I. Lists and registers of experts
In Greece, experts are listed by specialisation. The registers of experts are kept by the courts of first instance. They are public but are only used by judges who want to appoint an expert. The court may appoint one or more experts, if it considers that the pending issues require specific knowledge. Furthermore, the court is obliged to appoint experts if this is requested by a party, provided that the court considers that special knowledge is required.
Experts have to apply in order to be listed on the register.
After a public invitation to apply at a civil or administrative Court of First Instance (via the official website of the court) the applicant submits a written application with his personal data to the Secretary of the Court of First Instance declaring that:
- he was neither convicted of nor charged with felony or misdemeanour resulting in a deprivation of his political rights,
- he is not deprived of his professional licence,
- he is not deprived of the right of property disposal due to being insolvent or under guardianship,
- he is not a judge, prosecutor or clerk.
After the end of the application procedure, which takes place every year, a draft register of experts is published. After an opposition period the final register is approved by the Multimember Court of First Instance.
For criminal proceedings the expert register is managed by the Council of Judges of Misdemeanours upon the prosecutor's proposal. Experts must meet the following requirements – they must:
- be older than 21 years,
- be legally capable and not mentally disabled,
- not been convicted of felony or misdemeanour resulting in deprivation of their political rights or dismissal from the public service,
- not be deprived of their professional licence,
- not have caused the facts that constitute the object of Expertise,
- not be the competent magistrates, prosecutors, secretaries or clerks in the relevant proceedings,
- not be sentenced for the same crime as the accused and
- not be the spouse, sibling or close relatives of the defendant.
Experts can be removed from the register if they wish, if they do not meet the requirements anymore or if the competent authority decides to do so.
II. Expert’s qualifications
Experts have to be a member of a professional body in order to call themselves experts.
III. Remuneration of experts
In criminal proceedings, the state pays the expert’s remuneration. As far as civil proceedings are concerned, the claimant has to pay an advance on costs for court appointed experts. At the end of the trial, the costs have to be born by the party losing the trial. The expert’s fees are freely negotiable. The parties can, under certain conditions, obtain legal aid with regard to the expert’s remuneration.
IV. Liability of experts
Experts are held liable according to the general contract and tort law. They are not obliged to cover their possible liability via professional indemnity insurance.
V. Additional information about expert proceedings
The main legal provisions applicable to judicial expertise in Greece are Art. 368-392 of the Greek Code of Civil Procedure and Art. 20 § 7 of the royal decree no. 566/1968, law 2882/2001 (Expropriation Code). Further, Art. 159-168 of the Greek Code of Administrative Procedure and Art. 183-203 Greek Code of Criminal Procedure apply.
The court has discretionary power to order the taking of evidence since the purpose of finding out the truth predominates. The only limit to this power is the adversary principle.
1. Appointment of experts
Experts can be appointed by the court and by the parties involved. The appointment of experts in administrative proceedings is similar to the one in civil proceedings. In proceedings before a criminal court, the expert can be appointed by the prosecutor or by the court during the investigation phase. For this purpose, there is a different register than in civil proceedings and the expert has to meet stricter requirements than in civil and administrative proceedings.
a) Appointment by a court
The civil court has discretionary power to appoint an expert either ex officio or according to a litigant's explicit request if the relevant facts cannot be established otherwise. In this case the oral hearing is postponed to a date after the delivery of the expert’s report. The court is free to appoint any person it considers suitable to act as an expert. The expert has to report any conflict of interest to the court. Court-appointed experts have access to the file.
b) Appointment by the parties
There are three types of party appointed experts in Greece: technical consultants (Art. 391-392 of the Code of Civil Procedure, Art. 167 of the Code of Administrative Procedure, Art. 204 et seq. of the Code of Criminal Procedure), extrajudicial experts and expert witnesses. The technical consultant is appointed by the litigant in order to control the action of a court appointed expert. The extrajudicial expert is chosen by the party. His report has to be invoked and submitted by the parties, otherwise it is rejected as unacceptable. If those requirements are fulfilled, the court freely examines and assesses the expert’s opinion. The report is not considered as evidence. It is rather linked to the legal foundation of litigant’s arguments. Expert witnesses are witnesses with special scientific or technical knowledge, questioned by the court.
The court can decide whether it is going to base the reasoning in its judgement on the expert’s opinion. The court can even base its judgement on the opinion of the expert if the expert report was rendered by breaching rules of procedures. However, if the breach of procedural rules is considerable, the expert report is considered not to exist. In this case, the judge may not base the reasoning of the judgement on the expert’s opinion.
2. Procedure (Civil)
Court appointed experts can be cross-examined by the parties’ technical counsels if the parties have hired such counsels. The expert’s only obligation is to deliver the report. Party-appointed experts are allowed to be in contact with the parties during the proceedings, court-appointed experts need the court’s permission to do so.
a) Expert report
In Greek expertise proceedings a preliminary expert report is not required. The main report can be delivered in writing or orally. The expert does not have to follow a certain structure when providing his report.
If the court considers the report to be incomplete or in case of the expert’s unjustified misconduct, the court can order the drafting of a new or an additional report ex officio or upon request of the parties. The court can also order that the expert has to pay the court fees because of the expert’s unjustified misconduct.
The expert’s report can be challenged by the parties’ statements and a counter-expertise.
b) Court hearing
The judge only orders the expert to attend the hearings in exceptional cases.
The information presented here was gathered during the Find an Expert Project from contacts per country selected by the European Expertise & Experts Institute EEEI.
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