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Parliamentary questions
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13 December 2019
Question for written answer E-004411/2019
to the Commission
Rule 138
Elena Kountoura (GUE/NGL), Dimitrios Papadimoulis (GUE/NGL), Stelios Kouloglou (GUE/NGL), Petros Kokkalis (GUE/NGL), Alexis Georgoulis (GUE/NGL), Konstantinos Arvanitis (GUE/NGL)
 Answer in writing 
 Subject: Violation of EU law and the right to the provision of judicial protection in Greece

Since 30 November in Greece, the payment of judicial stamp duty has been mandatory for declaratory actions brought before a Multi-Member Court of First Instance (Article 42 of Law 4640/2019). The amendment that has been adopted reintroduces a provision that was repealed by the previous government (Law 4446/2016), as it was deemed unconstitutional in the light of part of the jurisprudence, because it undermines the right to judicial protection and disproportionately affects the most economically disadvantaged parties (1) .

It is clear from the recital that the government does not treat the justice system as a pillar of democracy and the guardian of civil and social rights, but as ‘a costly public mechanism’ and a ‘mechanism to collect funds to cover its financial operating costs’.

Bearing in mind that:

the above provision constitutes an illegitimate restriction which impedes the open access of every citizen to justice since economically disadvantaged citizens are excluded from the right to the provision of legal protection, in breach of Article 20 of the Constitution and Article 6 (1) of the ECHR.

It is contrary to EU law, as there is no upper limit to the amount of the stamp duty nor is it related to material competence and thus to the actual costs of the legal proceedings. Consequently, the obligation in question is excessive and disproportionate with regard to the intended purpose and entails a restriction on the right to the provision of judicial protection (2) .

In view of the above, will the Commission say:

What action will it take to ensure that EU law and the right to the provision of judicial protection are not infringed?

(1)Plenary Council of State (Pl. CoS) 601/2012 Nomiko Vima (law journal) 2012.376, Pl. CoS 3087/2011, Plenary, Court of Auditors 2006/2008, Pl. CoS 647/2004, Corporate Law (law journal) 2004.821, Supreme Special Court 33/1995, Dikaiosyni (law journal) 1995.571, ECHR of 28-10-1998, Ait Mououb v France, 15-2-2-2000 Garcia Manipardo v Spain, 19-5-2001 Kreuz v Poland, Judgment ECHR of 24-5-2006 Liakopoulos v Greece.
(2)According to the case law of the ECJ, the amount of the contributory fee must be proportional to the cost incurred by the public administration, and if the level of the fee is generally irrelevant with regard to the costs incurred by the administration, then it cannot constitute a contributory fee (see ECJ judgment 2/12/1997, Fantask A / S and Others v Industriministeriet and Pl. CoS 3470/2007).
Original language of question: EL
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