What type of legal system does Cyprus have?
Cyprus has a common law legal system. The English legal and equitable principle are followed in Cyprus unless there is a contrary provision in our statutes or constitution. The English case law on the same or similar points of law has a significant persuasive power for the Cypriot courts who typically follow the English legal position.
Can the Cypriot Courts issue interim injunctions such as freezing injunctions?
Yes, the Cypriot Courts can issue interim injunctions to freeze property and money in Cyprus and abroad. The Cypriot Appeal Court, following English case-law has issued worldwide freezing injunctions against defendants on whom it has jurisdiction. As Cyprus is an international services center, many injunctions are issued every year to freeze assets, obtain or protect information, and generally to protect the claimants until the case is finally adjudicated.
How fast can an injunction be issued?
An injunction in Cyprus can be issued without notice (ex-parte) if the matter is very urgent even in the same day. It will then be set returnable for service to take place to the other party in order for that party to object to the injunction or seek its amendment.
How is an injunction enforced?
Typically, an injunction is enforced against the party directed to by the possibility of conviction for contempt of Court that can carry imprisonment against him or her.
Third parties such as banking institutions or the land registry will typically enforce the injunction issued. Banks by fear of being liable for contempt and the land registry by registering the issued judgment as a proprietary encumbrance on the title of the land in question.
How do I find out key information that would enable me to proceed with a claim against someone?
If you do not know certain key information to start a claim (such as the identity of a wrongdoer or how certain actions occurred) but know someone who does know such information and does not disclose them, you may be able to sue those person for an order known as “Norwich Pharmacal” for the Court to direct them to disclose the relevant information.
How do I find out whether the defendant I want to take an injunction against has assets?
Certain companies may be of help in discovering the assets of a proposed defendant to calculate the recoverability prospects. If a freezing injunction application will be filed, typically a disclosure order will also be sought against defendants.
How long does it take for a civil case to be tried in Cyprus?
A civil case in Cyprus currently takes approximately 4-6 years at first instance, depending on the scale of the case and the Court’s workload. In recent years, the Cyprus government has been hiring a number of new judges to facilitate the faster trial of cases and is also taking steps to re-organise the Courts more efficiently.
In exceptionally clear cases the Court may permit a summary judgment to be issued whereby the case is judged without going to full trial. A case tried by summary judgment will take approximately 3-6 months to be tried but this may vary.
How does the Cyprus court take jurisdiction in international cases?
In cases where one or more of the parties are foreign then jurisdiction in Cyprus will be either based on the Brussels Regulation Recast 1215/12 for disputes involving European Parties or the common law rules known as forum convenience and related international agreements with the countries in issue.
How can I enforce a judgment in Cyprus?
A foreign judgment obtained in the European Union is recognized and enforced in Cyprus with an application to the court under the Brussels Regulation Recast (1215/2012).
A similar process is followed for judgments obtained in third countries with which Cyprus has a treaty signed for the facilitation of the judicial processes.
Can I enforce a judgment from a Cypriot Court to any European Country?
Yes, under the Brussels Regulation Recast (1215/12) any judgment obtained in a European Country is recognizable and enforceable without any special procedure required as if it was a judgment issued by the Court where recognition and enforcement is sought.
How can I enforce a judgment in Cyprus?
A defendant who does not obey a judgment may be liable for contempt of court which can carry imprisonment or a fine.
A defendant who cannot pay a monetary judgment against him or her, will be examined for his ability to pay the amounts sought in instalments and may have his movable and immovable property seized.
What happens if the defendant does not appear or defend in Court?
In this situation you may be able to get a judgment in default of appearance or defense provided that the defendant was served.
How do I serve documents abroad?
If service is in the EU, then the EU Regulation 1393/07 as well as the Brussels Regulation Recast 1215/12 apply. The process takes time as the documents must be sent from the relevant authority in Cyprus (the Ministry of Justice) to the relevant of authority in the country where it will be served. Timing varies between the authorities of different countries. If service is not successful the Court may allow substitute service (such as by email or courier)
For non-EU countries the process depends on the agreements existing with the country that service is sought for.
How does the hearing process take place?
The claimant’s lawyer will call his witnesses to be examined in chief. Then for each witness, the defendant’s lawyer will cross examine them. The claimant’s lawyer will have a right to re-examine the witnesses to clarify issues that arose in the cross-examination.
The defendant’s lawyer will then call his own witnesses for whom the same process will be followed.
After the witnesses finish their examinations, the lawyers will proceed with their addresses to the Court where they will each analyse the law and the facts as proven by the witnesses. After that the Court will deliver its judgment.
Certain safety precautions have been taken such as limiting the number of persons in the Court but the Courts are proceeding with hearings of cases normally.
Can I arbitrate a dispute in Cyprus?
Yes, Cyprus has two laws on arbitration, the International Commercial Arbitration Law of 1987 (101/1987) and the Arbitration Law (Chapter 4). The first relates solely to international commercial disputes. ‘International’ is defined as meaning disputes in which one of the two parties does not reside or conduct business in Cyprus. ‘Commercial arbitration’ is defined as the arbitration of a dispute arising from commercial matters, whether contractual or not (such as sale of goods, distribution, agency, factoring, construction etc).