Litigation in CyprusUpdated on Tuesday 22nd September 2015
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What are the types of Courts?
There are two types of courts in Cyprus, the Supreme Court and the Subordinate Courts.
- The Supreme Court is a result of joining the Supreme Constitutional Court and the High Court in 1964. The Courts that are subordinate are: the District Court, the Assize Courts, the Family Courts, the Labor Courts, the Rent Control Courts and the Military Court. The Supreme Court is formed by 12 judges and a President and it’s located in Nicosia.
- Each districts of Cyprus - Nicosia, Famagusta, Limassol, Larnaca, Paphos and Kyrenia have one district court.
- There are four assize courts in Cyprus located in Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca and Paphos. These courts have 3 judges and no jury. The judges of the Assize Courts are named by the Supreme Courts and are also part of the District Courts.
- The Family courts are based on 3 judges, in hearing cases of divorce or only one judge in other cases. There are 3 Family Courts in Cyprus.
- The Rent Control Courts are ruled by a President and is counseled by to lay members, appointed by landlords associations and the tenants.
- The Industrial Disputes Tribunal is formed by one Judge and two consultants named on the recommendation of the employer or employee union.
- The Military Court is formed by a President and two officers of the Army with consultative role.
What are the responsibilities of the Courts in Cyprus?
The Supreme Court is the highest instance in Cyprus and has many jurisdictions.
All the decisions taken in the lower courts may be appealed in front of the Supreme Court. The Appeal is based on the evidences already heard at the lower courts and the Judges may re-open a trial or maintain, change or cancel a former decision.
The Constitutionality of the laws may be challenged in front of the Supreme Court. The President may contest a law enacted by the House of Representatives based on the incompatibility with the Cypriot Constitution.
The petitions against electoral laws are also heard in front of the Supreme Court. Admiralty cases are heard in front of the Supreme Court, first by a single judge and subsequent by the whole bench of judges. The recourses issued against acts, decisions or failures of any authorities or persons in administrative or executive acts are also heard.
The District courts have jurisdiction over the civil and criminal cases. The criminal cases can be heard by a district court only if it doesn’t involve more than 5 years of imprisonment. The civil cases mustn’t include trials that fall under other courts jurisdictions: family court, rent control court or military court.
The assize courts are judging criminal cases that involve a period of detention higher than 5 years.
The Family Courts decides in cases of divorces, custody of children, property provisions and other family related issues. There is a special tribunal for parties that have another religion than the Greek Orthodox and it’s called the Family Court for Religious Groups located in Nicosia.
The Rent Control Courts are involved in disputes regarding rent adjustments, evictions and any other matter related to this sector.
The Industrial Disputes Tribunal has the authority to mediate conflicts between the employer and the employee.
The Military Court are involved in cases where the military personnel are involved. It must have the structure of a District Court if the defendant has the rank of Colonel or higher.
For more details on each Court please contact our law firm in Cyprus.
What are the responsibilities of the Arbitrary Court in Cyprus?
Cyprus Arbitration is often used in settlement of cases where the parties don’t want to be a part of a judicial trial. Usually the Arbitration clause is stipulated in the contract signed by parties and viewed by a lawyer, if not, the involved parties may agree to have their dispute settled in front of the Cyprus Arbitration.
Any dispute can be settled in front of the Arbitrary Court such as employment complaints, property and construction problems, companies and customers. The Arbitration procedure is less expensive and time consuming than a process in a judicial Court.
How long does Litigation in Cyprus take?
The duration of litigation in Cyprus cannot be determined. Each case has its own particularities and aspects that must be considered before taking a final decision.
Also, any decision taken by the subordinate courts can be challenged in front of the Supreme Court, this causing the increase of the waiting period. Normally, a simple process cannot take longer than 6 months if there are no complications related to it.