Ancient Greek Law System

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Most historians attribute the progressive legal system of ancient Greece to the popular philosophers of civilization. For example, Plato published a book called Laws, which served as a starting point for progressive discussions. Years later, philosophers like Aristotle presented refutations and criticisms of Plato`s crude ideas. Never before has such a development taken place in the field of law. Ultimately, the laws of ancient Greece were far ahead of their time and inspired the judicial systems of many nations that followed. The most important conclusions of ancient Greek law were the democratic judicial process and the introduction of a written body of law. Although each idea had to be developed further, these are the basic concepts of justice in the modern world. From 1200 to 900 BC J.-C., the ancient Greeks did not have an official judicial system. If you committed murder during this time, you would most likely be killed by the victim`s family members.

It wasn`t until the middle of the 7th century BC that official laws were introduced and the concept of trial began with a jury of peers. The Athenians chose a different path when it came to the judicial system. They used different suggestions for each type of decision made in different cases. In the Athenian legal system, there were no professional lawyers, although well-known speechwriters such as Demosthenes wrote speeches delivered by or on behalf of others. These speechwriters have been described as close as a modern lawyer function as the Athenian legal system would allow. [22] Further evidence of ancient Athenian law comes from statements made in surviving speeches of Attic speakers and surviving inscriptions. [1] The Athenian codes of law established by Draco were completely reformed by Solon, the Archon of Athens around 593 BC. Thanks to a complex system of distribution of issues, disputes are heard either by the administrative courts (first instance or courts of appeal) or by the Council of State. Law 4446/2016 introduced amendments to the Code, mainly with regard to legal costs. Law 4446/2016 reformed the provisions of the Bankruptcy Law, the procedural rules for administrative jurisdiction and the rules on court fees, introducing the “voluntary disclosure of tax matters of past years”, electronic transactions, as well as amendments to Law 4270/2014 and other provisions.

Recently, Law 4635/2019 made it mandatory to open proceedings electronically from January 2021. A similar provision already existed in the Presidential Decree regulating the function of the Council of State (first introduced by Law 4055/2012). It is worth mentioning in particular Law 4727/2020, which introduced amendments to the Code of Administrative Procedure for Digital Governance. The third determining factor for Greek law was the absence of jurisprudence comparable to that of the Romans. Even the Attic speakers, for all their practical familiarity with the laws of the city, were primarily interested in presenting arguments capable of convincing the mass jurors before whom they had to argue, rather than analyzing the legal system to better understand its implications. Moreover, philosophers did not care about the law as it was, and their goal was the discovery of abstract norms of justice. At the current stage of research, the only legal system known enough to warrant a description is 4th century Athens. In the democratic period, its judicial system was administered by judges, people`s courts (dikastēria) and the Areopagus. Officials received complaints and organized trials that took place before the courts, with each official having specific jurisdiction: the archon over family and inheritance matters, the “king” (archōn basileus) over religious matters (including murder), the Thesmothetai (“determinants of customs”) and others over the rest. A special jurisdiction was that of the Polemarchos (literally “general”) over the Metik (resident foreigners).

The procedural competence of the dicasteries was based on the principle, first introduced within certain limits of Solon and made universal after the establishment of a full democracy, according to which citizens had to judge in their entirety the affairs of their members. The Dicasts were selected by random draw, and all citizens over the age of 30 are eligible. In rare cases of great political importance, the entire hēliaia (i.e. the People`s Assembly, organized into a court of 6,001 men) was convened. Normally, parts of the hēliaia (specifically called dikastēria), which consisted of 1,501, 1,001 or 501 men in criminal cases and 201 men in civil cases, were responsible for the decision. Especially in the Athenian legal system, the Draco Code was developed to combat the traditions of oral law within the judicial system. Even among citizens, Draco found that court decisions were too often rendered on the basis of inconsistent criteria. Thus, the draconian constitution is considered one of the great political documents that have inspired many political movements throughout history. In order to remain faithful to its democratic policies, the judicial system of ancient Greece was run by bourgeois. This framework serves as inspiration for our modern use of a third-party jury to resolve any court case. In fact, the trials of ancient Greece were often public events that continued without any orientation.

The opinion of the people has always been the decisive factor. In summary, if we were to initiate legal proceedings in ancient Athens, we would find many foreign and confusing procedures and customs. Modern lawyers may have particular difficulty limiting themselves to a one-day trial. However, the basic principles of presenting pleadings and evidence, the right to have one`s own version of history heard and the decisions made by fellow citizens would work in the same way two thousand five hundred years ago as they do today. Ancient Greece is one of the first civilizations most misunderstood in terms of laws and social regulations. Contrary to the “eye for an eye” mentality advocated in other ancient civilizations, Greece approached the law from an advanced point of view. In fact, many bastions of modern law have emerged from Greek philosophy. These are some of the different qualities that defined ancient Greek law. In order to have the right sentences carried out, the Athenians needed a system to convict and convict the guilty. That was the beginning of the democratic justice system we know today. At that time, there were no professional lawyers.

Court officials were not paid much and most of the trials ended on the same day. Greek law, legal systems of the ancient Greeks, the most famous of which is the law of Athens. Although there has never been a system of institutions recognized and observed by the nation as a whole as a legal system, there have been a number of fundamental approaches to legal problems, some methods used to produce legal effects and legal terminology, all to varying degrees from the many independent states that make up the Greek world. were shared. However, it should not be forgotten that these common foundations as they existed led to a variety of individual legal systems that differed in their comprehensiveness and elaboration, reflecting the tribal (i.e. Dorian, Ionian, etc.) and historical contexts, as well as the changing social, economic, political and intellectual conditions of their respective societies. In 2016, the electoral system was moved to a form of “simple” proportional representation that replaces traditional “enhanced” proportional representation. However, after the 2020 elections, the electoral system returned to traditional “enhanced” proportional representation, with minor changes to the bonus system.

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