Nicosia’s lawyers are considering protest measures to complain about delays in restoring the old supreme court building in the hope they will prod the government into speeding up the renovation project.
Lawyers have also strongly criticised the Nicosia Bar Association for tolerating the long delays to fixing up what are to be the family and labour dispute courts.
The old supreme court building has been closed for six years and its renovation is expected to take another two years once it starts. For the past six years, lawyers and those involved in family and labour disputes have been housed in a “temporary” building.
On April 14, the Minister of Justice Ionas Nicolaou, in response to a letter received from the president of the Nicosia Bar Association, Costas Demetriadis, announced that according to the information provided by the Department of Public Works, the preliminary estimate of the cost of the works amounts to 4.74 million euros plus VAT. The competition for tenders was expected to be made by 30 April.
According to Nicolaou, it will take six months to complete the tender process and to sign a contract, plus another 20 months to complete the project.
Meanwhile, the term of office of the present board of the Nicosia Bar Association ends in September and presidential elections will take place next February. As a result, the case will be handled by a new board and this may cause even more delays.
Demetriadis informed association members that the justice minister said the delays were not the ministry’s fault. He also wondered if the five million euros needed to repair the building could be used to build a new one.
“No one has the patience to wait. Unfortunately, this is how Public Works and the government machine work,” Demetriadis said in his message to the lawyers. “I fully understand your disappointment and your suggestions for a reaction.”
But he warned that this was no time for “confrontation, strikes or vigorous protest”.