Cyprus Mail

Moves to allow district courts to handle bigger claims to speed up justice

Nicosia district court

The government on Wednesday approved a rise in the monetary caps assigned to district courts to allow them to handle bigger claims in a bid to clear the huge backlog, a key component of efforts to reform the justice system.

Justice Minister Giorgos Savvides said the cabinet approved a bill that was drafted with the help of the supreme court and the bar association.

The bill raises a district court’s jurisdiction from €100,000 to €500,000 and that of a senior district court judge to €1m from €500,000.

The minister said extending the jurisdiction was part of the measures to help clear the backlog of cases and afford the system greater flexibility.

“Clearing the backlog of cases in the courts is a project on which we place immediate priority since it is linked, and it helps, the reform and restructuring of the operation of the courts,” Savvides said.

Cyprus ranks among the slowest countries in the world in terms of delivering swift justice, a conference in Nicosia heard back in March. While the EU average required to complete a case is eight months, Cyprus needs more than 2,500 days.

According to the World Economic Forum, Cyprus came 73rd on a global basis for the amount of time it took to solve differences, the same place as Cameroon but behind Uganda, Pakistan and Egypt. However, in terms of whether a citizen can apply to court to seek justice against the state, Cyprus came in 22nd.


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