A bill aiming at the establishment of a commercial court was approved by the cabinet on Tuesday, according to Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou.
The court will deal with commercial cases with claims of more than €2 million, according to Nicolaou, even though the move was opposed by business groups that argued the ceiling must come down so that more cases are included within the court’s remit in order to lighten the burden of district courts.
“We have studied the English and Irish models and have consulted both the supreme court and the pancyprian bar association for the promotion of the bill,” Nicolaou said.
The slow speed of Cypriot courts is one of the reasons that investors stay away, and therefore “the court will also contribute to the expanding and enhancing of the competitiveness of our country mainly with regards to the provision of services, and will attract foreign investment, thereby enhancing our country’s long-term economic growth”, Nicolaou added.
The approved bill, which has been uploaded to the ministry’s website, contains the court’s defining structures, its jurisdiction, the qualifications required from judges who will be appointed to conduct hearings, as well as the procedural guidelines and regulations of the court.
Five judges will hold the title of district court president, while the court will operate in Nicosia and Limassol, Nicolaou said.
The Commercial Court will have jurisdiction over matters including claims arising from contracts or disputes between companies, the purchase or sale of goods, the exploitation of oil or gas, the purchase or exchange of shares, intellectual property and insurance affairs.
“We have studied the number of cases that have been registered so far, and we believe that through the procedure to be followed in the commercial court, such cases can be dealt with in less than a year,” Nicolaou added, noting that each year around 300 cases are filed.