The Supreme Court agrees in principle with the government-sponsored bills aiming to modernise courts and will soon deliver its final views, Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou said on Tuesday following a meeting with the president and justices of the top judicial body.
The minister added that a study by experts on the modernisation of all courts and judicial proceedings is expected “before the coming April”.
At the meeting, Nicolaou said the government’s political views on the creation of a commercial court, an administrative tribunal for international protection and changes needed to family law, focusing on the government’s proposal that cases involving children who violated the law are heard by family courts.
The Supreme Court, he said, expressed “agreement in principle” with the government bills relating to these issues.
“Thus, in full co-ordination with the Supreme Court, we move steadily ahead with the effort to modernise the dispensing of justice in our country,” Nicolaou said, adding that the need for modernisation is “urgent and necessary”, since the speed of adjudication today is not commensurate with what the members of the judiciary, and society at large, would like.
The minister noted that the government, in co-operation with the Supreme Court, has commissioned a team of Irish experts to prepare a study on the modernisation of the structure and operation of courts in Cyprus.
“Preliminary studies relating to the Supreme Court have already been submitted for review and evaluation with the full, final report expected by April at the latest, with recommendations for the modernisation of all courts and court procedures,” he said.
Asked to comment on the 2018 government budget with regard to the Justice Ministry, Nicolaou said it includes more spending earmarked for the courts than previous years.
“The ministry has already started three growth projects relating to the judiciary and are expected to be completed by 2019,” the minister said.
“Based on the long-term fiscal framework, the contest for the construction of the new Nicosia District Court will be opened, so that construction can start in 2020.”
In Tuesday’s meeting, he added, the extra needs with regard to the operation of the new courts, both in premises and personnel, were discussed.
The government, Nicolaou noted, is ready to absorb the additional spending required to modernise the courts.
Responding to another question, the justice minister said the proposed commercial court will address foreign investors’ concerns on the slow judicial system.
“For this court, which we discussed today with the Supreme Court, we expect that a new structure will be created that will further encourage the promotion of our country as a service centre,” he said.