist receives all documents.

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OFFICE LOCATIONS

New York: (212) 203-8001 – 590 Madison Avenue, 21st Floor, New York, New York 10022
Brooklyn: (347) 983-5436 – 300 Cadman Plaza West, 12th Floor, Brooklyn, New York 11201
Queens: (646) 357-3005 – 118-35 Queens Blvd, Suite 400, Forest Hills, New York 11375
Long Island: (516) 208-4577 – 626 RXR Plaza, 6th Floor, Uniondale, New York 11556
Westchester: (914) 414-0877 – 50 Main Street, 10th Floor, White Plains, New York 10606
Connecticut: (203) 489-2940 – 500 West Putnam Avenue, Suite 400, Greenwich, Connecticut 06830
New Jersey: (201) 630-0114 – 101 Hudson Street, 21 Floor, Jersey City, New Jersey 07302
Washington DC: (202) 655-4450 – 1101 Pennsylvania Avenue, Suite 300, Washington DC 20004

FOR ASSISTANCE SERVING LEGAL PAPERS IN GREECE

Pick up the phone and call Toll Free (800) 774-6922, or click the service you want to purchase. Our dedicated team of professionals is ready to assist you. We can handle all your Greece process service needs; no job is too small or too large!

Contact us for more information about our process-serving agency. We are ready to provide service of process to all our clients globally from our offices in New York, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, Westchester, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Washington, D.C.

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Sources

1. The prosecutor will then forward the documents to the competent foreign authority, as stated in Article 134 (1)(a) of the Civil Procedure Code.

2. As of August 1, 2013, the service fee is €50.

3. Emergency Law 1432/1938 – Government Gazette, Series I, No 399/1938; – The Greek-German Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Civil and Commercial Matters, dated May 11, 1938.

4. It often takes more than 18 months and, in rare instances, more than three years for a case to go from the beginning all the way to the point when the judgment is served (at the First Instance Court level alone).  The typical time to resolve a business dispute at the first instance level is about 24 months.  Nevertheless, a shorter amount of time is often required to finish some actions. These include conflicts involving labor law, family law, or property leasing.

5. Fifteen days after the amendment was filed, the matter will be scheduled for a hearing and the court or judges assigned to hear it will be chosen.  This hearing is often scheduled twelve to sixteen months down the road, especially in cases involving business conflicts.  Within this period, the parties may submit a second addition to the case no later than 20 days before the hearing to address any points after the original addendum and briefs were due.

6. In accordance with Article 118 of the Greek Code of Civil Procedure, every civil lawsuit must include the following: 

  1. the name and address of each party involved, 
  2. the type of lawsuit (e.g., ‘lawsuit,’ ‘petition,’ ‘appeal,’ or ‘recourse’), 
  3. the court or judge that will hear the case,
  4. a clear and concise description of the writ’s scope, and 
  5. the date and signature of the plaintiff’s attorney representing the case.

7. Legally, the Notary Public is considered a public worker under Article 1 paragraph 1 of N.2830/2000.

8. Article 3, paragraph 1, the only person authorized to replace a notary public is a qualified senior district judge

9. Except with the previous authority of the President of the Court, a Notary must not be away from his or her responsibilities (Article 29)

10. The execution of wills is not a primary responsibility of U.S. Department of State officers.  The writing or taking of wills into safekeeping is prohibited under 22 CFR 92.81 for notaries.  Additionally, anyone wishing to have a will executed at a Foreign Service post cannot have a notary public witness the will or provide witnesses on their behalf.  On the other hand, witnesses and testators might have their signatures accepted by notaries public on self-proving wills.  In order for the will to be witnessed, both the testator and any eyewitnesses must be present before the notary.

11. According to the Greek Civil Code, a proxy is obligated to provide an accounting. So, for instance, if the proxy oversaw the grantor’s case and was responsible for collecting funds and paying bills, he must submit an accounting.

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