Judicial Proceedings before the Court of Auditors and the Effective Administration of Justice – A New Bill is Opening for Public Consultation

Judicial Proceedings before the Court of Auditors and the Effective Administration of Justice – A New Bill is Opening for Public Consultation

Authors: Constantinos Kavadellas, Danai Ladea, KG Law Firm

The Greek Ministry of Justice launches public consultation on a new bill concerning provisions for the Court of Auditors and the effective administration of justice, which is open until 29 May 2020. The most significant provisions of that bill are the following:

I. Provisions for the Court of Auditors

  • The aforementioned bill makes severe changes in the operation of the Court of Auditors by promoting the adoption of a single procedural text consolidating all the procedural provisions that were fragmented in the legislation or were applied mutatis mutandis by the Codes of Civil or Administrative Procedure.
  • The legal framework relating to the pre-contractual audit, carried out by the Court of Auditors, is ameliorated by clarifying the existing provisions and avoiding any contradictions or difficulties in their implementation:
    • A single monetary threshold of EUR 300,000 for the subjection to control is suggested, whereas a distinction is made when it comes to the allocation of the audit power since contracts with an estimated value from EUR 300,000 to 1,000,000 fall within the competency of the Commissioner of the Court of Auditors.
    • The local government agencies are no more differentiated when it comes to a monetary threshold.
    •  A pre-contractual audit will be obligatory for the property purchase contracts.
    • The co-financed by the European Union contracts are subjected to obligatory pre-contractual audit if the estimated value exceeds the amount of EUR 5,000,000 and not the amount of EUR 10,000,000 as the existing legislation regulates.
    • Provisions are also made for specific categories of contracts that according to case law or explicit legislative provisions should be subjected to a pre-contractual audit, such as contracts for the exploitation of the assets of the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) (Article 324).
  • An Audit Division will be established, responsible for the identification of systemic problems and their causes, for the assessment of the reliability of the internal control systems of the public administration and for the conduct of controls following a decision of the Parliament (Article 340).

II. Provisions for the effective administration of justice

  • A new Independent Service will be created for the collection and use of statistics for the judiciary system (Just Stat), enabling the administration of Justice to take decisions for the organisation and operation of the courts based on objective data reflecting the courts’ actual situation (Article 360).
  • Relating to civil courts, the administration of the courts of first instance and the courts of appeal of Athens and Thessaloniki may, if needed, create special sections with extended local competence, for the hearing of cases related to electronic communication, energy and personal data (Article 361).
  • Concerning the administrative courts, in particular, provisions are made for the creation of special sections with specialised judges for the hearing of any kind of administrative disputes that deems necessary and not only for specific categories of disputes, as provided for in the existing legal framework (Article 362).

It goes without saying, that through these interventions the legislator aims to reduce efficiently the time needed for the administration of justice, especially in matters relating to significant investments but also in cases the hearing of which is crucial for the financial development of the country and the international evaluation of the Greek judicial system. It remains to be seen to what extent these provisions will be adopted by the Greek Parliament.

Authors: Constantinos Kavadellas, Danai Ladea, KG Law Firm

The Greek Ministry of Justice launches public consultation on a new bill concerning provisions for the Court of Auditors and the effective administration of justice, which is open until 29 May 2020. The most significant provisions of that bill are the following:

I. Provisions for the Court of Auditors

  • The aforementioned bill makes severe changes in the operation of the Court of Auditors by promoting the adoption of a single procedural text consolidating all the procedural provisions that were fragmented in the legislation or were applied mutatis mutandis by the Codes of Civil or Administrative Procedure.
  • The legal framework relating to the pre-contractual audit, carried out by the Court of Auditors, is ameliorated by clarifying the existing provisions and avoiding any contradictions or difficulties in their implementation:
    • A single monetary threshold of EUR 300,000 for the subjection to control is suggested, whereas a distinction is made when it comes to the allocation of the audit power since contracts with an estimated value from EUR 300,000 to 1,000,000 fall within the competency of the Commissioner of the Court of Auditors.
    • The local government agencies are no more differentiated when it comes to a monetary threshold.
    •  A pre-contractual audit will be obligatory for the property purchase contracts.
    • The co-financed by the European Union contracts are subjected to obligatory pre-contractual audit if the estimated value exceeds the amount of EUR 5,000,000 and not the amount of EUR 10,000,000 as the existing legislation regulates.
    • Provisions are also made for specific categories of contracts that according to case law or explicit legislative provisions should be subjected to a pre-contractual audit, such as contracts for the exploitation of the assets of the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) (Article 324).
  • An Audit Division will be established, responsible for the identification of systemic problems and their causes, for the assessment of the reliability of the internal control systems of the public administration and for the conduct of controls following a decision of the Parliament (Article 340).

II. Provisions for the effective administration of justice

  • A new Independent Service will be created for the collection and use of statistics for the judiciary system (Just Stat), enabling the administration of Justice to take decisions for the organisation and operation of the courts based on objective data reflecting the courts’ actual situation (Article 360).
  • Relating to civil courts, the administration of the courts of first instance and the courts of appeal of Athens and Thessaloniki may, if needed, create special sections with extended local competence, for the hearing of cases related to electronic communication, energy and personal data (Article 361).
  • Concerning the administrative courts, in particular, provisions are made for the creation of special sections with specialised judges for the hearing of any kind of administrative disputes that deems necessary and not only for specific categories of disputes, as provided for in the existing legal framework (Article 362).

It goes without saying, that through these interventions the legislator aims to reduce efficiently the time needed for the administration of justice, especially in matters relating to significant investments but also in cases the hearing of which is crucial for the financial development of the country and the international evaluation of the Greek judicial system. It remains to be seen to what extent these provisions will be adopted by the Greek Parliament.