Historical Development of the Hellenic Court of Audit.

The Hellenic Court of Audit – the Elegktiko Synedrio – is one of the oldest institutions the Greek State has today. It was founded with the Decree of 27 September 1833, and it is modeled on the French Cour des Comptes. Before the Hellenic Court of Audit, there was the earlier "Accounting and Auditing Council". This was a special body for the audit of public expenditures founded by the Governor Ioannis Kapodistrias, and which came into being with the Resolution of the Fourth National Assembly of 23 September 1829. It was accountable directly to the Governor. This institutional forerunner of the Hellenic Court of Audit (HCA) was entrusted with the revision of the Public Economy Accounts, as well as with the audit of the legality and regularity of the State expenditure.

Ioannis Kapodistrias entrusted the organization of the "Council" to A. Regny, an envoy sent by the French Government. He came to Greece for this purpose in 1831. The inaugural meeting of the HCA took place in Nafplio on 14 October 1833[1].

A milestone in the development of the HCA was the Constitution of 1844 which stipulated in its Article 87 that the judges of the Court of Audit serve for life.

Law MΓ'/13.3.1864 followed, with which the regulation of pensions of the State was assigned to the HCA. It held this competence until 31.12.1968, when with Law 599/1968 it was removed and assigned to the then newly established Pension Service of the General Accounts of the State, and the HCA kept only its judicial duties in the field of Pensions,

Law AYOZ of 1887 assigned the a priori audit of the State expenditure to the HCA.

Then followed Law 400/1914. It regulates various issues concerning the persons and duties of the HCA staff, as well as the composition of its Departments. With this law, more responsibilities were given to the HCA. In 1919, with Law 1634, the municipal accounts audited until that time by the Prefectures came under the audit of the HCA.

The Constitution issued in 1925 further improved, with its article 103, the powers of the HCA.

An improvement of the HCA also takes place following the provisions of Article 98 of the 1952 Constitution, according to which its decisions can no longer be subject to the appellate control of the Council of State. The HCA thus acquires its own appeal procedure with Decree 2712/1953 for its Plenary Session, and it adjudicates exclusive jurisdiction cases concerning the imputation of accountants and the award of pensions.

Later on, the work of the HCA has been supplemented by a number of decrees, including Decree 321/1969 on Governmental Accounting, clearly establishing the principle that budget expenditure should be reported in detail and money was to be used only for intended purposes, and then including Decree 1265/1972 which classifies the judicial audit of public money into a priori and a posteriori audit.

The 1968 and the 1973 Constitutions redefine the responsibilities of the HCA. This had already occurred in the 1952 Constitution, but now it becomes more detailed.

The role of the HCA was outlined in the 1975 Constitution. Under article 98, the HCA is primarily responsible for auditing expenditure and monitoring the revenue of the State, as well as that of Local Government Agencies or of other Legal Entities. The HCA is also required to submit to Parliament both an Annual Report on the State’s Annual Financial Statements and a Balance Sheet. Under the same article, the HCA adjudicates on cases concerning the audit of the accounts, pension grants and the civil liability of public servants. Furthermore, the HCA provides an expert opinion on laws regulating pensions, as well as on any other issue defined by law.

According to Law 2741/1999, the HCA carries out a legality audit of public works, procurements and services contracts made by the State, Public Entities or Public Enterprises, whenever the budget exceeds a certain amount. This competence has been upgraded to a constitutional level, according to the April 2001 constitutional reform.

Throughout the last years, the Hellenic Court of Auditors also participates in shaping a common design and planning cooperation with the European Court of Auditors and the audit institutions of the other Member States.


[1] An important case for the HCA in the first period since its foundation was the imposition of the maximum fine which could be imposed to each of the persons of that time who had both handled the two large foreign loans of the newly formed Greek State (1824 and 1825), and had purchased two frigates from the USA. These loans amounted to 2.800.000 pounds. However, in the end only 540.000 pounds of the balance spent on commissions were paid back into the Treasury.  The rest was spent on prepaid interest, on the redemption of bonds to hold the market value of the loan, and on the purchase of two frigates from the USA of which only one came to Greece to be set on fire by its governor, Andreas Miaoulis, in 1831.

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