Since January 12, 2016, all Greek bar associations have launched strikes. The main reason is the proposition of a new law on social security suggested by the Greek government.
Under the terms of this proposition, professionals, and lawyers among them, are called, regardless of income, to pay social security contributions amounting up to 38.5% of their income. The proposal does not exempt younger lawyers, despite the more favorable status applied until today. The contributions are not linked to the amount of pension that the currently insured professionals will receive in the future. Moreover, is already announced that future pensions will be extremely reduced. However, the new social insurance policy complements a series of measures affecting lawyers in Greece. The tax rate is 26% (13% for young, 33% for higher incomes) without a tax allowance and with tax presumption of EUR 3,000 for everyone. Additionally, professionals are charged with a tax for next year income and a multiple other special charges. Finally, legal services in Greece are charged with 23% VAT. As a result, almost an 85% of lawyers’ annual income ends up to the State, in a situation resembling to confiscation. Professional survival is virtually impossible.Justice in Greece has undergone numerous legal interventions during the recent years. Apart from the sharp increase in the financial obligations of lawyers, the costs incurred by clients have also been raised, hindering citizens’ access to justice. The main legal codes have been reviewed, generally fragmentarily, with the most recent example being the Civil Procedure Code, which practically abolished the oral procedure in most cases and accelerated foreclosures.Facing both the economic annihilation imposed on us and the challenges concerning the quality of justice in Greece, we respond by refraining from our duties.
On behalf of Thessaloniki Trainee Lawyers and Young Bar Association board.