The justice reform in Cyprus is currently focusing on speeding up the adjudication of backlogged cases and simplifying procedures, Justice Minister Anna Prokopiou said during the second day of the Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting in Brussels.

According to an official statement, the ministers discussed issues related to the strengthening of the protection of human rights, focusing in particular to access to justice for citizens of the Member States, and exchanged experiences and best practices.

In her intervention, Prokopiou referred to the reform of the judiciary in Cyprus, explaining that the process started with the restructuring of the highest levels of the judiciary and the creation of specialised courts, such as the Commercial Court and the Maritime Court.

The justice minister added that current efforts focus mainly on measures to speed up the adjudication of backlogged cases, as well as on the implementation of the new Civil Procedure Rules, which will come into force in September 2023, aiming to simplify court procedures.

The ministers also discussed the need to protect, support and empower civil society organisations and human rights defenders, as well as the responsibility of Member States, the Council and the Commission to take concrete measures.

In her intervention, Prokopiou stressed the importance given to civil society in Cyprus, and informed her counterparts on the country’s digital consultation platform through which all bills and policies of the Republic of Cyprus are made public and subject to public consultation.

Finally, the council discussed the phenomenon of drug-related criminal activities. In her intervention, the Minister for Justice referred to the need to take measures to prevent the concealment of proceeds of drug trafficking and to combat money laundering.

Prokopiou also stressed that it is necessary to strengthen the relevant legal framework, the the cooperation of police and judicial authorities as well as the exchange of information, both at European level and at the level of the Member States.