Greece and the United States are parties to the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extra-Judicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters (20 U.S.T. 361, T.I.A.S. 6638; 28 U.S.C.A. (Appendix following Rule 4 FRCvP); 16 I.L.M. 1339 (1977)). The Hague Service Convention provides for service by international registered mail, by agent and by formal request to the foreign central authority (see Rule 4(f)(1) F.R.Cv. P). For a detailed discussion of the operation of the Hague Service Convention, consult our flyer on the Convention . Service can be effected in Greece under the Convention through the Greek Central Authority.
A request for service by the Central Authority can be made by an attorney by submitting the documents to be served under cover of form USM-94 in duplicate to the foreign central authority. The Convention form (USM-94) is available at the office of any United States Marshal and is reprinted in the Martindale Hubbell Law Directory, Law Digest Volume, Selected International Conventions, after the text of the Hague Service Convention.
COUNTRY CENTRAL AUTHORITY
Department of Administrative and Judicial Affairs
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic
10671 Athens, Greece
The Greek Central Authority has informed the Hague Conference for Private International Law that all documents forwarded to them for service under the provisions of the Convention must be in duplicate and must be written in or translated into Greek.
There are generally no costs incurred in connection with service through the central authority under the Convention.
METHODS OF SERVICE
Article 5(b) – Personal Service: If personal service is required, strike out methods (a) and (c) on the Request for Service form (USM-94) and indicate method (b) on the form, noting that the documents should be served personally upon the person or company to be served.
COMPLETING AND TRANSMITTING THE USM-94 FORM
To obtain guidance on completing the USM-94 form, consult our general flyer on the Hague Service Convention available via our home page on the Internet or via our automated fax service. The completed request form and documents to be served (two copies of each) should be mailed by requesting counsel as the “applicant” directly to the foreign Central Authority as provided by Article 3 of the Convention.
SERVICE BY AGENT
Personal service by agent may be effected in Greece. Only Greek bailiffs can be hired for this purpose, although the assistance of a Greek attorney is permitted. Documents served through a bailiff must be translated into Greek. If the translation is performed in the U.S., the translator must attest to the validity of the translation before a notary public, whose signature must be certified by the State Secretary using the 1961 Hague Convention Apostille. Alternatively, the documents may be translated by a Greek consulate in the U.S. or by the translation office of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs at a cost of approximately $10-12 per page. Service of process by bailiffs is permitted in Greece only in civil cases. In criminal cases, service must be requested through letters rogatory.
SERVICE BY CONSULAR OFFICERS
U.S. consular officers will serve criminal subpoenas emanating from U.S. Federal Courts upon U.S. citizens only (22 CFR 92.86). 28 U.S.C. 1783 provides the statutory authorization for consular assistance in this narrow range of cases.
Greece Process Service
SERVICE BY MAIL
Service by mail is not prohibited, but it is not considered valid service under Greek law. If enforcement of a judgment in Greece is anticipated, service should be accomplished by some other method.
APPLICABLE TREATIES OR OTHER AGREEMENTS
The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 21 UST 77; 596 UNTS 261; TIAS 6820 (Article 5).;
Greece – United States Consular Convention, 33 Stat. 2122;T.S. 424; 8 Bevans 313 (1903).Treaty of Extradition, 47 Stat. 2185; TS 855; 8 Bevans353; 138 LNTS 293 (1932).
Greece is not a party to a bilateral treaty or a multilateral convention concerning the taking of evidence except in certain drug trafficking cases falling under the 1988 UN Convention Against Illegal Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs and terrorist cases under the 1970 Convention against Hijacking.
DEPOSITIONS OF WILLING WITNESSES
In a civil case, a voluntary deposition may be taken before an examining magistrate. American, Greek, or third-country nationals may be deposed in this manner in civil cases. Depositions of willing witnesses abroad in civil cases may also be taken on notice before any consul or vice consul of the United States (22 U.S.C. 4215; 4221; 28 U.S.C., Appendix, Rules of Civil Procedure, Rules 28-31).
SCHEDULING A DEPOSITION AT THE U.S. EMBASSY
Services of a U.S. consular officer in connection with oral depositions or depositions on written questions must be scheduled in advance directly with the American Citizens Services office of the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Athens via phone or fax as provided below. If the services of a U.S. consular officer are required to administer oaths to the witnesses, stenographer, and any interpreter outside the embassy, additional fees are charged for such services.
Commercial stenographer and interpreter services are available in Greece. Consult the U.S. Embassy/Consulate General for additional information.
In a criminal case, evidence may be requested through letters rogatory (see our general flyer regarding Preparation of Letters Rogatory . Even in the absence of a relevant treaty, the Greek government will often act on the basis of reciprocity. In civil cases in which a witness is unwilling to testify or produce evidence, this method may also be used, but the witness cannot be compelled to comply. The letters rogatory should be prepared in accordance with Moore”s Federal Practice, Vol. 4, 28.05 (See also 22 C.F.R. 92.54 -92.66). All documents should be prepared in duplicate and accompanied by certified Greek translations (see Translations ) and forwarded to the Department of State, which will transmit them through the U.S. Embassy in Athens to the Greek authorities. This must be accompanied by a certified check, cashier”s check, or money order made payable to the American Embassy Athens in the amount of $500.00 for incidental expenses including the consular fee of $455.00. After the request has been executed by the appropriate Greek judicial authorities, it will be returned via diplomatic channels.Greece and the U.S. have negotiated a bilateral Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty in Criminal Matters (MLAT). However the MLAT treaty has not been ratified and is not yet in force.
HOST COUNTRY CLEARANCE – PARTICIPATION OF LOCAL, STATE OR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS FROM THE UNITED STATES
If a local, state, or federal government official from the United States intends to participate in the voluntary deposition of a willing witness abroad, formal host country and U.S. Embassy clearance is required. This can be obtained by contacting the Office of American Citizens Services. The request should be made at least ten days prior to the taking of the deposition to allow sufficient time for local authorities to make a determination about the official travel.
LISTS OF FOREIGN ATTORNEYS
Lists of foreign attorneys prepared by the U.S. Embassy are available from the Office of American Citizens Services or directly from the embassy/consulate in Greece.
AUTHENTICATION OF DOCUMENTS
Greece is a party to the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirements for Legalization of Foreign Public Documents (TIAS 10072; 527 UNTS 189; 20 Int”l Legal Materials 1405-1419 (1981)). The competent authority to issue certifications pursuant to the Convention, (known as “apostille” certificates) is the local nomarchy (department). For Athens, administrative documents come from the Athens Nomarchy, Stadiou 29, Athens, Greece. All judicial documents, both penal and civil, as well as notarial deeds, are legalized by the local Court of First Instance, in the area where the decision or the notarial deed was issued. See also our general flyer on the Hague Legalization Convention or our general flyer for authentication of documents in non-Hague countries available via our home page on the Internet or via our automated fax service.
U.S. EMBASSY/CONSULATE LOCATIONS:
91 Vasilissis Sophias Blvd.
10160 Athens, Greece
APO AE 09842
Tel: (30)(1) 721-2951
Fax: (30)(1) 725-3025
American Consulate General
59 Leoforos Nikis, 54622 Thessaloniki, Greece
PSC 108, Box 37
APO AE 09842
Tel: (30)(31) 242-905
Fax: (30)(31) 242-915
ENFORCEMENT OF JUDGMENTS:
There is no treaty, convention, or other international agreement in force between Greece and the United States regarding enforcement of judgments.
Greece Process Service