President Nicos Anastasiades met members of the supreme court on Friday, as efforts continued to overcome obstacles preventing the much-needed reform of the justice system.
The meeting was attended by the attorney-general and the justice minister.
Government spokesman Kyriacos Koushos said there was an in-depth discussion of the issues relating to the reforms.
The president will continue consultations with everyone involved to strike an agreement as soon as possible.
“Everyone, including the supreme court, recognise the need and importance of reforming justice as soon as possible to achieve the modernisation of the state and faster dispensation of justice,” Koushos said in a written statement.
Last month, the supreme court expressed opposition to certain provisions of the proposed reforms, arguing that they were undermining the rule of law and threatening the independence of the justice system.
After a February 26 meeting with Justice Minister Emily Yiolitis, Supreme Court president Persefoni Panayi issued a statement highlighting the importance of the court’s role in any reform effort and expressing concerns over the proposals.
Reforming the justice system remains the court’s priority, the statement said, however, the current proposals raised concerns.
The proposed operation of a supreme court “with explicit division of jurisdiction” as supreme third-level court and supreme constitutional court, leads to the creation of a court consisting of judges with a different explicit division of jurisdiction, devoid of its key power of self-regulation.
According to the supreme court, this structure involved the risk of interference in the independence of the justice system and undermining the principle of rule of law.
“In addition, the expected new structure … of the supreme judiciary, constitutes a hybrid model that is not met anywhere in common law, neither in any other modern justice system,” the statement said.
It also causes a chain reaction that causes confusion as regards the operation of the supreme judiciary and the general administration of the courts.
Cyprus ranks among the slowest countries in the world in terms of delivering swift justice. While the EU average required to complete a case is eight months, Cyprus needs more than 2,500 days.