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Cyprus

Court improvements due by 2020

Finance Minister Harris Georgiades speaking at the presentation

Cyprus’ justice system requires reform ranging from improving court infrastructure to improving internal processes, recommendations prepared by Ireland’s institute of public administration (IPA) said on Tuesday.

Presenting key findings of their report at the Supreme Court, the experts proposed that Nicosia district court buildings be improved as soon as possible and the safety of all courts should be ensured.

IPA also proposed creating a working team which would be primarily tasked with tackling delays, which need to be brought up to speed before a new system is implemented.

Though the full detailed report will be submitted to President Nicos Anastasiades and uploaded on the Supreme Court’s website, the reforms presented on Tuesday also outlined creating an appellate court and an independent court administration service. This would be staffed by specialists in the administration of public organisations.

Modern technology should also be introduced, with a computerised system that could also see a voice recording of court procedures.

IPA also proposed the creation of intensive training programmes for judges and court staff, as well as introducing new rules that could allow for more effective court procedures.

Supreme Court President Myron Nicolatos reiterated the well-known problem of huge delays in Cyprus’ justice system which leaves people waiting for years for cases to be heard.

“There are many reasons for this unacceptable situation, which is hindering Cyprus’ efforts to be a commercial and business centre in the region.

“We are facing the greatest reform of the court’s structure and functioning that has taken place in the last many years.”

Nicolatos said he hoped the IPA proposals would be implemented as soon as possible after the final approval of the Supreme Court.

Finance Minister Harris Georgiades said the ambitious reform was an urgent priority. “It is unacceptable that Cyprus ranked 138th out of 190 economies on the court performance indicator of the World Bank.

This is largely due to delays in serving justice and has consequences to the economy and its competitiveness.

“We cannot promote Cyprus as a respectable international business centre when there are so many delays in handling cases.”

Justice minister Ionas Nicolaou said by 2020 courts would have more staff, better implement technology and a computerised system.

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