The long-awaited justice reform bills are set to be discussed in parliament on June 30, with the head of the house legal committee vowing that the bills will modernise the legal system.

Committee chairman and Disy MP Nicos Tornaritis said Wednesday that the parties will be able to discuss their proposed amendments to the bills at the next committee meeting, on June 25, after which the bills will be sent to parliament.

Stressing the significance of the bills’ content, Tornaritis said that they set out to establish a new court of appeals, a second instance and an appellate body – consisting of the supreme constitutional court, and the new supreme court.

“Although the reform of the judiciary is an ongoing process, these [reforms] will make a significant contribution to handling pending cases and to making the higher levels accountable,” Tornaritis said, adding that there will be more checks and balances.

Due to the importance and scale of the reforms, he said, the parties have been given ten days to submit in writing any potential amendments.

Akel MP Aristos Damianou, however, criticised the bills as offering an incomplete reform, and not constituting what was previously promised.

“We take the efforts to reform the judicial system very seriously, and we have repeatedly stated that the government is not offering the overhaul, particularly as it is not addressing the core issues,” he argued.

He further criticised the process, questioning whether it is even legally sound: “There have been considerable negative reactions from within the legal profession which doubts the contents of the bills, their effectiveness and even their legality.”

Detractors have long criticised the glacial progress in reforming the judicial system.

Earlier this year, Justice Minister Stephie Dracou said there is a steadily growing backlog of 5,000 cases pending in the supreme court and 42,000 cases in courts of first instance.

Elsewhere, senior EU bodies have consistently stated that the current sclerotic system turns off potential investors from Cyprus, meaning the island loses considerable business and development opportunities.