This Country Profile provides a basic overview of the legal history and institutional structures of the Hellenic Republic/Greece (Elliniki Dimokratia), based on research produced by GlobaLex at NYU Law School and the Library of Congress. Under Greece’s Constitution, Islamic law (sharīʿa or fiqh) has no legal status.
Greece is located in Southern Europe, bordering the Aegean Sea, Ionian Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea, and is between Albania and Turkey. The capital of Greece is Athens. The official language is Greek. The country’s population in 2016 was approximately 10.8 million. Greece is a predominantly Christian country, with about 98% of the population Greek Orthodox. Islam is the largest minority religion, and Muslims make up about 1% of the country's population.
Constitution & Legal Structure
Greece is referred to as a parliamentary republic, in which sovereignty belongs to the people and the Constitution is the supreme law of the land. The system of government is based on principles of separation and checks and balances and has three branches: legislative, executive, and judicial. The Constitution has been revised three times since its ratification in 1975: in 1986 (limiting the president's powers and create a pure parliamentary government system), in 2001 (reinforcing specific guarantees of civil liberties and social rights), and in 2008 (granting Parliament the right to amend state budgets, lifting a ban on Parliament members having outside employment, and allowing the mountainous regions of Greece to develop special legislation). Greece is a member state of the European Union.
Constitutional Status of Islamic Law
Islamic law has no constitutional status in Greece.
Jurisdiction(s) of Islamic Law
Islamic law has no official jurisdiction of operation in Greece. However, the Lausanne Treaty grants the Muslim minority in Greece the right to organize and conduct religious affairs free from government interference, having some implication for inheritance laws.
Dominant School of Islamic Law
Greece has no official school of Islamic law.
Sources of Law for Legal Research
For an extended list of legal resources for this country, see the Library of Congress’s Research Guide, and for a narrative review, see the GlobaLex Foreign Law Research Guide (most updated version, where available). The Constitution is available in the LOC Guide in its original language and at Constitute in English translation. For full versions of past constitutions, amendments, and related legislation, see HeinOnline World Constitutions Illustrated or Oxford Constitutions of the World [subscription required for each].