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The Court of Appeal does not review its decisions

ÁÍÙÔÁÔÏ ÄÉÊÁÓÔÇÑÉÏ

The powers vested in the Court of Appeal do not give it jurisdiction to review its decisions or orders, except in rare cases, where it can set aside a decision issued against the principles of natural justice. The recourse to article 32 of the Courts of Justice Law provides for the issuance of an interim order that the court may, at any time and after proof of reasonable cause, cancel or modify an order, under conditions it may grant to the Court of Appeal such possibility too, if and as long as the interest of the administration of justice so requires.

The Rent Control Court issued an order for the eviction of a statutory tenant for the owner to regain its possession with a view to demolish it and construct a new building. The court issuing the order, suspended the execution from month to month for a period of seven months on the condition that the tenant would pay to the landlord on the first day of every month, with seven days grace period. The tenant appealed the decision seeking an order staying the eviction order pending a decision on the appeal. The court did not accept his application and dismissed it.

The tenant, invoking Civil Procedure Rules, filed an application to the Supreme Court and requested a suspension of the execution of the order to recover possession of the property until a decision is issued on the appeal. The court issued a stay of execution of the eviction order pending a decision on the appeal, provided that the tenant would continue to pay the landlord as above.

The landlord then applied to the Supreme Court seeking review of the stay of execution of the eviction order and setting it aside. He claimed that the property was mortgaged to a banking institution and that a credit acquisition company took over the mortgage loan as non-performing and proceeded selling the property by sending the relevant notices based on the Immovable Property Law. The property was put up for sale by public auction, but was not sold because there was no interested buyer. The owner in his application argued that if he was allowed to take possession of the property and use it, then the process of forced sale of the property would stop, while further delay in using it would have disastrous consequences for him.

The Supreme Court examined the application of the landlord and dismissed it, deciding that it lacked any legislative, jurisdictional and constitutional basis. In its decision, it referred to the authorities confirming the finality of the decisions of the Court of Appeal. The court’s inherent jurisdiction applies where it appears that a decision, even at the level of the Court of Appeal, is invalid due to a violation of the rules of natural justice, such as conducting a trial in the absence of a party’s notice of the proceedings. Only in such cases it is possible to re-open the case and restore justice.

The Supreme Court held that the law dealing with the amendment of issued interim orders and under conditions, provides such a possibility, but is not applicable in the case under consideration. It emphasised that every court, including the Court of Appeal, has the jurisdiction to correct its decision if the correction concerns a grammatical error. It concluded that what the landlord was essentially seeking was to intervene in a decision of the Court of Appeal by calling on it to exercise jurisdiction, which is not provided for in our legal system and therefore dismissed his application.

 

George Coucounis is a lawyer practicing in Larnaca and the founder of George Coucounis LLC, Advocates & Legal Consultants, [email protected]

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