The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) recently sentenced Cyprus for the death of a 26-year-old soldier. The ECHR found that the Cypriot authorities' investigation into Athanasios Nicolaou's death had infringed Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Consequently, the ECHR awarded his family €32,000 in non-pecuniary damages.
The Supreme Court recently rejected a Greek appellant's request for the annulment of a European arrest warrant (EAW) which had been issued against him in order to investigate alleged criminal offences. Although the court erroneously accepted the appellant's appeal of the ne bis in idem principle (ie, the prohibition of double jeopardy), it rightly concluded that Cyprus was not prevented from executing the EAW by investigating the case against the appellant.
The Supreme Court recently confirmed a first-instance decision which had annulled a transfer of shares by a debtor to his son. The Supreme Court found that the debtor had acted fraudulently to prevent his creditor from executing a court judgment which had been issued in the creditor's favour. The Supreme Court also found that the issuance of a decree on the sale of shares as a means of enforcing the decision against the debtor was possible.
The Supreme Court recently rejected an appeal against a detention order issued by the Larnaca Permanent Assize Court in a sexual assault case. The appellant claimed that the evidence placed before the first-instance court had speculated on his guilt and the risk of him absconding. However, the Supreme Court found that the accused's detention until trial was at the discretion of the first-instance court and that, based on the circumstances of the case, the court had exercised this power correctly.
The Larnaca District Court recently issued a decision on the validity of a sworn affidavit provided by a lawyer on behalf of his clients in the context of an interim application. Drawing on relevant case law, the court found that lawyers who are or will be witnesses in the relevant case or who represent clients in the relevant case cannot provide sworn affidavits as part of the court proceedings. As a result, the court rejected the claimant's objection for being invalid.
The Supreme Court recently examined the issue of causality arising from a road traffic accident. The first-instance court had found the defendant guilty of causing death by want of precaution or carelessness and of driving a motor vehicle under the influence of fatigue. The Supreme Court rejected the subsequent appeal and confirmed that, despite having taken a simplistic approach, the first-instance court had reached the correct conclusion by applying common sense and experience.
The Supreme Court recently overturned a first-instance court's decision to reject a request to amend a statement of claim under Rule 25 of the Civil Procedure Rules on the grounds that the amendment amounted to a new cause of action. The Supreme Court found that the proposed amendments merely referenced actions by the defendants which supported their existing claim and did not amount to a new cause of action.
Life imprisonment generally does not constitute a whole-life sentence because the prisoner will, in most cases, be eligible for early release after a fixed period set by the court. In exceptionally grave cases, the court may order that life should mean life and that the prisoner should remain incarcerated for the rest of their life. The case of Panagiotis Kafkaris was considered sufficiently serious to merit a whole-life sentence and his release marks the end of a landmark case on this issue in Cyprus.
The Supreme Court recently issued a judgment that interpreted the meaning of the term 'completion of the pleadings' as the start of the time limit for issuing an application for directions in accordance with Order 30 of the Civil Procedure Rules. The court noted that Order 30, Rule 1(c) provides no room for saving a claim if the relevant deadlines have expired. The court then considered the appellant's argument that the time limit had not begun with the completion of the pleadings between the plaintiff and the defendant.
The Evidence Law has been amended to formally recognise electronic evidence and align it with the EU Regulation on Electronic Identification. Law 53(I)/2018 extends the definition of a 'document' in Article 2 of the Evidence Law to include electronic signatures, electronic seals, electronic time stamps, electronic documents and electronic delivery services as defined in the EU regulation.
Order 22 of the Civil Procedure Rules provides that in any action for debt or damages, the defendant may at any time, on notice to the claimant, pay into court a sum of money which it considers sufficient to satisfy the claim. Payment into court can be made as soon as an appearance has been filed and until a judgment has been issued. If the amount offered is accepted, the dispute is settled as by compromise, but it does not give rise to res judicata.
In Cyprus, as in most jurisdictions, a defendant in litigation which fears that the claimant may be unable to satisfy costs orders made against it can apply to the court for a security for costs order. In civil proceedings, the courts – in certain circumstances – can order the claimant to provide security for the defendant's costs after the trial has ended. However, specific requirements must be fulfilled, and the courts are strict in applying the rules.
The European Court of Human Rights recently reviewed disciplinary proceedings against a former judge that had taken place in the Supreme Court in 2006 and resulted in the judge's dismissal. The court found by a majority of six votes to one that the disciplinary proceedings in Cyprus were in breach of Article 6(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights and ordered the Cyprus government to pay non-pecuniary damages and costs.