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Becoming a solicitor on Crete
Posted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 2:56 pm
I am a solicitor in Scotland who would be interested in becoming a solicitor in Crete. Unfortunately, I cannot find anyone who can tell me how to qualify! Any ideas anyone?
Posted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 4:42 pm
Contact a professional body such as the Law Society in UK for advice?
There is an English solicitor on Crete
who offers "advise on the law of England and Wales: our clients are principally either UK-based or expatriates living in Crete. We do not deal with the buying and selling of property in Crete, nor do we advise on Greek law".
I assume you are not thinking of practicing Greek law?!
Becoming a solicitor on Crete
Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 2:29 pm
Thanks for the quick reply. I tried my Law Society in Scotland but they simply referred me to Greece!
It is my intention to practise Greek law - if only to represent the English louts who appear in Court from Malia year after year!
Of course, I'll need to master Greek and the legal system - but it would be worth the exchange with Paisley!
Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 3:02 pm
Oh, you're out to make your fortune then!
Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 4:17 pm
I don't have direct experience but I would imagine it would be fairly straightforward.
1 First learn demotic Greek so that you can communicate and understand lectures. I would guess the Greek equivalent of the Proficiency examination in English would just about be satisfactory. Depending on how long you can devote to the study say 1 to 2 years to get good enough to follow a lecture at full speed and make notes.
2 Learn Katharevusa. This is a "pure" form of Greek promoted by the Junta in the 60s and 70s. While little used in everyday life I think it is extensively used in legal documents. Perhaps another 1 year of study including learning all the legal terminology.
3 Study for and pass the university entrance examination. This is a mixture of specialist subjects studied in depth and general subjects to give a wide curriculum. Entrance to university is decided on a points system based on your grades so you would need to get high enough grades compared to all other Greek students taking the entrance that year to get accepted on a law course. I doubt if this could be done in less than 2 years and could take longer. It builds on the courses taken by students over the previous 5 years, which you will not have taken. Students also frequently re-take modules. sometimes several times, to increase their grade point average to be high enough to get accepted on the course they want at the university they want.
4 Take the university course. This is a minimum of 5 years but again frequently takes longer as students usually fail modules, sometimes because the lecturer didn't bother to teach them. 7 years is fairly typical.
5 I am not sure if you would then have to spend a training course in a lawyers office before you can register as a lawyer in your own right. If you intend to represent people in court you need to decide where you want to do this as lawyers can only appear in the court in the area where they are registered. For example a lawyer registered in Chania could not appear in court in Heraklion.
I think you might begin to see why the solicitor mentioned earlier in the thread does not attempt to practise Greek law in any way but simply advises ex-pats on UK law.
All the above might be complete rubbish but I would be willing to place a small bet that it won't be that far from the truth. Greece is highly protectionist and it doesn't let foreigners muscle in on business here easily especially in areas where it has total control of the market place.
Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 6:36 pm
I know an English lawyer who is now practising in Athens. I will email him to ask what he had to do to practise in Greece.
Not sure how long it will take, given that it's August and he's probably on holiday!
Posted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 2:34 pm
Thanks again for responding so quickly - and so fully!
If it's anything like Warwick suggests, I'll work in a bar instead! I understand that other EU Nationals coming to work in Scotland, do not go through anything like that process.
Taking a holiday throughout August sounds good to me, Lynn!
Posted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 2:40 pm
skotia wrote:If it's anything like Warwick suggests, ...
Warwick is usually pretty accurate but on this occasion I think he might be a tad optimistic.
Posted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 6:41 pm
As I said in the post, my reply may be total rubbish.
Everybody who lives here and tries to work here, however, is aware of the difficulty in getting foreign qualifications recognised. For example, a Greek national who got a physics degree at a UK university would not be able to get that degree recognised for the purposes of teaching physics in Greece. Physics as a subject is universal and there is no difference whatsoever between the physics taught in the UK and Greece. I understand that a UK butcher has just spent over five years getting re-qualified to open a butchers shop in Crete. Given that the legal systems of the UK and Greece don't even have the same basis let alone the same laws I cannot see how a UK legal qualification could ever be recognised here. Given that you cannot register to practise law here without a recognised qualification I cannot see how you could practise law here without qualifying again here. That was the basis of my post.
Posted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 6:44 pm
Well, Warwick wasn't far off!!!
This is the reply that I got from my friend:
Getting professionally established here is a bloody nightmare if you (a) aren’t fluent in the language and (b) aren’t au fait with the extraordinary bureaucracy, delay, petty-mindedness, etc., etc. I had to employ local Greek lawyers to get me set up – it took 8 months and over € 8,000 – and they managed to lose my original birth certificate into the bargain!! To be perfectly honest, I cannot remember what and how many hoops I had to get through to start up – I would rather erase that part of history!!
He says that he wouldn't recommend the lawyer he used because he didn't think they had done a good job (the word he used probably can't be used on the forum). He says you might just as well go in the internet and make a blind choice – they’ll fleece you whichever way! Once you’re here though, it’s GREAT!!!
Hope this helps!!
Posted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 7:16 pm
If it only took your friend 8 months to get set up would I be correct to assume he was, before he started "... fluent in the language and (b) ..... au fait with the extraordinary bureaucracy, ..."?
Posted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 7:19 pm
I met him at our beginners Greek class in London and he was in no way a beginner!! It does help that he has a Greek girlfriend to help him with the language.
I guess she will also have warned him about the beauracracy, although maybe it didn't take as long because he hired Greek lawyers to help!
Posted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 8:15 pm
Out of curiosity is your friend fully registered? For example can he represent a client in a case, either civil or criminal, in a Greek court? If he achieved that in eight months and 8,000 Euro I am astounded.
Posted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 11:48 pm
I have no idea! He deals with shipping laws I think so that's possibly more international laws than specific to UK/Greece so that could be why it didn't take him as long.
Becoming a solicitor in Crete
Posted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 2:34 pm
Well, thank goodness for membership of the European Community, Free Trade and free movement of labour and all all that! Perhaps if I joined the Foreign Legion, I might get in that way!
I'll keep you posted...