Defendants (criminal proceedings)


Getting independent legal advice is very important when you are involved in some way with the criminal process. The factsheets tell you when and in what circumstances you are entitled to be represented by a lawyer. They also tell you what a lawyer will do for you. This general factsheet tells you how to find a lawyer and how the costs of the lawyer will be met if you cannot afford to pay.

Saturu nodrošina

Finding a lawyer

If you need a lawyer and you are not being held in custody you can contact the Athens Bar Association or the Bar Association of the region where your trial is to take place (e.g. Thessaloniki Bar Association, Piraeus Bar Association, Heraklion Bar Association, etc.).

If you need a lawyer and you are being held in custody you can ask the police or the prison authorities, to help you find an attorney or refer you to the above Bar Associations.

Paying for a lawyer

You can receive free legal aid if your income is low. Free legal aid consists of the appointment of an attorney to represent you. The appointment applies until the end of the trial or of the procedure before courts of the same level, as well as any appeal against the decision.

A lawyer can be appointed:

  • during the drafting and filing of charges in the case of certain specifically defined offences,
  • during the criminal investigation stage and the hearing of the case when the crime in question is a felony,
  • during the hearing of the case, for misdemeanors tried by the three-member Misdemeanors Court which attract a minimum sentence of six months’ imprisonment,
  • to file an appeal and represent you during the appeal hearing before the court of second instance, where you have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment of at least six months by the court of first instance,
  • to make an appeal on a point of law where you have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment of at least one year,
  • to apply for a retrial where you have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment of at least six months.

You are entitled to free legal aid even if your income is not excessively low, as long as you can prove that you cannot pay for legal expenses due to the differences in the cost of living between that of your Member State of permanent residence and that of Greece.

In order to receive free legal aid and have a lawyer appointed on your behalf, you need to apply to the Court which is to try the case or the Court where your appeal or application for a retrial are to be heard.

This application must be submitted 15 days before the trial or the action for which you are seeking legal aid. The application must include a brief description of the subject matter of the trial or the action as well as evidence of your eligibility for free legal aid and all necessary documentation with regard to your financial status (see in more detail Law 3226/4-2-2004, Government Gazette Α’ 24/2004).

Related links

List of Bar Associations

Last update: 17/11/2021

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