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Legal aid in Greece

GREEK answers to the
Questionnaire on legal aid 
Conference in Palermo on 12th and 13th November 2009


I./ Procedural aspects
1./ Who decides whether legal aid is granted to a party?
The benefit is granted in preliminary proceedings by the magistrate, judge of the One Member Court of the first Instance or the chairman of the court where the remedy is pending. 
2./ Is it possible to challenge this decision?
No, it isn’t possible. 
3./ Is it possible to obtain legal aid already during the administrative procedure?
Yes it is.
4./ Is legal aid valid for the whole procedure, legal remedies included or is decided separately for each level of the law suit?
Legal aid is valid for the whole procedure, legal remedies included, but can also be asked separately for each level.
5./ Do applications for legal aid have any impact on the course of the procedure, in particular on the run out of time limits (f.e. for legal remedies)?

Yes, the time limits for lodging a certain remedy are interrupted.


II./ Prerequisites for legal aid
1./ Financial means
a./ Are there thresholds concerning income ruled by law or by court practice?
There are certain thresholds concerning income, defined by law. Legal aid is granted to applicants in extreme poverty.It can also be granted to foreign nationals on the basis of reciprocity.

b./ Are there also such thresholds for real estates and other values?
Yes, they are determinated by the law. They have to prove that the prepay of the law suit cost will provoke problems to the realization of their aim. 
c./ Are there special rules for legal entities (societies, associations)?
Yes. It should be proved that the expenses cannot be paid neither by legal entity’s property, nor by its members without restricting the necessary means for the living of them and their families.

2./ the possible outcome of the case of relevance for granting legal aid? 
Yes, is not granting if the law suit appears unfair or unprofitable.This happens when the remedy is obviously inadmissible or groundless.
3./ Are there other criteria for granting or refusing legal aid?
III./ Benefits 
1./ What kinds of costs are covered by legal aid?
a./ Court fees
b./ Costs of witnesses, interpreters and experts
c./ The party’s travel expenses
d./ Advocates or other representatives 
d.a./ Under which conditions are advocates or other representatives at the disposal of the beneficiary in order to represent him in the lawsuit?
The court assigns an advocate if the representation is legally necessary
d.b./ How are these advocates or other representatives selected? Has the party any influence in this selection procedure?
They are selected from a special list of the representative body of lawyers.
d.c./ Who covers the costs for these advocates or other representatives?
The State.
e./ Has legal aid an influence on the obligation of the beneficiary to refund certain expenses of opposing parties if he finally looses the case? 
IV./ Can legal aid be revoked? 
1./ Under which conditions is it possible to revoke legal aid?
It is possible to revoke legal aid if the financial situation of the applicant has improved and the reasons that the legal aid had been granted are not exist anymore.
2./ Can it be revoked even retroactively and can recovery of the state’s expenses be ordered? Which are the conditions for such a decision?
Yes, if the reasons of the granted legal aid were based on false documents and information.
3./ Are there time limits for such decisions?
V./ Practical importance of legal aid
1./ What is the percentage of cases with legal aid in general?
No data available, about 1%.
2./ Are there any scopes of administrative law where legal aid is of special importance? What is the percentage of cases with legal aid in these particular fields of administrative law? 
Perhaps legal aid is more often granted in deportation and asylum cases.