The Supreme Court is expected to issue its ruling on a dispute between the government and parliament over shop hours sometime next month, it emerged on Tuesday, as the two sides were given instructions on how the case will proceed.
The court will reconvene on February 10 for final clarifications and issue its decision shortly after that date, President Myron Nikolatos said.
The case concerns government regulations, rejected by parliament, that allowed shops to be open on Wednesday afternoons and Sundays.
The state is seeking a ruling that “parliament’s decision, dated December 10, 2015, which rejected the regulations the Cabinet approved regarding shop opening hours, violates the principle of separation of powers and is invalid.”
The state is also asking for a ruling that the rejected regulations continued to be valid and should come into force immediately.
Although on December 3 the Supreme Court found a parliament law regulating shop hours unconstitutional, arguing the right to regulate the policy was solely the government’s, a week later, lawmakers nevertheless put it to vote.
Rejected by majority, the decision meant a 2006 law regulating shop hours returned into force as of January 2.
This law will allow bakeries and kiosks to open on Wednesday afternoons and Sundays, but the rest will remain closed or be threatened with a fine.
However, the law has been defied by most retailers, which continued to open on Wednesdays and Sundays, despite the sanctions they face.
Alecos Markides, representing parliament, has until January 18 to file an objection. The two sides will then have seven days to prepare their arguments. Attorney-general Costas Clerides was given an additional four days to prepare a reply if necessary.