By George Psyllides
An administrative court expected to lighten the Supreme Court’s workload and help speed up dispensation of justice will be up and running by the end of the year, the island’s most senior judge said on Tuesday.
Supreme Court President Myron Nicolatos said the court was now in the process of hiring the five judges who will staff the administrative court, which will handle appeals concerning government decisions, including asylum applications, public sector jobs and promotions, and tax matters.
“Interviews are expected to take place in October,” Nicolatos told the Cyprus News Agency.
“Operation of the first-tier administrative court would help decongest the Supreme Court and speed up justice,” he said.
Some appeals take as many as five years to be heard.
Nicolatos said seven new district court judges have also been appointed and they too are expected to ease the problem of delay somewhat.
The justice system is expecting to be inundated by cases that concern people claiming they had been duped by banks into buying bonds.
The new judges were sworn in on Tuesday and are expected to take their place on the bench on September 15, after undergoing special training.
Nicosia, Limassol and Larnaca will get two judges each and Paphos one.
New rules, to be implemented by the end of the year, were also expected to expedite procedures. They concern adjudication of cases involving up to €10,000, which make up 25 per cent of the total.
“A solution must be found because we are drowning,” said Doros Ioannides, chairman of the Bar Association.
He said the Supreme Court has made a huge effort so that procedures concerning smaller cases were shortened.
“Cypriots are litigious,” he said, adding that whole days were spent in court on cases that shouldn’t even end up there.
Ioannides said the Supreme Court has amended certain rules in a bid to make procedures faster.
The Supreme Court is also prepared to make further changes if necessary, Ioannides said.
In Nicosia for example, six courts deal with minor criminal violations on a daily basis.
“Most of them should have been settled in some other way,” he said.