September 2023 – Decision of the Athens Court of First Instance – Opposing party obligated to provide in natura compensation – transfer of property to our client
Decision numbered 7847/2023 of the Single-Member First Instance Court of Athens was issued regarding a lawsuit filed by our client against his relatives. Through this decision, the defendants were required to declare before a notary their willingness to transfer a property, which they had unlawfully purchased in their names, to our principal.
Specifically, when our principal’s mother’s health deteriorated, they entrusted the management of her assets to her sister and our principal’s aunt, as the latter was unable to handle it due to his young age. Subsequently, after drafting relevant notarial authorizations, our principal’s aunt proceeded to sell properties owned by both the mother and our principal, using the proceeds to settle the mother’s debts, as planned. Later, our principal and his mother decided to sell their last remaining property, intending to purchase another property in our client’s name for his future security and to save the difference between the higher selling price and the purchase price as additional savings. Due to their family ties with his aunt and the mutual trust relationship, they entered into an (informal) agreement, whereby the aunt agreed to sell their property and purchase another one in the name and on behalf of our client, acting as his direct representative. A relevant notarial PoA was also drawn up. Subsequently, our principal and his mother moved into the property after the sale and were assured by his aunt that the property had been fully transferred to them in ownership. After the death of his mother, our principal, following an investigation conducted with the assistance of a lawyer, realized that the disputed apartment had not been purchased in his name but in the name of his aunt and her husband (each owning half)!
Immediately, our principal revoked the above Power of Attorney and called on his uncles to transfer the apartment to them. Since they did not respond or take any action, our client filed a lawsuit before the Single-Member First Instance Court of Athens, seeking in natura (actual) compensation, i.e., the transfer of the property by the opposing parties or alternatively, financial compensation equivalent to the amount they had provided for the purchase of the property, and, more generally, to be reimbursed the said amount in accordance with the provisions governing unjust enrichment.
The Single-Member First Instance Court of Athens accepted our client’s lawsuit primarily, obliging the opposing parties to transfer the property to him. Specifically, the Court recognized the unconventional (under the provisions of the Civil Code concerning mandates) and unjust (under the provisions concerning torts) behavior of our principal’s aunt and the culpable and contrary to good morals (according to Article 919 of the Civil Code) wrongful conduct of his aunt, dismissing the unsubstantiated claims of the opposing parties regarding the existence of a paid mandate, which they had argued in denial of our lawsuit. They alleged that there had been an agreement to transfer the proceeds from the sale of the aforementioned property owned by our principal and his mother in exchange for their commitment to support the latter and pay the deceased’s obligations with their own money.