Top court deems action illegal, unconstitutional
The Council of State, the country’s highest administrative court, issued a decision yesterday saying that an anti-austerity strike by the country’s lawyers, which started on January 12, is illegal, unconstitutional and violates international law. The action has paralyzed Greek courts, leaving more than 300,000 cases pending and court officials increasingly concerned about how to deal with the backlog once the lawyers return to work. According to the Council of State, the ongoing nature of the walkout is not permitted by the Greek Constitution nor by international treaties. Apart from freezing civil cases, the strike has also halted several major corruption trials that could bring much-needed revenue into state coffers, including the Siemens cash-for-contracts scandal, the Proton Bank trial and the Vatopedi land swap affair. Last month, however, the Athens Bar Association gave permission to the lawyers involved in the trial of neofascist party Golden Dawn to proceed with the trial.