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   aboutGREECE  127 THE LEGAL SYSTEM by IoannisA.Tassopoulos AssistantProfessor, UniversityofAthens  Greeklawbelongstothecivillawtradition.TheeraofmodernGreek law began with the NationalRevolution of1821 againsttheTurks,which led to the creation of the GreekState in 1830.The division between civil (private) and public law is important inthe Greeklegal order. Public law is made up of constitutional, ad-ministrative,internationalandcriminallaw,criminalandcivilpro-cedure.Generalprinciplesofcivillaw,lawofobligations,property law,familylaw,the law ofsuccession and thevariousbranchesof commerciallaw.Theimportanceofcivillawastheheartofthelegalsystemhasdiminished,whilegovernmentalinterventioncontinuesto expand and the state with its administrative regulation coversmore aspects of life.   aboutGREECE 128 GOVERNMENT and POLITICS The most important codificationsin Greek law are the following:CivilCode,CommercialCode,PenalCode, Code of Civil Procedure,CodeofCriminalProcedure,Codeof Private Maritime Law and Mili-tary Penal Code.The Greek Civil Code of 1946 wasgreatly influenced by Byzantinelaw, which was applied in Greecebefore the drafting of the CivilCode.TheCivilCodeisfoundedontheprinciplesofpersonalautono-my, private property and freedomof contract. It also protects the in-stitutionoffamily,withequalitybe-tweenthesexes,beingconstitution-allyproclaimed.Itcontains,howev-er, general clauses, leaving spaceforjudicialadaptationtochanging circumstancesaswellasforthein-troductionofelementsoffairness. THECONSTITUTIONALTRADITION Greeceisacountrywithalongcon-stitutional tradition, which ismarkedbytheexistenceofawrittenconstitution.Thepresentconstitu-tion was enacted in June 1975,after the fall of the dictatorship of 1967 and the re-establishment of democraticgovernmentinthecoun-try. The srcins of the current con-stitution are traced back to 1864.Greeceisarepresentativedemoc-racy,basedontheprincipleofpop-ular sovereignty. Greece has aparliamentarygovernmentanditspresidentiselectedbytheparlia-ment.TheGovernment(thePrimeMinister and the cabinet) is re-sponsible to the democraticallyelected parliament. It is a multi-party system and the freedom of establishing political parties isguaranteed by the Constitution.Theparliamentiselectedbydirect,secret and universal ballot. Theamendments of 1986 abolishedthepresidentialpowersgrantedinthe constitution of 1975. The roleofthepresidentoftherepublichasnowbecomemoreorlessceremo-nial.Asaresult,thePrimeMinister is the main locus of power. Theconstitutional revision of 2001changed a large number of provi-sions;itexplicitlyguaranteedtheruleoflawandtheprincipleofpro-portionality. MAINSOURCESOFLAW  Despitethecodificationsofgreeklaw, custom is still recognised asa source of law, although, today,itisofminimalimportance.Judicialdecisionsdonotconstitutebinding precedent on subsequent similar cases,howevertheyexerttheirin-fluence through the need for uni-form application of the law.Generallyrecognisedrulesofinter-nationallawaswellasinternation-al conventions form an integralpart of Greek law and will prevailoveranycontraryprovisionoflaw.International conventions areplacedbelowtheConstitutionandabove statutes.Thelegislativepowerisexercisedby the parliament and the presi-dentoftherepublic,whoseroleislimited to the promulgation andpublishingofthelaws.TheConsti-tutionallowsdelegationoflegisla-tivepower,exceptwhereastatuteisrequired,(e.g.fortheimpositionof taxes or for acts concerning the exercise and protection of in-dividual rights). Delegation ismainlyconfinedtothepresidentof    aboutGREECE  129 THE LEGAL SYSTEM the republic and is exercised bypresidential decrees, counter-signedbytheproposingandpolit-icallyresponsibleminister,under the following conditions: thestatutes on which delegation isbasedmuststatethesubject,theaimandthelimitsofthelegalpro-visions for which delegation isgranted.Presidentialdecreesintro-ducing general rules, while theyareindraftformareexamined,for their legality, by the Council of State,actingasanadministrativeorgan, before they are signed bythepresidentoftherepublic.Par-liament may also delegate leg-islativepowertootherbranchesof the executive, but only for theregulation of specialised, techni-cal, or localmatters. On proposaloftheCabinet,thepresidentoftherepublic has the power to issuelegislativeacts,withoutstatutorydelegation,inextraordinarycasesusually in matters of urgent andunforeseen needs. Within fortydays after their adoption, theseactsmustbesubmittedforParlia-ment’s approval. Failure to seekapproval or in case of Parliamen-tary disapproval, the legislativeacts rerdeved null and void. EUROPEANCOMMUNITYLAW  ANDTHEGREEKLEGALORDER Greeceactivelyparticipatesintheprocess of European unification.TheaccessionofGreecetotheEu-ropean Community was signedand ratified by the Greek Parlia-mentin1979withamajorityof193votesoutof300. Article 28 oftheConstitution of1975 provided thelegalbasisoftheincorporationof Community law into the Greeklegal order. According to art. 28par.2,competenciesprovidedbythe constitution can be vested inagenciesofinternationalorganisa-tions by treaties or agreements,when this serves an importantnational interest and promotesco-operation with other states.Art.28par.3providesthatGreecemayfreelyproceedtolimittheex-ercise of national sovereignty, in-sofar as this is dictated by an im-portantnationalinterest,anddoesnot infringe on human rights andthefoundationofdemocraticgov-ernment,andiseffectedontheba-sisoftheprincipleofequalityandundertheconditionofreciprocity.EuropeanCommunitylawhasper-vasiveeffectsupontheGreeklegalorder and the regulations havedirect applicability and effect inGreece.Whenrequired,domesticlawisadaptedtotheprovisionsof Community law.  ASTATEUNDERTHERULEOFLAW  Greeceisastateundertheruleof law.The GreekConstitution guar-anteestheprincipleofseparationofpowers.However,theprincipleiscombinedwiththenotionofleg-islative supremacy. In fact onlythejudiciaryisgenuinelyseparat-edfromtheotherstatepowers.Yettheindependenceofthejudiciaryis mitigated by the power of theGovernment to assign the chief judges of the three supremecourts: Council of State, AreiosPagosandAuditor’sCourt.Judicialreview of the constitutionality of lawsisactivelyexercisedbyGreekordinary judges.Ajudgementofunconstitutionalityregarding of a legislative act isbindingsolelybetweentheparties.Only the Supreme Special Court   aboutGREECE 130 GOVERNMENT and POLITICS has the power to declare null andvoidtheprovisionsofastatutehav-ing effect erga omnes in case of conflictingjudgementspronouncedbytheCouncilofState,theAreiosPagos or the Auditor’s Court.TheGreekConstitutionguaranteesenumerated individual, politicalandsocialrights.Greecehasalsoratified the European ConventionfortheprotectionofHumanRightsand Fundamental Freedoms of 1950 as well as the majority of itsProtocols.TheConstitutionproclaimsthatre-spect and protection of the valueofthehumanbeingconstitutestheprimaryobligationofthestate.Per-sonallibertyisinviolable.Accord-ingtoart.5par.3,nooneshallbeprosecuted,arrested,imprisonedorotherwiseconfinedexceptwhenandasthelawprovides.TheCon-stitutionguaranteesforallpersonslivingwithinGreecefullprotectionoftheirlife,honourandfreedom.Theextraditionofaliensprosecut-ed for their action as freedomfighters is prohibited. Arrest or imprisonment is prohibited with-out a reasoned judicial warrant,which must be served at the mo-ment of the arrest or detentionpending trial.Such warrant is notrequiredinthecaseofarrestwhilecommitting a criminal act. Withintwenty-fourhoursafterthearrest,the suspect must be brought be-fore the examining magistrate,who has three days to decidewhether the suspect will be re-leased or imprisoned pending trial.Detentionisorderedinexcep-tionalcasesforgraveoffences.Pre-trialdetentioncannotexceedoneyearforfeloniesandsixmonthsfor misdemeanours.Underexception-al circumstances this time limitmaybeextendedforsixandthreemonths respectively.Art. 7 par. 1 of the Constitutionrecognises the principle “NullumCrimen,nullapoenasinelege”.Ac-cording to this principle, a penallaw must be written and precise.Penallawsdonotacceptapplica-tionbyanalogyandcannotbegiv-en retroactive effect. The defen-dant has the right to be heard, toberepresentedbycounselbothatthepre-trialphase(interrogation)and during the trial, to reviewhis/her file, and to obtain copiesof the documents, and to remainsilent.Intellectualfreedomsaresecuredin the Greeklegalorder. Freedomof expression is guaranteed aswell as freedom of information.Censorship and all other preven-tive measures are expressly pro-hibited.Seizureofthepressisper-mittedaftercirculationbyorderof the public prosecutor, on limitedoccasionsprovidedbytheConsti-tution.Theprotectiveprovisionsfor the press are not applicable tofilms, sound recordings, radio,television etc. Radio and televi-sion, are by constitutional man-dateunderdirectstatecontrol.Thisistoensuretheobjectivetransmis-sion on equal terms of news re-ports and information, as well asworksofliteratureandarts.Statecontrol is entrusted to and exer-cisedbyanindependentadminis-trativeauthority,theRadioandTel-evision Council. Freedom of as-sembly,ofassociationandofcor-respondence is also guaranteed.Freedom of conscience and reli-giousfreedomareconstitutionally

Legis Trib 03

Aug 2, 2017
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