By George Psyllides
Deputies yesterday discussed alternative ways of delivering court summons, as more than 5,500 have piled up at the internal revenue department (IRD) because bailiffs have failed to locate the defendants for various reasons.
The matter was discussed at the House legal affairs committee, which once more heard of the thousands of summons which could not be delivered because bailiffs could not find the defendants in person.
Committee chairman, DISY MP Rikkos Mappourides, said other ways must be sought to deliver the summons.
The IRD alone has over 5,500 summonses that cannot be delivered because the recipients either disappear or see the bailiffs coming and refuse to open the door. Companies declare nonexistent addresses which cannot be confirmed every time by the registrar, Mappourides said.
Other ways of delivery include publication or delivering to someone else or by email.
Court officers suggested affixing the writ on doors, after confirming the address, or leaving it under the door or both. They are also in favour of emailing the summons.
The officers said the Cypriot system was antiquated, adding that asking the court for permission — as was suggested — to deliver the summons in a different way was time-consuming.
They want to be able to choose the alternative method after giving a sworn statement that they have failed to deliver the document to the recipient directly.
In the case of companies, the officers want to be allowed to deliver the document to other officials.
The state legal services disagree with letting the officers decide the alternative methods without the involvement of a judge.
IRD chief Giorgos Poufos warned that undelivered summonses were set to increase in the coming days as tax debts would constitute a criminal offense based on the terms of the island’s bailout agreement.
He urged officials to expedite procedures and agreed with court officers that involving the court in deciding alternative delivery methods would cause delays.