Legal Environment

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In this page: Business Contract | Intellectual Property | Legal Framework of Business | International Dispute Resolution


Business Contract

Law Applicable to the Contract
Greek courts will generally uphold the parties’ choice of law in a commercial contract, unless sensitive public policy reasons exist for not doing so. However, certain areas of national law will apply, irrespective of the parties’ choice of law, for example, mandatory legal provisions relating to: Consumer protection, Competition law, Patents, Employee rights.
Advisable Incoterms
It is preferable to choose an incoterm FOB or CIF. Avoid EXW, if you do not want to have to take care of the transport.
Language of Domestic Contract
Other Laws Which Can Be Used in Domestic Contracts
French, English or any other language is possible if both parties agree.

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Intellectual Property

National Organisations
Hellenic Copyright Organisation (OPI)
Regional Organisations
For the protection of patents: the European Patent Office (EPO). To control trademarks, designs and models: the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).
International Membership
Member of the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization)
Signatory to the Paris Convention For the Protection of Intellectual Property
Membership to the TRIPS agreement - Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)

National Regulation and International Agreements

Type of property and law Validity International Agreements Signed
Patent Law: Law No 1733/1987 as amended by Article 18 of Law No 1739/1987, Law No 1883/1990 ratifying the Patent Cooperation Treaty
20 years Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)
Law on Trademarks, No 2239/94; Presidential Decree No 353/1998, supplementing Law on Trademarks No2239/94 Ministerial Decision No. K4-307/2001, implementing regulations of the Madrid Protocol as ratified by Law No 2783/200.
20/25 years Trademark Law Treaty
Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks
Law No.1733/1987; Presidential Decree No.259/1997, regulations on the ratification of the Hague Agreement under 1960 Act
Five years, renewable  
Law on Copyright and Neighbouring Rights No 2121/ 1993 as amended by Article 8 of Law No 2557/1997 for harmonisation with the Council Directive 93/83  
70 years after the death of the author Berne convention For the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works
Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms
Rome ConventionFor the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations
WIPO Copyright Treaty
WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty

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Legal Framework of Business

Equity of Judgments

Equal Treatment of Nationals and Foreigners
Yes, although reports of corruption are common.
The Language of Justice
Recourse to an Interpreter
Legal Similarities
The Greek legal system is a member of the family of European laws and is especially influenced by German and French law. For the most part, Greek law is codified and, unlike Anglo-American common law, only enacted laws either in the form of codes or other statutes are the sources of law (in addition to custom and international law).

The Different Legal Codes

Greek Constitution 1975/86/2001 Division of authorities, grants to all citizens the right to seek judicial protection whenever their rights are infringed.
Civil Code General principles, law of obligations, property law, family law, and inheritance law
Civil Procedure Code Jurisdiction and competence of courts, special and enforcement proceeding
Commercial Code Law of merchants and industrial property
Penal Code Criminal law
Criminal Procedure Code Criminal procedures
Checking National Laws Online
Ministry of Justice
Country Guides
Greece legal guide

The Jurisdictions

The Supreme Civil and Criminal Court of Greece (Areios Pagos) Court of Cassation, it deals only with questions of law and not of fact.
13 Courts of Appeals Appellate courts in the 13 largest Greek cities.
Three-Member District Courts First Instance (exercise general jurisdiction over all actions, criminal or civil) and appellate jurisdiction over the decisions of the Justices of Peace.
One-Member District Courts First instance over civil cases involving claims for amounts not exceeding 80.000 EUR.
Justices of Peace First instance over civil cases involving claims for amounts not exceeding 12.000 EUR.

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International Dispute Resolution

Greek Law provides that by agreement issues of private law can be submitted to arbitration. Arbitration agreement can include both existing and future disputes. Greek law validates an agreement to arbitration either if it is oral or written. It specifically requires it in writing when it refers to future dispute.
Arbitration Law
Greek Commercial Law, b.d 19 of April/1 of May 1835.
Conformity to International Commercial Arbitration Rules
Appointment of Arbitrators
COCP states that the parties are free to determine the number of arbitrators. Failing this determination each party appoints one arbitrator. The relevant restrictions ensure that the principle of equality shall be observed.
Arbitration Procedure
The Law gives the parties the option of appointing an independent third party as mediator. Article 871 of the Greek Code of Civil Law also refers to the notion of conciliation.
ADR procedures have recently been incorporated into Greek law (Law No. 2298/1995 and more importantly, Law No. 2479/1997) and impact on court procedures. Since the 1th of November 2000, private disputes valued at more than 80,000 EUR and falling within the jurisdiction of the Multi-Member Courts of First Instance, cannot proceed to trial unless the parties have first attempted to reach a court-directed settlement.
The government committed, as part of the EU/IMF bailout packages in 2010 and 2012, to reforms intended to expedite the processing of commercial cases through the court system. Foreign companies report, however, that Greek courts sometimes still do not provide unbiased and effective recourse.
Permanent Arbitration Bodies
Organization for Mediation and Arbitration (Sectors Covered: This body deals solely with labor disputes, mediation and arbitration. It functions under the auspices of the Greek Ministry of Labor.)

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Latest Update: June 2024