A Guide to Cypriot CourtsUpdated on Tuesday 22nd September 2015
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The Cypriot court system
The legal system in Cyprus is mainly based in the English judicial system, as Cyprus was a British colony. The applicable laws in judicial matters in Cyprus are the Constitution, the laws of Article 188 in the Constitution, the Common Law and Equity and the laws enabled by the House of Representatives. In 2004 Cyprus became an EU member state and adhered to the European laws modifying its Constitution in order to harmonize it to EU Directives. There are two types of courts in Cyprus: the Supreme Court and the subordinate courts.
The Cypriot Supreme Court
In 1964 the Supreme Constitutional Court and the High Court became today’s Supreme Court in Cyprus. The Cypriot Supreme Court act as first instance court but as an appellate body as well and has jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases. It also acts as a constitutional, admiralty and administrative also. The Supreme Court is comprised of 13 judges, one of them acting as a president. As an appellate court the Supreme Court in Cyprus can review and reexamine all evidence brought in front of it and can request or admit other evidence and can order cases to be trialed again. The Supreme Court in Cyprus in its other functions can also decide in electoral matters.
District Courts in Cyprus
Cyprus has six district courts: Nicosia, Famagusta, Limassol, Larnaca, Paphos and Kyrenia that is located in Nicosia. The Cypriot District Courts act as first instance courts and rule over civil matters unless these District courts cases must be trialed by the Rent Control Court, the Industrial Disputes Court or by the Family Court in Cyprus. also rule in criminal cases that involve five years imprisonment sentences. Criminal cases with sentences of imprisonment over five years will fall under the jurisdiction of the Assize Courts in Cyprus.
The Assize Courts in Cyprus
The Assize Courts in Cyprus are first instance courts and have the authority to judge all criminal cases that exceed five years of imprisonment. There are four Assize Courts in Cyprus: in Nicosia, in Limassol, in Paphos and in Larnaca.
Assize Courts are each comprised of three judges and have no jury. The composition of Assize Courts can be:
- - a district president and two district judges;
- - a district president, a senior district judge and a district judge;
- - a district president and two senior district judges.
Other courts in Cyprus
The Cypriot court system has in its compositions family courts, rent control courts, industrial disputes courts and a military court as it follows:
- - there are three family courts for Nicosia and Kyrenia, one for Limassol and Paphos and one for Larnaca and Famagusta. Family courts decide in divorce, child custody and real estate matters. There is also a family court for religious groups in Nicosia.
- - there are two rent control courts that try cases of recovery of property, property rentals and any other emergent matters.
- - there are three Industrial Disputes Tribunals in Nicosia, Larnaca and Limassol and they have jurisdiction over employment matters.
- - the Military Court has jurisdiction over military matters.