The House of Representatives has voted to amend the constitution, allowing for the use of the English language in certain court proceedings.

To date, Greek was the only language used in courts in Cyprus.

Now, it will be possible to use English in court proceedings. But this will apply only for the Commercial Court which is to be established.

Greek remains the official court language. But in the Commercial Court, English may be used instead if one of more of the litigants request it.

Meantime the bill establishing a Commercial Court and an Admiralty Court is being discussed in committee in parliament.

The legislation provides for five new judges to be hired for both courts.

Its purpose is to alleviate the case load on district courts, in this way speeding up the administering of justice.

It is also hoped that having a Commercial Court will help Cyprus become a venue for resolving international financial disputes.

In a statement on Thursday, the Bar Association welcomed the move allowing the use of English in courtrooms.

“Recognising that the professional services sector is a vital pillar of our economy, we need to assess the challenges, and come up with proposals and workable solutions and competitive tools, which will strengthen the sector and multiply opportunities, given that the level of justice directly relates to the country’s economic growth.”