Notaries in Greece

Notaries in Greece

Professional activities

The SIMVOLAIOGOROS is the public notary who authenticates and preserves important personal and commercial documents. Although he offers a public service , he is considered an independent practitioner who assist in the administration of justice. A person whishing to be appointed as a Simvolaiogoros must possess an University degree and normally have exercised the profession of dikigoros or a judge for at least two years. Appointment is conditional upon succeeding a professional examination. Simvolaiografoi do not have any rights to appear before any court.

The nature of the notarial profession

Notaries in Greece are unsalaried civil servants (Art. 1). This means that wherever there is a doubt as to anything and the law does not provide the answer, then the General Civil Servants Code will apply.

Organisational forms

Until the entry into force of Law 2830/16-3-2000 which came into force on 17 May 2000 the notary could only work independently, not in association with any other profession, and could not form any type of commercial company neither participate to it. Exceptionally, by means of Article 153 (which is an amendment to the old Code) notaries can now form companies of civil law.

The notary cannot hold any other professional post in the public or private sector. The only exceptions to that rule are:

  • teaching of law;
  • participation to the Council of Foundations, Organizations and Public Bodies, and
  • delegation of administrative functions.

If the notary wishes to stand for a prefect or mayor he loses his capacity as a notary from the moments he submits his candidacy until the end of the elections or, if successful, until the end of his term (Art. 37).

Basic Functions

They are:

  • To draft and keep documents that create or prove transactions or acts and declarations of interested parties when those parties wish to add to their declarations a solemn form.
  • To issue executory engrossments.
  • To issue certified copies.
  • To verify the validity of signature.
  • To execute any other function that the law provides for him (it has to be added here that the Civil Procedure Code gives notaries a crucial role at the execution of judgments).
  • To officially translate in Greek documents drafted in foreign languages (Art. 1)

Control and Discipline

The District Attorney of the Court of First Instance exercises control of the notaries in the region that the notary applies his profession (Art. 41). Generally, it has to be added that the Ministry of Justice is the principal authority that regulates the exercise of the profession. The Courts and the Disciplinary Councils exercise the disciplinary jurisdiction (Art. 56). The disciplinary law is described in great detail in Articles 42 – 95.

Fees

For every act that the notary makes and for every service he provides there is a standard fee, which is stipulated by a common decision of the Ministers of National Economy, Finance and Justice every three years after obtaining the Opinion of the Co-ordinating Committee of Notaries Associations of Greece. Beyond that a notary may ask for an extra analogical fee (Art. 40).

In addition, in the cases of public (Art. 113-6) and banking (Art. 117) contracts and where the contract involves the sale of a car or motorcycle (Art. 118) the notaries receive a percentage of the fee for themselves and they submit the rest to the Notary Association, which in turn, after it deduces the amount necessary for its function redistributes the amount, in a form of dividend, to all its members (Art. 119-125).

Access to the profession

Essential entry requirements

They are:

  • Greek citizenship (Art. 19)
  • Law Degree of a Greek University or a recognised foreign law degree (Art. 19)

Special Entry Requirements

They are:

  • Minimum two years professional experience as a lawyer or judge (of any rank) (Art. 20)
  • Minimum age of 28 – maximum of 42 (Art. 21)

Entry competition

This takes place at the pan-hellenic level simultaneously at the seat of all the regional Courts of Appeal. The vacant places are determined when the proclamation is issued (A note here is important: in case that there is no new position opened none could become a notary – it is a numerus clausus profession). The contest takes place each March and it consists of two stages (Art. 25).

Continuing education

There are compulsory seminars, which successful candidates have to attend for six months before they take up duty. Additionally, the Notaries Association organises seminars on issues of professional training and information on developments on Greek, European and international law (Art. 39).

Reserved activities

Professional titles

Advertising/Publicity

Client confidentiality/Professional privileges

Clients’ money

Accounting

Professional insurance

Specialist practitioners

Author: J Lonbay (A), 2008

Other Issues

Mobility

Notaries are covered by the general Directives on mutual recognition of diplomas, unless they can show that their activities are exempt under the Treaty exceptions to free movement to be found in Articles 39 (4) or 45 EC. They have argued for this exemption (exercise of official authority) to be applied to them. This is unlikely to be accepted now however as the European Commission reportedly (Law Society Gazette) has recently decided (November 2000) that notaries are not to be considered as immune from the effects of the free movement articles of the Treaty. Member States that do not remove the nationality requirement will face Article 226 enforcement action. See Mobility of Legal Professionals below.

Mobility of Legal Professionals

In accordance with Presidential Decree 52 of 1993 implementing Directive 89/48/EEC practising lawyers from the EC Member States, without any age restriction, may apply for registration with the Greek Bar. Article 7 of the Decree procides for a Permanent examinations Committee consisting of five (5) members. This has been established in Athens operating from the premises of Athens Bar Association. Members of the Committee are an Athens Appellate Judge (having the rank of President), a Law School Professor and the Presidents of the Athens, Salonica and Piraeus Bar Associations.

After passing any necessary written and oral examinations set and marked by this Committee of the Bar in Athens they may become members of the relevant local Bar and practice as lawyers of that Bar. The successful candidate is appointed as dikigoros’ before the competent First Instance Court. However, if he has exercised the profession for more than 4 years, he is appointed as dikigoros before the competent Appeals Court and if he has exercised the profession for more than 8 years, he is appointed as dikigoros before Areios Pagos – the Supreme Court (Article 10).

There is also another qualification route for nationals of any member state of the EU who have obtained their law degree and have practiced the legal profession in their country of origin whether within or outside the EU. Under Law 1366 of 1983 (article 22) they may sit an exam organised by a Greek University Law Faculty. Provided that their degree is recognised as equivalent to that of a Greek Law Faculty they would be eligible for registration with a Bar of Lawyers in Greece as local lawyers.

Legal Education

The LLB course lasts four academic years. To acquire a degree a student must satisfy the examiners in 30 compulsory examinations and 10 optional subjects.

Compulsory subjects:

  • Constitutional Law I (general principles),
  • Constitutional Law II (insitutions),
  • Constitutional law III (civil liberties),
  • Administrative Law I,
  • Administrative Law II (judicial review),
  • International Law,
  • General principles of Civil Law I,
  • General Principles of Civil Law II,
  • Law of Obligations,
  • Special Contract Law,
  • Property Law ,
  • Property Law,
  • Family law,
  • Law of Succession,
  • Commercial Law I (general principles),
  • Commercial Law II (business associations),
  • Commercial Law III (negotiable instruments),
  • Labour Law I,
  • Labour Law II,
  • Insolvency,
  • General Criminal law,
  • Special Criminal law,
  • Conflicts of Law,
  • Civil Procedure I,
  • Civil Procedure II,
  • Criminal Procedure and evidence,
  • Sociology of law,
  • European law.

Grading in Greece

The grade scale for examination is 0-10, 5 being the minimum pass mark. The criteria for the calculation of the final degree is different: the mark of each subject is calculated by a certain factor (e.g. the factor for subjects which offer one or two teaching unit is one) and the total aggregate is divided by the aggregate of the factors.

Note that there is a different system for the Aptitude Test (see Mobility) mandated by Directive 89/48/EEC

Legal Training

Governing Bodies

At first level it is the local Notaries Association and at second the Co-ordinating Committee of Notaries Associations of Greece (Art. 96).

Relevant Legislation

The governing law of the Greek notaries is Law 2830/16-3-2000 under the name Notaries Code which is a consolidated version of the current legislation in force. It came into force on 17-5-00.

Author: J Lonbay (A), 2008

Other Legal Professionals

Lawyers

The DIKIGOROS can give advice and assistance on any aspect of Greek law. He or she can represent litigants before Justices of the Peace and One Member High Court. Information about lawyers in the European countries is provided here.

Bailiffs

he Dikastikos Epimelitis (Court Bailiff) is an independent practitioners who effect formal service of legal and other documents, and attach assets and enforce judgments and orders of the Court always on written instructions, mostly from lawyers. Information about bailiffs in the European countries is provided here.

Notaries in other European Countries

Resources

Notes

See Also

Further Reading

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