Greece - Time Bars
- Timebars and prescription of a right to claim in maritime cases are regulated in the provisions of the Greek Civil Code (GCC) and the Code of Private Maritime Law (CPML) except where international conventions and agreements have been ratified and incorporated into Greek Law.
The general prescription limitation provided by the GCC is 20 years unless otherwise provided. In very general terms the limitation for commercial transactions is five years. Tort claims are also subject to a five year limitation period with time to count from the day the victim became aware of the damage and the person liable to compensate him but in any case, not longer than 20 years from the time the action constituting the tort took place. Under the GCC, contractual clauses providing for shorter limitation periods are deemed null and void.
In the maritime sector there are generally two time limitations (prescriptions): One year for crew remuneration claims, claims for provisions, repairs equipment etc. to ships, claims out of contracts of affreightment and claims due to collision damage and general average. Two years, for claims out of marine insurance, salvage claims and claims against the shipbuilder for newbuilding defects. The period for both these prescriptions commences upon the expiration of the calendar year within which the events giving rise to the claim occurred. It should be noted that Greece has ratified most of the main international maritime conventions currently in force, such as the 1910 Collision Convention, the 1972 Collision Regulations, the York Antwerp Rules, the 1989 London International Convention on Salvage, the Civil Liability Convention 1969, the 1971 Fund Convention and The Hague-Visby Rules. Therefore, for claims under those international conventions, the respective time bars or limitations provided therein apply.
From the procedural point of view, unless a Court rules otherwise, filing of appeals against first instance judgements in substantive proceedings suspends payment of any amount awarded (although statutory interest is applied) until such time that a full, final and unappealable decision is reached. This is not however the case in relation to fines imposed by the State under administrative legislation. The time available to appeal is provided in law and detailed in the respective decision however filing of an appeal does not, in itself, suspend or preclude its payment.
|Claim/Incident Type||Time Bar|
|Stevedores, inspectors and other visitors on board (injury or death), tort claims|
|Claims by the State regards to Stowaways and refugees|
|Claims for cargo damage or loss against the Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) or its servants|
|Loss or damage to property|
|Loss or damage due to collision|
|Damage to vessel by shore facilities/stevedores|
|Wreck removal and associated liabilities|
|Fines imposed by the State for infringements of Customs Law and other violations|
NOTE: The information given above is subject to change without notice due to the current economic and political situation in Greece which has resulted in numerous changes to national legislation and reform of the judicial system and processes. We therefore urge Members to contact the local Club correspondent in the event of any claim to ensure their interests are properly protected.