Questionnaire on the Independence of administrative Justice: Greece
I./ Personal Independence of the administrative Judge:
1. Indicate the ways in which judges are selected/appointed for/to admininstrative Justice as well as the terms and nature of the judicial selection/appointment:
1.1. What type of decision-making procedure is applied?
In order to be appointed as an administrative judge in Greece, it is necessary to succeed in a special contest, be admitted to the National School of Judges (Administrative Judges Section) and graduate successfully from this Section.
1.2. What are the qualifications and terms of this kind of nomination?
The candidate judge must be a Greek citizen, having fulfilled his military service (if he is a man), having completed 27 years of age and having obtained a law degree. He is appointed as an interim judge to the Administrative Court of First Instance for six months and after that period, if he is found to be capable of exercising judicial duties, he (she) is appointed as an administrative judge, to the above court, for life.
1.3. Is there specific professional background such as previous work record in the administration or general legal training included?
No, there are not such requirements.
1.4. What are the possible contents examined during this procedure?
For the admittance to the National School of Judges, it is necessary to demonstrate practical skills and knowledge of the Greek Public Law, as well as in other fields of law (civil law, civil procedural law, commercial law etc.) by proposing solutions to given model-cases. It is also necessary to know very well, at least one foreign language. The committee of the examiners is composed by judges of the Council of State (Supreme Administrative Court), judges of the Administrative Court of Appeal and Legal Scholars.
1.5. Who decides and who selects and appoints the aforementioned decision –makers?
The selection-committee of the National School of Judges is appointed by the Minister of Justice on the proposal of the relevant judicial councils of the administrative Justice and the decision of nominating an administrative judge for life is made by Presidential Decree on the proposal of the aforesaid judicial councils
1.6. Does the law provide for judicial remedies against such decisions?
For the non admission to the National School of Judges there is no judicial remedy. If the graduate is not found capable of being appointed as a life judge, or if it is decided to prolong the interim stage up to 1 more year, he (she) can challenge that decision, before the Plenary Assembly of the Council of State, which will have the final word upon the issue.
1.7. Does there exist any difference in the way the selection/appointment of judges of the civil/penal courts takes place?
No, it is exactly the same procedure.
1.8. Is it possible for “external candidates” to be appointed as judges at different court levels and instances?
No, the only available procedure is the above mentioned. Under no way can one be appointed directly to a higher court, with the exception of the Auditors of the Council of State.
1.9. Are those legal provisions concerning the ways of selection/appointment of judges constitutionally entrenched?
With the exception of the National School of Judges, yes.
2. Describe in brief the conditions of service and tenure (security of tenure, suspension and removal, transfers etc.) of the judges:
2.1. Is the term of judicial appointment for life?
Yes, meaning that the judge has to retire at 65 (or 67 for the Presidents of the Administrative Courts of Appeal or for higher ranking judges.
2.2. Is it possible to extent the term of service of judges beyond retirement age? In this case who has the power to take the decision?
Under no way is the extension possible, since it is so regulated by the Greek Constitution.
2.3. Is it possible to appoint temporary judges?
No, it is forbidden by the Constitution.
2.4. Is it possible for the judge to be removed or transferred and under what specific terms?
The judges may be removed from office due to incapacity (mental or physical) or disciplinary reasons, by the Plenary Assembly of the Council of State. The judges can be transferred to a different administrative court, either if they ask for it, or it is necessary for a vacancy to be filled, or for disciplinary reasons, as well, in accordance to a decision of the competent judicial council of the Council of State.
2.5. With whom does the power of removing or transfering judges from one office to another lie?
With the Council of State only (Supreme Administrative Court).
2.6. Is it possible to transfer between the different divisions and types of courts?
No, it is forbidden by the Constitution.
2.7. Is it possible to transfer to government administration and back?
No, it is forbidden by the Constitution.
2.8. Does a transfer to the administration have a career-promoting effect?
2.9. Is incompetence a ground for removal of a judge from the bench?
Yes it is, as above mentioned.
3. Financial security (salaries, remunerations, pensions etc.)
3.1. Who determines judicial salaries?
Basically, the Government (Minister of Finance and Minister of Justice).
3.2. In what way and under what conditions are the salaries of judges increased? Are they accompanied by annual cost-of-living adjustments?
They are increased only by law, introduced by the above Minister. Annual adjustments are available.
3.3. Is there a need for executive approval or executive decision to initiate the increase?
Yes, that is the general rule.
3.4. Is it possible for the judges to initiate judicial proceedings against the State with regard to their remuneration and which are the competent courts in this case?
Yes it is. According to a Constitutional Amendment of 2001, there has been established a Special Supreme Court, composed of 3 Judges, 3 Lawyers and 3 Law Professors, which is competent to adjudicate such disputes.
3.5. Is there a uniform salary scheme for all courts, divisions and types?
Yes. The only variations are connected to the judicial hierarchy.
4. Career prospects (promotions etc.)
4.1. Describe briefly the ways in which the promotions of judges are made. What kind of procedures apply in this case?
The administrative judges are promoted to the next rank, by a decision of the competent judicial councils, after having completed a minimum of service to the inferior rank and in order to fill vacancies to the next rank. The ranks are: Judge of the Administrative Court of First Instance, President of the Court of First Instance, Judge of the Administrative Court of Appeal, President of the Administrative Court of Appeal (final rank for most of the Administrative Judges).
4.2. Indicate the competent body for the promotions and the criteria applied thereto.
The competent body for the promotions is the Supreme Judicial Council of the Council of State. This Council is composed by members of the Council of State, chosen by lot. The criteria for the promotion are: minimum of service to the lowest rank, very good judicial record, and competence to fulfil the requirements of the higher rank.
4.3. Are judges of the administrative courts promoted to the Supreme Administrative Court and under what conditions (seniority etc.)?
According to the relevant provisions of the Greek Constitution 1/10 of the members of the Council of State (Supreme Administrative Court) come from the Administrative Courts. Seniority is important, an excellent judicial record is required and extra capacities (foreign languages, PhD, etc.) are evaluated as well. The competent body to make the selection is the above mentioned.
4.4. Can judges accept any government assignment after retirement?
Yes, they can.
5. Standards of conduct (professional and service Code, public activities, law-related activities etc.)
5.1. Can a judge be involved in law-related activities (arbitration, law practice, writing books)?
Law practice, or any other profession is strictly prohibited, with the exception of been elected to the Academic Stuff of the Universities. Writing books is also excluded from the above restrictions.
5.2. Can a judge be involved in business activities?
No, they cannot. Recently there have also been established restrictions as far as the acquisition of stocks is concerned.
5.3. Is the judge entitled to sideline employment?
No, he (she) is not. Violation of this rule is a criminal offence.
5.4. Is there a Code of conduct of judicial behaviour?
No, but there are unwritten rules, respected by all judges.
5.5. Is there a Commission on Judicial Conduct or any other body to supervise the behaviour of a judge?
No, except for the above mentioned councils and the Minister of Justice.
5.6. Describe the restrictions –if there are any- on judge’s right to express his/her views?
They must not express political affiliations, demonstrate lack of impartiality, use hostile expressions towards the judicial hierarchy and undermine the integrity of the judicial power.
6. Inspection of judges and disciplinary proceedings
6.1. Who is in charge of the inspection of judges and in what way is this inspection conducted?
The Council of State (Supreme Administrative Court) and the President of the Administrative Court of Appeal for his (her) district. The inspection encompasses control of the quality and quantity of the judicial work, their academic background, efficiency, moral character and strength, performed at the exercise of their duties.
6.2. Are there specific criteria for the evaluation of the performance of judges?
Speed, accuracy, diligence, and of course lack of disciplinary offences.
6.3. Who holds the legal power to initiate disciplinary proceedings against the judge?
The Minister of Justice for all the Judges, the junior Vice President of the Council of State for all the Administrative Judges and the President of the Administrative Court of Appeal for the judges of his (her) district.
6.4. Who decides the disciplinary tribunal and its composition? Is it permanent or ad hoc?
The Council of State and the Administrative Court of Appeal. The members are chosen by those judges, among themselves, every two years by lot.
6.5. Is there a legal remedy against the decisions of the disciplinary body provided for by law?
Usually, they are composed in 2 degrees and there is a right of appeal, both for the accused judges and the Minister of Justice.
6.6. Is there a special procedure for investigating and prosecuting a judge?
No, but there is a special jurisdiction, as far as their criminal prosecution is concerned (Penal Court of Appeal).
II./ Functional and Institutional Independence of administrative jurisdiction:
2.a./ General aspects
1. Separation of powers and judicial independence
1.1. Indicate with whom the responsibility for the central court administration lies?
It lies with the Ministry of Justice, acting jointly with the Council of State.
2. Individual and collective independence of the judiciary
2.1. Is it possible for sanctions (of any kind) to be imposed on a judge based upon the content of his/her decision?
Only in special circumstances (malicious act or erroneous negligence) there is a special court that is competent to adjudicate claims against the judges on mistrial.
2.2. Can a judge face disciplinary charges solely on the basis of the substance of his/her ruling? Is this a case when a judge declines to follow a supreme court’s decision?
There is not such a case under the Greek Constitution.
2.3. Do you think that accountability of judges threatens judicial independence?
No, as long as there are transparent rules and fair proceedings.
2.4. Can a judge be held liable in civil actions for his/her judicial acts (e.g. be sued for damages for actions taken in his/her judicial capacity)?
See above question 2.1.
2.5. Are judges immune from prosecution in other courts for their judicial acts?
No, they are not. They might be charged with the crime of breach of duty, if the prerequisites of this crime are met.
2.6. Can criminal charges be brought against a judge for actions on his/her duties?
See the previous question.
2.7. Do judges face sanctions for “decisional conducts”?
Not under the Greek Law.
3. Judicial administration at the Court level (division of work among judges and assignment of cases etc.)
3.1. Is the division of work among judges and the assignment of cases to each judge or panel done according to a predetermined rigid plan or is it flexible and may be changed easily?
It is flexible and it depends mainly on the Presiding Judge, who has to comply with the general rules provided for in the Regulation of the Court, laid down by the plennary Session of each Court (when it comes to big Courts like those of Athes, Thessaloniki, Piraeus, Patra).
3.2. Who is in charge of case assignment?
The Presiding Judge.
4. Judicial self-administration
4.1. Is judicial administration effected through independent judicial self-governance?
Yes, in big Courts with many divisions. In smaller Courts it is for the senior President to run the Court.
4.2. Describe briefly how the governing body/committee is elected?
1/3 of the total number of Presidents and Judges serving in the Court, in rank of seniority, are candidates and the Plenary Assembly of that Court elects, by secret ballot, one President and two Judges to form the governing body of the Court.
4.3. Is there any restriction for the members of the above body to participate in other syndicalistic bodies?
It is not possible to participate in the above body and in the Association of Administrative Judges at the same time. Members of the latter (Association) are not eligible for the above body, even for one period of two years after their term.
5. Human, financial and material resources necessary for the performance of judicial functions
5.1. Who is responsible for the administrative staff employed in the courts?
The Ministry of Justice.
5.2. Who is competent to make available the necessary funds for the performance of justice?
The Ministry of Justice.
5.3. Who has the power to execute and spend the budgetary allocations?
The Ministry of Justice.
2.b./ The relation between administrative jurisdiction and other powers:
1. relations with the executive (the influence of the Administration on the judge etc.)
1.1. Have there been cases of executive pressure on judges in any form?
Never in an official form.
1.2. Can judges be members of the Government?
No, according to the Constitution.
1.3. Is it allowed for judges to participate in administrative bodies having decisive or consultory competences?
Only in committees performing quasi-judicial duties and in committees preparing drafts of legislation.
1.4. Do the administrative courts have the power to challenge administrative acts of general character (presidential decrees etc.)?
Only indirectly, since the proper judge for this task is the Council of State.
2. relations with the legislature (retroactive legislative reversals of cases etc.)
2.1. Can the legistlature override a decision of a court if they disagree with the way the latter has applied or interpreted a law?
No, this is against the Constitution and there is relevant case-law.
2.2. Have there been retroactive legislative reversals of court decisions?
Sometimes in the past but the Courts reacted properly.
2.3. Has there been legislation abolishing courts with results of statutory removal of judges and if so, how was it received?
There has not been such a legislation.
2.4. pending cases?
No, this is against the Constitution and there is relevant case-law.
2.5. Can judges be members of the legislature?
No, according to the Greek Constitution.
2.6. Do the administrative courts have the power to challenge laws?
Yes, the administrative courts can challenge the constitutionality of laws, but they can not abrogate the laws. They can only deny their applicability to the case pending before them.
3. Interest representation of administrative judges
3.1. Are judges organised in associations for furthering their rights and interests?
Yes, they are.
3.2. Are there separate professional representation for administrative judges, or a joint association of judges?
There is a separate Association of the Administrative Judges.
3.3. What are the specific activities of the aforesaid association? Describe them in brief.
They pursuit matters relating to the judicial salaries, the judicial promotions, organise scientific meetings etc.
3.4. Do judges have the right to strike or to hold a demonstration?
The strike is forbidden by the Constitution. The demonstration not, but only once that has happened.
2.c./ The relation between administrative jurisdiction and the society:
1. The administrative judge and the media scrutiny (the press, the judiciary and the courts, criticism of judicial decisions etc.)
1.1. Is criticism of judges, judicial decisions and judicial conduct in the press existent, frequent, rare? What are the relevant grounds for this? Could you give major examples?
Very frequently the press criticises the judiciary. Last year, there were serious allegations for corruption towards judges of the criminal courts and the press questioned the impartiality of many more. There is tension, when an electoral case occurs. Generally speaking though, the press is friendly towards the Administrative Justice.
1.2. Are trials open to T.V?
Yes, they are with some restrictions.
1.3. Do you think that press reporting and commenting on judges, courts, judicial decisions and matters pending before the courts poses a challenge to judicial independence?
No, it is not. On the contrary it strengthens the judicial independence, as long as transparency is promoted.
2. The administrative judge and the public opinion
2.1. Do you think that a judge’s engagement in politics or speaking his/her mind in favour of a political party compromises the public confidence in the judiciary?
Of course it does. That is why it is forbidden by the Greek Constitution.
2.2. Are there institutions that favour strong public opinion in defence of the independence of the judiciary?
The Bar Association and the Law Schools contribute to that.
3. Judges and politics
3.1. Is it allowed for judges to become member of political parties?
No, according to the Constitution.
3.2. Are there any major restrictions for judges with regard to their political activities? What are the consequences in case of breach?
The judges can never demonstrate political affiliation or hostility. In case of breach, it could be a major disciplinary offence, justifying the removal of the judge.
3.3. Are there any other restrictions for judges as far as their public activity is concerned?
The judges, according to the Judicial Code Act, are expected to behave modestly in public and demonstrate good behaviour.
3.4. Have there been cases where political leaders attacked the judges and criticised their decisions?
Yes, that has happened in some occasions, but the political leaders, usually declare their faith to the credibility of the system.
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QUESTIONNAIRE ON THE EFFICIENCY OF ADMINISTRATIVE JUSTICE
A) Efficiency in the internal organisation of an administrative jurisdiction.1) The judge and his work
1.1 Describe briefly the kind of the initial training and the qualifications of an administrative judge prescribed by law and his further education and/or formation, inter alia in European law, emphasizing more particularly the aspects which might help the judge to improve the efficiency of administrative justice
The candidate administrative judges, having obtained a law degree, must be admitted to and graduate from the National School of Judges (Administrative Section). They are taught on European Law, among other topics, throughout their training in that School. From time to time, educational seminars are held by the National School of Judges, for all the serving judges.
1.2 Do you think that a higher salary paid to the judge and, more specifically, other (material) advantages which may be granted to him in consideration of the output might help to improve the efficiency of administrative justice?
Even though the efficiency of administrative justice can not be connected directly with the level of the judicial salaries, a non well paid judge can not have, by definition, a strong sense of independence, necessary for his best performance in the judicial work.
1.3 Please indicate the number of administrative judges in your country and compare it to the population being under their jurisdiction (an average number can be indicated per country).
The number of administrative judges in Greece is 756 plus 150 members of the Council of State. That means 900 judges per 11.000.000 people, or 1/100.000 citizens.
1.4 Please indicate the number of legal or other assistants (including clerks, secretaries …) working for the administrative jurisdictions, indicating more particularly the average number per judge working at an administrative court
The average number is 1/1,5.
1.5 Describe briefly the working conditions of an administrative judge in your country, emphasizing more particularly the technical means which are at his/her disposal, as well as legal or other assistants helping him/her in his/her duties, his/her access to libraries and data bases, access to internet and so on…
The administrative judge in Greece has to work individually for the preparation on the cases assigned to him (her), whether as a reporting judge to a panel of three, of as a single judge. He (she) has no legal assistants, but only secretaries, attached to the division he (she) serves. The databases of the Administrative Courts are either limited (The Athens Courts), or non existent, with the exception of the Council of State. Nevertheless, there are legal databases accessible from the judges, run by the private sector. The number of the cases assigned to a judge is 17 per month.
1.6 Describe briefly the internal working regulations of an administrative court and more particularly the way in which the work is distributed among the judges, the person in charge of the distribution of the work to be done by the respective judge and of the control of his/her work, indicating inter alia the criteria according to which the way of distribution is decided as well as the criteria according to which the work of the administrative judge is controlled, as well as the possible sanctions which may be taken against the judge who does not fulfil the legal or internal requirements concerning the quality of his/her work. Describe in this context internal control procedures (if there are any)
The person responsible for the distribution of the judicial work among the judges, is, as far as the panel cases are concerned, the presiding judge of each division, who takes into consideration, the seniority of the serving judges, the level of difficulty of the case in concreto, the number of pending cases before the Court etc. It must be noted though that the presiding judge has a wide margin of assessment, as to the above criteria and there is not a mechanism of surveillance for that, with the exception of the inspection of superior judges each year, taking notes for the way those duties are performed. The inspector judges take into consideration all the above when they check the judicial work. The judges that can not meet the quantity or quality standards may be not promoted to the next rank and in some extreme cases of judicial incompetence, they can be removed from the bench.
2 The jurisdictional procedures
2.1 Describe briefly the access to administrative justice, indicating more particularly whether the complaint or file has to be introduced by a lawyer or any other professional and the conditions under which the plaintiffs may have access to legal assistance. Can you also indicate whether the procedures are accomplished only on a written basis or whether also oral hearings take place, indicating in which cases such oral hearings are organised and the persons who, at these occasions, are allowed to make oral submissions to the court
The general rule is that only lawyers are allowed to introduce legal remedies to the administrative court and submit memoranda. Only in a case of interim measures a plaintiff is excused to act on its own, or in a case, introducing an electoral dispute. The procedure before the administrative court contains both written and oral part, requiring both the presence of a lawyer, with the above exceptions.
2.2 Describe briefly the different types of procedures which can be introduced at an administrative court, insisting inter alia on the differences existing between those procedures
A litigant can file a petition against an administrative act, concerning a legal right of his (hers), or a civil action concerning a claim for damages, connected to the tort or contractual liability of the State. The main differences between those procedures is the kind of the claim, pecuniary or not, and the respective power of the administrative Court, since in the first case it can annul or modify the illegal administrative act, while in the second it can award damages etc. to the affected private person or body. Interim relief can be pursued in both types of procedures.
2.3 Describe briefly the different steps of the procedures to be followed at an administrative court of your country, starting with the date the file is introduced until the date the judgment is pronounced, insisting more particularly on the deadlines which may have to be respected by the parties in order to introduce written notices, briefs, pleadings, statements as well as on the deadlines to be respected by the judge to pronounce the judgment
After the introduction of the file the President of the Court sets the date of the hearing of the case, for which the parties (litigants) are summoned to participate by the Secretariat of the Court. The proper administrative authority must produce any evidence and a detailed report on the grounds exposed in the filed legal remedy, at least 20 days before the hearing. The plaintiff may submit any evidence, one day before the hearing. The plaintiff may also submit a memorandum, 3 days after the hearing, elaborating the grounds, put into the initial remedy. The judge has to pronounce the judgement, within 4 months from the date of the hearing.
2.4 Describe briefly the internal organisation of an administrative court, and indicate whether the judges are working in chambers or if they are acting as individual judges, as well as the criteria according to which a case is dealt with either by a chamber or by an individual judge
The judges work both as individual judges and in chambers. As a general rule, a case is introduced to an individual judge, if the pecuniary aspect of the trial is not exceeding the amount of 5.600 Euros. Electoral disputes and social security disputes are always introduced to a panel of three judges and cases concerning the enforcement of pecuniary claims against the State, to a single judge.
2.5 Which kind of procedures do apply in case an urgent matter of any kind is introduced with an administrative court ? Indicate also what kind of decisions may be taken by the judge dealing with this kind of urgent matters
Cases concerning interim relief are introduced in a simplified procedure and the judge may accept evidence, not admissible to a normal procedure.
2.6 Indicate the types of control the administrative court may exercise over the activities of the administration or over the decisions taken by it: is it a control only of the legality of its decisions or can the judge also control whether the discretion was used by the authority in the spirit of the law ? Is the judge allowed to take a decision instead of the administrative authority ? Do exist other types of control procedures ?
The administrative court is empowered to exercise full jurisdiction, meaning that it can either annul an administrative act or modify it, for any legal or substantial errors. However, it can not substitute the Administration, when the latter disposes discretionary power on the relevant plane of administative activity. Other types of control procedures include the Ombudsman and the Independent Authorities.
2.7 Indicate the delays of the procedures introduced with an administrative court, starting from the date of introduction of a complaint until the date the judgment is pronounced (average delays)
When it comes to central administrative Courts (Athens, Thessaloniki, Piraeus, Patra) the average set of a first hearing of a case is 3 years after the initial submission of the case file. As to the rest of the Courts the whole litigation usually comes to an end within 1-2 year. The judge issues the judgement within 4 months after the hearing.
2.8 Which kind of means are at the disposal of the administrative judge (or the parties) in order to provide for a correct execution (enforcement) of the judgment. Does the judge have the possibility to give injunctions to the administration ? Do there exist specific procedures which the parties may use in case the administration does not voluntarily execute the judgments ?
There is a special committee of 3 members of the Council of State that can impose pecuniary penalties on the Administration for not executing the judgements. However, when it comes to judgements of the administrative Courts pronounced on actions for damages, the litigant who won the case is entitled to enforce the judgement by means of expropriating assets belonging to the defeated litigant (State or other public corporation).
2.9 Which kind of new technologies are at the disposal of the administrative judge and do the procedures to be followed at the administrative court provide for the possibility to use standard forms or electronic transmittal techniques (for example, are the parties allowed to introduce the briefs by way of mail or other electronic transmittal systems) ?
The parties are not allowed to introduce motions or evidence through the internet or other electronic transmittal systems.
2.10 Do the administrative courts in your country possess central computer systems to which all judges are linked, and comprising inter alia data bases, general information, laws, procedural acts, access to electronic files and so on
There are central computers in the big courts of Athens and Thessaloniki, but only case-law is available on it for the moment.
2.11 Indicate whether you think that the facilities used by the administrative courts and the means put at the disposal of these courts by the State are appropriate and, if this is not the case, indicate the problems you have noted in this context and the possibilities to remedy.
The electronic databases should be extended to cover legislation, electronic files etc. A site of each Administrative Court, permitting access at least to the judgements of the Court should be the next proper step.
2.12 Indicate the total amount of money spent by the State to ensure the functioning of administrative justice, compared to the total amount of the State budget
2.13 Do there exist alternatives to the contentious proceedings, for example mediation, arbitration procedure and so on in your country ?
The existing alternatives are very limited and are not connected directly to the judicial proceedings, since they take place in the context of the Administration.
2.14 Which kind of effective legal remedies can be used against a judgment of an administrative court of first instance ?
The litigants have the right to appeal a judgement of first instance before of the competent Administrative Court of Appeal. The appeal does not suspend the execution of the attacked judgement automatically, but a motion of suspension can be introduced to the above Court of Appeal.
B) Efficiency in the relations of an administrative jurisdiction towards third parties
1) Access by the public or the parties to the information held by the administrative courts
1.1 Do the administrative courts in your country have a person in charge of the relations with the press (press speaker) ?
No, they do not.
1.2 Do the administrative courts in your country prepare annual reports about their activities ? Is this report available to the public ? To whom/ or to which body this report is it addressed ?
Annual reports for the activities of the Administrative Courts are prepared by the General Commissioner of the Administrative Courts. The above reports are handed over to the Minister of Justice who may publish the information in any case he thinks suitable.
1.3 Does there exist a possibility to access by internet or by any other means the judgments pronounced by the administrative courts and other documents which might be relevant for the public/parties?
There is such (limited in scope) possibility for the subscribers of private electronic databases. The relevant electronic files are not accessible by the public, for the moment.
1.4 Do the parties of the case pending at an administrative court have the possibility to get information, by electronic or other means, about their file and the state of the proceedings
Not, for the moment.
Do the administrative courts of your country have the possibility to exchange information or experience with other national or international courts or with courts situated in other countries and, if this is the case, could you give more information about this kind of exchanges ?
There is not such an option.
2) Control of the activities of the administrative courts
2.1 Do the administrative courts prepare statistics about affairs settled during the judicial year, about the stock of affairs pending and about the number of affairs dealt with by individual judges ?
Yes, they do. Those statistics are not available to the Public.
2.2 Do the administrative courts possess electronic systems to ensure the follow-up of the affairs pending (e.g. electronic file system…) ?
Only the big courts of Athens and Thessaloniki. There is a program run by the Ministry of Justice to create such databases in the provincial courts.
2.3 In your country, are there mutual or internal evaluations (on periodical basis) of the quantity and quality of the work to be done by the court ? Which is the body which is competent to prepare this kind of evaluations, are they done by the court itself or by any other bodies, authorities or courts ? Do there exist control procedures of the judicial work done by the administrative judges and, if this is the case, by which kind of authorities (national or international) are these procedures accomplished ?
Apart from the annual reports submitted to the Ministry of Justice by the General Commissioner of the Administrative Courts (see above question B.1.2.), there are not any other procedures for the evaluation of the judicial work of the whole court.
2.4 Which kind of sanctions may be taken against individual judges in case of misbehaviour or in case the work to be done by judges has not been delivered in certain delays
The sanctions are of disciplinary nature, such as fines, temporary removal from the bench, denial of promotions to the next rank and in exceptional cases, removal from office. All those sanctions are imposed by the proper judicial councils.
2.5 Do exist compensation procedures in case of errors committed by the court or individual judges or in case of delays in the proceedings? If this is the case, could you briefly describe the kind of compensation procedures which may be used by the victims of such errors or delays?
The litigants can file a claim for damages against an administrative judge before a special supreme court, if the judicial error was provoked by malicious act, or heavy negligence, or in a case of refusal to deliver a judgement. The claim is excused to be filed, only after the exhaustion of all other legal remedies, which are at the disposal of the litigant who suffered losses, according to procedural law (i.e. appeal). This does not apply to judicial delays.
2.6 Do exist possibilities for the public or the parties to introduce complaints against the way the administrative courts work
The public or the litigants can file a report of complaints to the Minister of Justice, the President of the Council of State, the General Commissioner of the Administrative Courts, the Presidents of the Courts of Appeal. If the complaints are found to be grounded, disciplinary action may be initiated.
2.7 Do there exist studies about the feed-back of “customers” (in a broad sense of meaning) of administrative justice, on the bases of inquiries made among the public, the parties or their lawyers, about the functioning of the court ?
No, they are not.
1. Could you indicate, according to your opinion, which are the factors (concerning organisation or rules of process) that cause malfunctions in the administrative judicial system in your country ?
There are problems as far as the infrastructure is concerned, which is incomplete. There is also a lack of “judicial policy” from the Ministry of Justice and the Council of State. The Administrative Judges are not participating in any way to the decisions concerning matters of judicial organisation. Salaries and promotions are poor. Nevertheless, the situation is better compared with the one concerning the civil courts.
2. Could you indicate which, in your opinion, might be possible remedies ?
Increasing the money to be spent for the infrastructure, better education for judges, development of filtering mechanisms and arbitration procedures, to reduce the number of pending cases.
3. Have you noted whether effective measures have been introduced in recent times to improve the system in your country ?
There is under way a legislative initiative of the Government, in order to speed up the process before the administrative Courts. Since it has not been introduced yet, the success of it remains to be seen.