Under Article 897 of the Code of Civil Procedure, an arbitral award can be annulled in whole or in part by a decision from the competent national court only if it is contrary to, among other things, public order provisions or bonos mores. Examples of public order provisions that would justify the annulment of an arbitral award include jus cogens rules which have been enacted in order to protect the public interest.
The advantages of arbitral proceedings, including speed, may be compromised when an arbitral award is challenged. The recent changes to the Civil Procedure Code aimed at accelerating judicial proceedings have not yet shown considerable progress. In any case, the Greek courts are reluctant to set aside arbitral awards or refuse their enforcement, thus indicating that recourse to arbitration for local and international cases is a valuable instrument in alternative dispute resolution.
A draft law on the further unbundling and privatisation of the public natural gas company DEPA was recently submitted to Parliament. The draft law proposes that DEPA be divided into two companies: DEPA Infrastructure and DEPA Trade. The main opposition to the draft law centres on the fact that the state will retain a 14% stake in DEPA Trade, which some have argued will allow the state to retain too much control and potentially veto strategic policy issues.
The second regular wind and photovoltaic (PV) state aid auction held in December 2018 resulted in the award of all of the capacities for two of the three categories of renewable energy system project, a significant (up to 26%) reduction in the reference prices compared with the initial reference prices and the cancellation of the auction for large PV projects by the Regulatory Energy Authority due to insufficient competition.
The new renewable energy sources state aid scheme was introduced in Greece in 2016 by way of Law 4414/2016. On 18 October 2018 the Regulatory Energy Agency launched the second regular competitive procedures for determining the reference prices of state aid for wind and solar energy producers in Greece, which offers a total tender capacity of 423 megawatts. The first regular competition procedures were conducted on 2 July 2018.
Pursuant to the commitments undertaken by the Greek state after the first memorandum of understanding between the Hellenic Republic, the member states of the European Union, the Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank was signed, the privatisation of energy companies in Greece has significantly progressed. The Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund – the legal entity entrusted with implementing the privatisation programme of the Hellenic Republic – has undertaken a number of relevant projects.
Greece began reorganising its renewable energy system state aid scheme in 2016 by enacting Law 4414/2016. The minister of environment and energy has provided the legal framework for implementing the law and organising the competitive procedures to determine the reference prices for certain projects receiving operating aid. The first regular competitive procedures were initiated in April 2018, following the Regulatory Energy Agency's launch of three tenders. The tenders will be implemented in two phases.
The First-Instance Court of Athens recently found an ophthalmologist liable for injury suffered by his patient when the latter lost vision from one eye following the intraocular administration of the medicine Avastin, which had no regulatory approval for intraocular use. This case is special because the off-label use of Avastin is based on financial considerations, a parameter which is not perceived as acceptable by medical or regulatory guidelines in most countries.
By a majority two-to-one vote, the Athens Court of Appeal has found that an insurer's refusal to provide health insurance to a homosexual and histrionic man did not amount to illegal discrimination based on sexual orientation or infringe the plaintiff's personality rights. The dissenting opinion, which provided a detailed analysis of the non-discrimination principle, makes a statement about the universal principal of equality between individuals which, despite its age, appears to be more acute than ever.
The Athens First Instance Court recently heard a case involving a law firm which sought to be indemnified from its professional indemnity underwriter. The policy covered a lawyer's professional liability while providing services within Greece and under Greek law. The insured claimed that he was entitled to indemnity not because the policy provided such cover, but rather because, among other things, he had requested such cover and the insurer had failed to include it in the policy.
The Hellenic Association of Insurance Companies recently hosted the 18th Hydra Insurance and Reinsurance Meeting. At the meeting, insurers and reinsurers from 24 countries around the world discussed specific concerns and issues that directly affect the industry, including how technological advancements have affected motor and health insurance and may do so in the future and how the vast majority of the population is unprotected against financial losses from catastrophic risks.
The Supreme Court for civil matters, sitting in plenary session, has issued a judgment on the validity of 'claims-made' policy clauses. Ending a long period of judicial uncertainty, the Supreme Court ruled that, insofar as insurance contracts covering professional risks are concerned, the claims-made principle is fully valid and enforceable. The insurance market has thus breathed a sigh of relief.