The Cyprus Legal System and Civil Litigation
Cyprus was a British colony until 1960 and till that year, the legal system was based on the English legal system and the principles of common law and equity. When the island became an independent republic and even today, many of those laws are still in force especially when there is no Cyprus legislation in force. These principles apply with regard to both substantive and procedural matters.
After independence in 1960 the English legal system was largely preserved. The laws applicable are the following:
• The Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus
• The laws retained in force by virtue of Article 188 of the Constitution
• The principles of Common Law and Equity
• The Laws enacted by the House of Representatives.
One common law principle or doctrine which is of fundamental importance to our judicial and court system is that of stare decisis, according to which Cyprus courts are bound to follow decisions of courts at a higher level (i.e. judicial precedents).
In practice, before reaching a decision, a court will apply the general rule that for the same legal matter (constitutional, statutory etc.) the court has to follow the reasoning (on the same matter) of a superior court (i.e. the Court of Appeal (in Cyprus the Supreme Court) or the plenary of the Supreme Court ).
In respect of civil (as opposed to criminal) cases the main stages in litigation are usually the following:
• Filing of the writ of summons by the plaintiff and service of proceedings to the defendant;
• Filing of appearance in Court (in England now called acknowledgment of service) by the defendant and service of same to the plaintiff;
• Filing and service of pleadings by both parties;
• Pre-trial stage; Disclosure of documents, better and further particulars and other directions by the Court;
• Assessment of costs;
• Right to Appeal;
• Enforcement of the judgment.
Through our Associates we provide advice and services in all aspects of Cyprus corporate and civil litigation, increasingly we find our clients seeking advice in the following areas:
• Commercial and Corporate Law
• Taxation Law in Cyprus
• International Tax Planning
• International Trusts
• Contract Law
• Mergers and Acquisitions
• Litigation & Arbitration
• Dispute Resolution
• Property Law
• Legal Consulting to CIF Firms
• Immigration and other related services
• Legal Assistance in obtaining a Title Deed for properties
• Legal Services relating to Oil & Gas