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Court shake-up to bring justice into 21st century

justice min
Procopiou speaking at the conference

An effort to modernise and improve the way the judicial system operates is in the pipeline, Justice Minister Anna Procopiou said on Tuesday, saying new courts will be established.

“This includes both creating new courts and changing structures or even strengthening them within existing courts,” she said.

Speaking at the 13th Economic Congress in Nicosia on ‘More efficient and faster administration of justice’, Prokopiou said Cyprus is among EU countries with the lowest performance in terms of the time required for the adjudication of civil cases, causing a huge backlog.

However, the minister stressed this did not mean a failure to deliver quality.

On July 1, the new Supreme Constitutional Court and the new Supreme Court will start operating, with both courts being granted additional third-instance jurisdiction in specific cases.

At the same time, the Court of Appeal will operate in specialised departments for the quick hearing of appeals.

The minister added that the operation of the Commercial Court and the Admiralty Court are also expected, which will see the adjudication, with accelerated procedures, of commercial disputes of a large amounts (over €2 million) and all maritime cases.

“The creation of these courts, in addition to having an impact on reducing the time taken to administer justice, is expected, in combination with the possibility of using the English language, to contribute to strengthening Cyprus’ competitiveness as a centre for the provision of quality services and attracting foreign investment,” she stressed.

In addition, the minister noted that various projects are underway within the courts and stressed that immediate priority has been given to clearing the backlog of cases and the digitalisation of the courts, with its full implementation expected in 2023.

At the same time, the audio digital recording of court proceedings is expected to start in 2025.

Another significant change will see the implementation of the new civil procedure regulations from September 1. Simplified procedures in civil cases, where there is the longest delay in trial time, are expected to significantly save costs and time.

Meanwhile, the ministry is currently working on bills aimed at strengthening the jurisdiction of first instance, which have already been put to consultation, with the aim of being submitted soon to the House discussion and voting, Procopiou added.

“In this context, the strengthening of alternative dispute resolution methods is included, as well as the strengthening of legislation on the enforcement of court decisions. At the same time, we are consulting again on a bill amending the Courts Law and providing for an increase in the scale of jurisdiction of district and senior district judges, which will provide more flexibility to the system,” the minister concluded.

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