In a recent case filed in its admiralty jurisdiction, the Supreme Court of Cyprus had to consider whether accidents which take place in the Cyprus exclusive economic zone (EEZ) give jurisdiction to the Cyprus courts. The court decided that it has jurisdiction to hear disputes regarding accidents which occur within its territory, including the Cyprus EEZ, provided that the accident concerns the prospection or exploitation of Cyprus's natural resources.
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 need for clear and reliable guidelines to determine whether a first-instance criminal court judgment can be appealed arose in a recent application to the Supreme Court. By making an application under Article 149 of the Criminal Procedure Law instead of an appeal, the applicant not only lost the right to appeal, but also found his case dismissed by the Supreme Court without any examination of its substance.
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.
The issue of jurisdiction was at the centre of a recent action in the Limassol District Court. The decision clarifies the case law relating to the interpretation of Article 7(2) of the recast EU Brussels Regulation and reaffirms the general principle that civil actions are to be brought against individuals and companies in the courts of the place where they are domiciled, except in specific instances where derogations from the general rule apply.
In a recent appeal case, the Supreme Court overturned a first-instance judgment regarding the timing of the completion of the pleadings and, consequently, the deadline for filing a summons for directions under Order 30 of the Civil Procedure Rules. Although the judgment in question examined the previous version of Order 30, it is useful for litigation lawyers as it clarifies when pleadings are deemed to have been completed, which remains the starting point for the deadline to file a summons for directions.
A recent administrative court case concerned the legality of a tender for the development of a new €200 million-plus marina in Paphos. The court decision was based on the well-established principle that the decision-making process of any collective body regarding a specific matter must be consistent from beginning to end and requires the presence of the same members of the body in order to ensure that all members are aware of and able to evaluate all factors which come to light during the process.
A recent administrative court case examined an allegation that an Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC) committee established to determine staff promotions had been invalidly constituted. The meeting under review had not been chaired by the EAC chair, as required by the relevant regulations, and no reason for this absence was provided. The court found that the absence of any record of the reasons for the chair's non-attendance at the meeting was sufficient grounds to invalidate the decisions made.
A recent case has affirmed that only completed actions can be subject to administrative review, and that an applicant must possess a legitimate interest at three crucial stages in order to pursue an action in the Administrative Court. The case concerned a complaint that a third party had been promoted unfairly in preference to other applicants. However, the applicant had filed his action before the third party accepted the promotion, so that when the action was filed there was no promotion to complain about.
The Supreme Court recently reaffirmed the long-established principle that when contracting parties agree to amend or replace an agreement, the new agreement will replace the old one and define all of their rights and obligations. Accordingly, in a case where a settlement agreement is agreed between the parties, but not fully complied with by one of them, the other party cannot reinstate any of its rights under the initial agreement.
The Supreme Court recently issued its decision in a case concerning the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission's imposition of a €100,000 fine on Marfin for buying shares in Marfin Popular Bank Plc on the Athens Stock Exchange during a closed period, which had contravened the Insider Dealing and Market Manipulation (Market Abuse) Law 2005 and the Code of Conduct for Advisers and Related Persons issued thereunder.
In order to address the problem of non-performing loans following the 2013 financial crisis, the Transfer and Mortgage of Properties Law was amended in 2014 to speed up and streamline the foreclosure process which allows lenders to repossess and sell properties pledged as security for loans in arrears. With the lower courts unable to agree, significant uncertainties remain as to the application of the new procedure. It now falls on the Supreme Court to reach a decision that will provide guidance and set a binding precedent.
In two recent judgments concerning the misapplication of the law regarding expert witnesses, the Supreme Court overturned the assize courts' verdicts convicting the accused of serious criminal offences. A common feature of both cases was the Supreme Court's disagreement with the assize courts' propensity to convict defendants on the basis of inadequate evidence.
The full bench of the Supreme Court, exercising its jurisdiction to examine the constitutionality of laws, recently held by a majority of eight to four that Article 38(2) of the Relationships between Parents and Children Law, which provides for an automatic child support increase of 10% every two years, is not unconstitutional.
In many cases, employees – particularly those in key roles in investment firms and corporate and fiduciary service providers – possess confidential information that can be exploited to generate income for a new employer. In a recent decision regarding an application for injunctive relief prohibiting the unauthorised use of confidential information by the applicant's former employee, the Limassol District Court reaffirmed the Cyprus courts' general approach to this matter.
The courts' power to grant interim orders to protect assets that may be at risk of alienation (ie, Mareva orders) pending the final determination of an action is well established under the Cyprus legal system. In making an application for such an order, the applicant must make a full and frank disclosure of all material facts. The Supreme Court recently clarified that full and frank disclosure involves more than providing the court with every possible document and leaving it to discern what might be significant.
The Supreme Court recently issued a judgment which focused on Article IV of the New York Convention. The court considered what was meant by Article IV's requirement for a duly certified copy of an original arbitral award. The court found that since the convention does not describe the preconditions for a valid authentication or certification, it is a matter to be decided by the court in which recognition is sought on the basis of local law.
A recent Supreme Court judgment placed a limit on the application of the general Civil Procedure Rules in cases filed before a rent control court (RCC). In the case in question, tenants appealed against an RCC decision. In its judgment on the appeal, the Supreme Court stated that the right of a tenant to file an opposition is a right provided for by the law and that it is not within the RCCs' discretion to allow or disallow such a filing.
Under the Civil Procedure Law, a judgment creditor has the right to make any immovable property in which his or her judgment debtor is beneficially interested security for payment of the judgment debt. In a recent case, the Supreme Court considered for the first time the right of a judgment creditor to register a judgment on a debtor's immovable property by way of a memorandum of judgment in circumstances in which the value of the property was much higher than the judgment debt.