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Kanzlei Rath Thessaloniki

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Some Basics on the Greek Legal System - A first look

 

 

 

A first look at the Greek Court System

In criminal and civil courts in Greece there are in principle three levels of jurisdiction:

1. Ordinary Civil Courts of First Instance:

a. Justice of the Peace,

b. One-Member District Court and

c. Three-Member District Court

according to the object of the trial (mostly depending on the value of the filed suit - but exceptions made by special regulations for certain issues).  

2. Ordinary Civil Courts of Second Instance: Although the Three-Member district courts also do handle the more important civil cases in the first instance (usually when higher claims are laid), for the Justices of the Peace they function as appellate courts. The Court of Appeal tries cases de novo and re-examines both the legal issues and the real facts of the case.

There are 13 Courts of Appeal in the Greek’s largest cities.  

3. The Supreme Court is Areios Pagos in Athens, which adjudicates cassations in civil (and criminal) cases. As a genuine Court of Cassation it deals only with questions of law and not of fact.  It hears cases in panels of five judges, only in very important cases all its 56 judges participate in the court’s decision (28 affirmative votes required).

 

 

Karte Panorama

 

Criminal and civil courts are constituted by the same judges; so a judge tries both private and criminal cases. Besides the special administrative courts there is no specialization among judges. Also in Greece there are no juries in civil law cases and only a limited participation of jurors in some criminal cases which involve murders or other serious felonies (e.g. severe bodily injury or rape).

 

   
 

 

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