Cyprus Mail

New court needed to relieve burden from Supreme

Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou

By George Psyllides

JUSTICE Minister Ionas Nicolaou urged parliament on Wednesday to approve the creation of an administrative court to speed up judicial procedures.

The issue has been lingering for a year as MPs express misgivings over the creation of the court, which will handle appeals concerning government decisions, including asylum applications, public sector jobs and promotions, and tax matters.

Such cases are currently handled by the Supreme Court, which is inundated, the minister said.

Nicolaou told MPs that the number of administrative appeals filed in 2013 increased threefold causing considerable delay in the dispensation of justice.

House Legal Affairs Committee chairman Sotiris Sampson said 6,063 appeals were submitted in 2013 and 8,130 were still pending at the end of the year.

The problem could be solved with the operation of an administrative court that will be staffed with five judges.

AKEL MP Aristos Damianou expressed his party’s concerns about the operation of the court.

The main one being that moving the jurisdiction from the Supreme Court would downgrade the judicial control of the executive.

It was necessary to find a compromise so as not to downgrade it, he added.

The minister said the government had no intention of downgrading the court and was ready to hear suggestions regarding the judges’ qualifications.

He reiterated the need to get the ball rolling so that Cyprus could comply with an EU directive regarding the adjudication of asylum and international protection cases.

For Cyprus to meet its obligations the court must be up and running by July, Nicolaou said, adding that the island has already received a warning letter on the matter.

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