Status of Digitalisation of ESCP Enforcemnt Procedures

There is a system for the electronic submission of legal documents to the Hellenic Council of State and the Athens Court of First Instance. Legal documents can be submitted electronically for cases relating to all civil procedures, which are progressively being included in the online function. The progress of the documents for all procedures can be monitored electronically. However, no procedure can be initiated solely via the internet.[1] There is no specific platform for digital enforcement of claims.

ESCP Procedural Aspects

1. Competent Enforcement Authority

The bailiffs competent at the place of enforcement are responsible for the seizure of movable and immovable property. In the case of seizure, the notaries are responsible for auctioning (Articles 927-931 of the CCP). The lawyers are responsible for the drawing up the garnishing order, while the bailiffs are responsible for the service of that document. The enforcement order must be dated and signed by the beneficiary or their representative. The order gives the authority to perform all enforcement acts, unless otherwise specified therein (Articles 927-931 of the CCP).

2. Rules on Service

Service is the responsibility of the party following a written order given either by that party or their representative or, at the request of said party, by the competent judge (Article 123, Code of Civil Procedure). Documents are served by a bailiff appointed by the court whose seat is in the region in which the addressee has his/her domicile or is resident at the time of service (para. 1 of Article 122, CCP). Where service of documents takes place under the responsibility of the court, service may also be carried out by a criminal bailiff established in the region concerned or an officer of the Hellenic Police, a forestry ranger or the municipal secretary (paras. 2 and 3 of Article 122, CCP).

Documents are regularly served into the hands of the addressee (para. 1 of Article 127 of the CCP), irrespective of where the addressee is (Article 124, CCP). However, if the addressee has a domicile, shop or office or workshop in the place where the service is to be effected or if he/she works there, the document cannot be served at a different place without his/her consent (para. 2 of Article 124, CCP).

Judicial documents can also be served electronically, provided that they have been electronically signed. The document is considered to be served if the sender has received electronic proof of receipt from the addressee, which must bear an advanced electronic signature and will constitute a service report (para. 5 of Article 122, CCP). If the addressee is not at his/her address of residence, the document will be delivered to one of the other persons living in the same residence, provided that they are aware of their actions and are not the opposing parties in the case (para. 1 of Article 128, CCP). Articles 128-134 of the CCP lay down further rules on substituted service of documents.

Enforcement proceedings commence with the service of a formal notice inviting the debtor to voluntary fulfil their obligation (Article 924, CCP). This notice is included at the end of the certified copy of the enforceable title issued to the creditor. If the debtor does not comply within the following three working days (Article 926, CCP), the creditor may proceed to the provided acts of enforcement.

3. Language of the Certificate and Documents to be Appended

The accepted language in all proceedings is Greek and the documents must be translated to Greek.

4. Enforcement Fees

The basic costs of enforcement:

the bailiff’s fee for seizure for claims of up to EUR 590: EUR 53, for claims of between EUR 591 and EUR 6 500: EUR 53 plus a 2.5 % surcharge on the amount, and for claims EUR 6 500 or more: EUR 53 plus a 1 % surcharge on the amount, capped at EUR 422 for every property, ship or aircraft seized, the bailiff’s fee for preparing each auction or repeat auction programme or summary of seizure report for claims of up to EUR 590 = EUR 53, for claims of between EUR 591 and EUR 6 500 = 2 %, and for claims of EUR 6 501 or more = 1 %, capped at EUR 210;

auctioneer’s fee = EUR 30;

bailiff’s fee for any other act of enforcement = between EUR 240 and EUR 400, as agreed between the bailiff and his client;

bailiff’s witness fee = EUR 30 each, and EUR 60 if the witness is a bailiff;

if enforcement is cancelled, the bailiff’s fees are reduced by 50 %;

EUR 0.50 for every kilometre which the bailiff and witnesses need to travel from the place where they are based in order to carry out any act;

special bailiff’s fee depending on the degree of complexity of enforcement: as agreed between the bailiff and his client (this is never paid by the person against whom the enforcement is addressed).[2]

The costs of enforcement are borne by the person against whom the enforcement is directed and are paid in advance by the person who commences the enforcement proceedings (Article 932, CCP).

5. Refusal, Stay, or Limitation of Enforcement Procedures

Pursuant to Article 519 of the CCP, the decision of the court of first instance may not be enforced for the duration of the appeal period. Any action taken during the appeal period is void, but precautionary measures may be taken. In final decisions provisionally enforceable, enforcement shall not be suspended, unless it is to be carried out against a third party. Thus, generally a lawful appeal lodged within the appeal period suspends the enforcement of the decision (Article 521, CCP).

Moreover, enforcement proceedings are not allowed when the claim that is to be enforced depends on a suspensive condition or a deadline (Article 915, CCP). Enforcement acts may otherwise be nullified, unless fulfilment of the condition or expiration of the term has in advance been proven by a public or a private document (Articles 915b and 924a, CCP).[3]

However, pursuant to Article 908 of the CCP, the court may declare a judgment provisionally enforceable in whole or in part if exceptional reasons arise or the delay in enforcement may cause significant damage to the creditor. Furthermore, Article 911 of the CPP submits that the court may, at the request of the debtor, condition the provisional enforcement of the judgment on the provision of a corresponding guarantee by the creditor. A guarantee is needed when reasons exist (in particular the financial situation of the creditor) that might impede the reversal of the enforcement in case the enforcement title is reformed or annulled.

Article 912 of the CCP submits that if an appeal against a judgment declared provisionally enforceable in accordance with Articles 908 or 910 is lodged within the deadline, the court may issue an order (at the party’s request) to stay the enforcement proceedings (in part or in whole) if it is likely that the appeal will succeed. The proceedings are stayed until the final judgment. The stay of the enforcement procedure can be conditioned on the provision of a security.

Furthermore, the CCP clarifies explicitly that the stay of the enforcement proceedings, ordered by the Court, does not entail the stay of the provisional measure’s enforcement. Such a stay requires a special request of the debtor. The district civil court which issued the decision is competent under Article 23 of the ESCP Regulation (paragraph 2 of Article 912 of the CCP).

Critical Assessment

Since the ESCP Regulation governs cross-border disputes, the biggest issue of the ESCP judgments enforcement procedure in Greece is that foreigners might find it hard to navigate the Greek enforcement procedure. There is currently no official translation of the CCP. Thus, parties who do not speak Greek will have a hard time enforcing ESCP judgements in Greece as gathering information on the enforcement procedure will be difficult. Furthermore, the entire enforcement procedure is conducted in Greek. The lack of translation has also posed an issue during the compilation of this report and the problem will only be exacerbated for parties without any knowledge on the main principles of substantive and procedural law. Hence, foreign parties with no legal knowledge will probably need to hire a Greek lawyer to help them navigate the enforcement of an ESCP judgement in Greece. This will significantly raise the costs of enforcement – even if they can recoup the costs from the debtor later. These additional hurdles and costs hinder access to justice and oppose the main objective of the ESCP Regulation. Another issue with the Greek enforcement procedure is the lack of digitalisation. It would be extremely helpful for foreigners to be able to enforce ESCP judgements digitally as this would bring down costs and simplify the procedure. However, in Greece no procedure can currently be initiated solely via the internet.

[1]Available at: GREECE&member=1

[2] Available at:

[3] N. Nikas, ‘The Law of Enforcement,’ vol. I, p. 380 ff.