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New bill to establish commercial and admiralty courts

Outgoing Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou pushing through a series of judicial reforms before he leaves office

The cabinet on Monday approved a bill providing for the creation of commercial and admiralty courts, outgoing Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou announced.

A bill to combat juvenile delinquency was also approved, Nicolaou said.

The minister who submitted his resignation last week over perceived shortcomings by police in investigating the disappearance of a number of women who turned up murdered, was kept on temporarily to push through a series of judicial reforms to cut down on delays across the system.

They will go to the House on Friday.

Speaking to reporters after the cabinet meeting, Nicolaou said the bill for the establishment of the new courts had been submitted previously but the Supreme Court had expressed reservations.

These, he said had now been addressed. He also said that recommendations from a team of Irish experts who were brought in last year, had been adopted.

“The commercial court is a court which would essentially adjudicate specific commercial affairs procedures, namely those where the value of the claim exceeds €2 million,” he said. The admiralty court would not have a monetary restriction. It would deal with shipping and maritime matters, which Nicolaou said would strengthen the new deputy ministry for shipping, and the island’s shipping industry.

“The new court will be able to hear cases in nine months to a year, which is an acceptable time and this can substantially help us to attract more investors.”

The bill on juvenile delinquency, which concerns minors., he said was wide-ranging and would include prevention and rehabilitation programmes so that children do not have to go before the court, unless their programme treatment fails.

“Imprisoning a child is a last resort, even to the point where I would say that imprisonment should be prohibited unless the detention is outside of the prison system,” Nicolaou said.

The bill, he added, was put together with the Commissioner for Children’s Rights, the public sector and child welfare, a consultation which lasted about 18 months.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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