Edited by Jürgen Basedow, Giesela Rühl, Franco Ferrari and Pedro de Miguel Asensio
Greek Civil Code1
Book I General Principles
Chapter II Private international law
Section 4 – Condition of aliens
An alien shall enjoy the civil rights of a national.
Section 5 – Legal capacity
The legal capacity of a physical person shall be governed by the national law.
Section 6 – Absence
Absence shall be governed by the national law.
A Greek Court may declare an alien to be an absentee if prior to his disappearance he was domiciled or resided in Greece or if he owns property in Greece.
Section 7 – Capacity to exercise rights
The capacity to exercise rights shall be governed by the national law.
Section 8 – Deprivation of legal capacity
Deprivation as well as any other limitation of the legal capacity by a judicial decision shall be governed by the national law of the person concerned by such steps.
A Greek Court may submit to the status of deprivation or limitation of his legal capacity an alien who has his usual residence in Greece. If the alien merely resides or has property in Greece may be taken only measures of protection.
Section 9 – Legal capacity of an alien in Greece
An alien who carries out in Greece a legal transaction for which he has no capacity according to his national law shal1 be considered as capable to procedd therewith if he enjoys such capacity according to Greek law. This provision shall not apply in regard to acts coming within the scope of family and inheritance Jaw nor to acts relating to real rights affecting immovables situated outside of Greece.
Section 10 – Juristic person
The capacity of a juristic person shall be governed by the Jaw of its seat.
Section 11 – Form of acts
An act shall be formally valid if its form is in conformity with the provisions as to form of the law governing the substance of the act or of the law of the place where the act has been concluded or of the national law of all the parties to the act.p. 3259
Section 12 – The form of an act relating to real rights shall be governed by the law of the site of the thing affected.
Section 13 – Marriage
The Substantive preconditions of marriage shall be governed in regard to the two persons about to be marrid by the national law of one of them. The form of marriage shall be governed either by the national law of one of the persons about to be married or by the law of the place of celebration.
When the persons to be married or one of them are Greeks and the marriage is celebrated abroad. the declaration provided for in section 1367 of the Civil Code may be made also before the Greek Consular authority.
Section 14 – Personal relations between spouses
The personal relations between spouses shall be governed in the following order of decreasing priority:
by the last common national Jaw during their marriage provided one of the spouses has preserved such national law.
by the law of the last common usual residence during their marriage
by the law to which the spouses are more close1y connected.
Section 15 – Pecuniary relations between spouses
The pecuniary relations between spouses shall be governed by the Jaw governing their personal relations following immediately the celebration of marriage.
Section 16 – Divorce and judicial separation
Divorce and judicial separation shall be governed by the law governing the personal relations of the spouses at the beginning of the proceedings aiming at a divorce or a separation.
Section 17 – Child born in marriage
The qualification of a child as being born in marriage shall be decided according to the law governing the personal relations of the mother and her husband at the time of birth of the child or if the marriage was dissolved before the birth at the time of dissolution of the marriage.
Section 18 – Relationship between parents and child
The relationship between parents and child shall be governed in the following order of decreasing priority:
l. by the parents’ last common national law
by the law of their last common usual reisdence
by the national law of the child.
Section 19 – Child born outside marriage of its parents
The relationship between mother and child born outside marriage of its parents shall be governed in the following order of decreasing priority:
by the parents’ last common national law
by the law of their last common usual residence
by the national law of the mother.
Section 20 – The relationship between father and child born outside marriage of its parents shall be governed in the following order of decreasing priority:
by the parents’ last common national law.
by the law of their last common usual residence
by the national law of the father.p. 3260
Section 21 – The relationship between mother and father of a child born outside marriage shall be governed in order of decreasing priority by the parents’ last common national law during pregnancy by the law of their common usual place of residence or by the law of their common mere p1ace of residence.
Section 22 – Assimilation to child born in marriage
Assimilation of a child born outside marriage of its parents by means of subsequent marriage between them to a child born in marriage shall be governed by the law governing the personal relations of the spouses following 1mrnediately the celebration of marriage. Assimilation by means of an act of the authorities shall be governed by the national law of the father at the time of issue of the act or if such assimilation is proceeded with after the death of the father at the time of his death.
Section 23 – Adoption
The substantive preconditions for the coming into force and dissolution of an adoption shall be governed by the national law of each party.
The relations between the adaptive parent or parents and the child adopted shall be governed in order of decreasing priority:
by their last common national law during the period of adoption
by the Jaw of their last common usual residence during the period of adoption
by the national law of the adaptive parent at the time of the coming into force of the adoption and in the case of adoption by spouses by the law governing their personal relations.
Section 24 – Custody
Tutelage and any other form of custody shall be governed by the national law of the person concerned.
A Greek Court may appoint a tutor or any other kind of custodian to an alien whose usual place of residence is in Greece. If the alien merely resides or owns property in Greece may be taken only measures of protection.
If it becomes necessary to appoint a custodian because it is not certain who is the principal involved in the case or because the principal is absent and his residence is unknown shall be applied the law of the site of the Court.
Section 25 – Contradual obligations
Contractual obligations shall be governed by the law to which the parties have submitted temselves.
Failing this shall be applicable the law which is appropriate to the contract having regard to the whole of the specia1 circumstances.
Section 26 – Obligations arising from tort
Obligations arising from tort shall be governed by the law of the State where the tortuous act was committed.
Section 27 – Possession and real rights
Possession and real rights on things movable or immovable shall be governed by the law of the State where such things are situated.
Section 28 – Relations arising from inheritance
Relations arising from inheritance shall be governed by the national Jaw of the person succeded to when he died.
Section 29 – Aquisition and loss of nationality
The acquisition and loss by a person of the nationality of a State shall be governed by the law of such State.
Section 30 – Lack of nationality and usual residence
Unless the law provides differently if a person has no nationality shall be applicable in the place and stead of the national law the law of the place of usual residence and failing a usual residence the law of the place of mere residence.
Section 31 – Plural nationality
p. 3261If a person has the Greek and a foreign nationality the applicable national law shall be the Greek law.
If a person has several foreign nationalities shall be applicable the law of the State with which he is the more closely connected.
Section 32 – Renvoi
In the applicable foreign law are not included the rules of private international law of the foreign State.
Section 33 – Public policy reserved
The provisions of a foreign law shall not apply if the application thereof is contrary to morality or in general to public policy.
Code of Civil Procedure2
Art 3 – International Jurisdiction
Greek citizens and foreigners are subject to the jurisdiction of the civil courts as provided a Greek court has competence.
Foreigners who enjoy the benefit of extraterritoriality are excluded from the jurisdiction of the Greek courts, unless the disputes concerned are subject to the provisions of article 29.
Art 22 – General Legal Jurisdiction
The court of the place where the defendant has his domicile is territorially competent, unless provided otherwise by law.
Art 23 – General Jurisdiction based on Residence and Special Domicile
If the respondent has no domicile either in Greece or abroad, the court of the district where he has his residence is competent. If the place of his residence is not known, the court of the place where he had his last domicile in Greece is competent and absent such domicile, the place of his last residence.
If the respondent has a specific domicile, the court of the place where such domicile is located is competent.
Art 24 – General Jurisdiction for Civil servants abroad
Greeks who enjoy the benefit of extraterritoriality as well as civil servants who are appointed abroad are subject to the competence of the court of the place where they had their domicile prior to their mission, and if prior to the mission they had no domicile, they are subject to the court of the district of the capital of the country. The same applies to their spouse and children.
Art. 25 – General Jurisdiction of Legal Persons and Entities
The public administration is subject to the jurisdiction of the court of the district where the authority that represents it in any litigation according to the law has its seat.
p. 3262A non-natural person who has the capacity to litigate is subject to the jurisdiction of the court of the district where it has its seat or branch, provided the dispute arises from the person’s activities.
Art 26 – General Jurisdiction of Lawyers and Notaries
Lawyers and notaries are subject to the court of the district where they perform their duties.
Art 27 – Special Jurisdiction for Company-related Disputes
Disputes arising from the relations between a company and its constituent partners or among its partners are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the court of the district where the company has its seat.
The same court also has jurisdiction over disputes arising from the dissolution and winding up of the company and relating to the distribution of the company estate, provided the claim is filed within two years from the finalization of the distribution.
Art 28 – Special jurisdiction regarding Management pursuant to Court Order
Disputes relating to management which take place pursuant to a court order are submitted to the exclusive jurisdiction of the court that gave the order, and if the order has been issued by a different judicial authority, they are submitted to the jurisdiction of the court of the district where such authority has its seat.
Art 29 – Special Jurisdiction of the Location of an Immovable Property
Disputes relating to rights in rem on immovable property, possession or holding, distribution of a common immovable property, fixing of boundaries, claims against any person who has physical power over a property, compensation in case of expropriation as well as disputes arising from renting an immovable property or from a right linked to the exploitation of such property or from the lease of land in consideration of a share in the produce, are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the court of the district where the immovable property is located.
If the immobile property is located in the districts of several courts, the claimant has the right to choose.
Art 30 – Special Jurisdiction for Inheritance-related matters
Disputes concerning the recognition of inheritance rights or the distribution of the estate, claims of the heir against the person who possesses or holds the estate, claims arising from legacies or other legal provisions applicable in case of death or claims relating to compulsory portion or claims against the testamentary executors with regard to the execution of the provisions of the will are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the court in the district of which the deceased had his domicile, or absent such domicile, his residence at the time of his death.
Claims among the heirs for the distribution of the estate, claims by third parties arising from obligations of the deceased or the estate as well as claims in rem for movable property that are not covered by paragraph 1, are subject for two years from the death of the deceased to the exclusive jurisdiction of the court where the deceased has his domicile, or absent such domicile, his residence.
Art 32 – General concurrent jurisdiction for Public servants and Military officers
Public servants are subject to the jurisdiction of the court of the district in which they perform their duties. Military officers are also subject to the jurisdiction of the court of the district in which the unit, division or service whey they serve is stationed.
Art 33 – Special jurisdiction of Legal Acts
Disputes relating to the existence or the validity of a legal act made by a person during his lifetime and all legal rights emanating from such an act may be submitted to the court of the district in which the legal act was constituted or where the performance is to be rendered. Disputes relating to compensation due as a result of breach of trust as well as to compensation arising from pre-contractual liability can also be subject to the same court.p. 3263
Art 34 – Special jurisdiction of Counterclaims
Counterclaims can be brought before the court where the main claim is filed as long as this or a lower court would have competence for the subject matter of such claim.
Art 35 – Special jurisdiction of Unlawful acts
Disputes arising from an unlawful act may/will be also submitted to the court of the place where the act that caused damage took place or where it is expected to take place.
Art 36 – Special jurisdiction of management without court order
Disputes arising from management conducted without court order can also be submitted to the court of the district in which the management took place.
Art 37 – Special jurisdiction for joinder of parties in proceedings and rights in rem on several immovable assets
When several persons are joined together as respondents, the court of the district in which any of the respondents has his domicile, and absent such domicile his residence, is competent.
Disputes between the same parties that arise out of the same legal basis and concerning the rights in rem over immovable assets located in the districts of various courts, may be submitted to any of those courts.
Art 38 – Concurrent jurisdiction of prolonged residence
Claims against persons who have the capacity to have standing before the courts and who have, due to specific circumstance, a residence for a prolonged period of time, such as employees, servants, students, pupils, may be brought before the court of the district where their place of residence is located provided the subject matter of the dispute is pecuniary.
Art 39 – Special jurisdiction of marital disputes
Marital disputes may be brought before the court of the district in which the spouses have their last common residence.
Art 39A – Special jurisdiction of alimony
Disputes relating to alimony claims canalso be brought before the court of the place where the person entitled to the alimony has his domicile or residence.
Art 40 – Special competence of the Property
Proceedings against persons who have no domicile in Greece Can also be brought before the court of the district in which the respondent has property or where the object in dispute is located, provided the nature of the dispute is pecuniary.
If the property consists in monetary claims of the respondent against a third party, it is presumed that the property is located in the place of the third party’s domicile.
Art 41 – Selection
The claimant has the right to choose among various competent courts. The precedence among the various courts is determined by the timing of the filing of the claim.
Art 42 – Express or implicit agreement on jurisdiction
A regular court of first instance which is not territorially competent may become competent following the express or implied agreement of the parties to the dispute, unless the disputes has no pecuniary subject matter. The agreement must be express if it concerns disputes for which a court has exclusive competence.
An implied agreement is presumed if the respondent is present at the hearing of the case and fails to raise in a timely manner an objection for lack of competence.
Art 43 – Jurisdictional agreement for future disputes
An agreement between the parties according to which a regular court becomes competent for future disputes is valid only if it is made in writing and if it refers to the specific legal relationship from which the disputes will arise.p. 3264
Art 44 – Presumption of exclusivity
The agreements made in accordance with articles 42 and 43 establish exclusive jurisdiction, unless the opposite is deduced from the same agreement.
Art 323 – Res judicata and the effect of foreign judgments in changing a legal relationship
Subject to the provisions laid down in international conventions, a judgmentof a foreign civil court is valid and has res judicata effect in Greece without the requirement for any further procedure provided:
the judgment has res judicata effect according to the law of the place where the judgment was rendered;
the case was according to Greek law subject to the jurisdiction of the court that rendered the decision;
the losing party was not deprived of the right to be heard and in general to participate in the trial, unless such restriction was applied in accordance with a provision that is also in force for the nationals of the state to which the court that rendered the decision belongs;
the judgment is not contrary to a decision of a Greek court that was rendered in the same case and has res judicata effect for the same parties between which the decision of the foreign court was rendered; and
the judgment is not contrary to morality or public policy.
Art 780 – Ipso jure effect of foreign judgments
Subject to the provisions laid down in international conventions, a judgment of a foreign court has without the requirement of any further procedure the effect in Greece that is attributed to it by the law of the state of the court that rendered it, provided the following conditions are met:
the judgment has applied the substantive law that would have been applicable according to Greek law and was rendered by a court that had jurisdiction according to the law of the state whose substantive law was applied; and
the judgment is not contrary to morality or public policy.
Art 905 – Declaration of enforcement of foreign title
Subject to the provisions laid down in international conventions and the Regulations of the European Union, the execution of a foreign title can take place in Greece subsequent to the decision for its execution by the single-membered court of first instance of the district where the debtor has his domicile, or absent that his residence, or absent that, the single-membered court of first instance of the capital of the state. The single-membered court of first instance will apply article 740 to 781 in this proceeding.
The single-membered court of first instance declares the execution of a foreign title, provided it is enforceable according to the law of the place where it was issued and is not contrary to morality and public policy.
If the foreign title is a judgment, the requirements of article 323 No 2 to 5 need to be fulfilled for the judgment to be executed.
The provision of paragraphs 1 to 3 are also applicable to the recognition of res judicata effect for judgments of foreign courts relating to the legal status of a person
Translation by Constantin Taliadoros, published in Greek Civil Code (Ant. N. Sakkoulas publishers 2000). The editors wish to thank Constantin Taliadoros and Ant. N. Sakkoulas publishers for the permission to use the translation.
Unofficial translation by Dr. Ioanna Thoma, Paris (France).