Members of the Cyprus Bar Association “will not be allowed” to partake in the sale of Greek Cypriot properties in the north, the association’s chairman Michael Vorkas said on Wednesday.

Speaking to journalists, he said no member of his association “will be allowed to directly or indirectly” involve themselves in such matters.

He also passed comment on the ‘Cyprus Confidential’ reports, which claimed to show how Russian influence in Cyprus and on local service providers helped oligarchs and billionaires structure their wealth over the years preceding the 2022 full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

On this matter, he said there were times when his association had been “in the crosshairs” of scandals in the past, and that due to this, some in Cypriot society “may have received the wrong message”.

“While there are some isolated cases of lawyers acting in an illegal or reprehensible manner, this is not how it works in the vast majority of cases,” he said.

“You can be sure that those cases which involve serious violations of the law will not remain in the drawer, but will come out, and names will be made public,” he said. “We must protect society and society must trust us.”

At the same time, he pointed out that “the fundamental right of unhindered and confidential communication between lawyers and clients”, also known as attorney-client privilege, cannot be ignored.

He added that he “will not accept” that the supervision of lawyers’ activities may fall into the hands of third parties.

Additionally, he spoke of “longstanding problems” which hinder lawyers from “properly and timely” carrying out their duties.

Among them, he said, is the fact that the Nicosia court buildings are “a mess”. To this end, he said the government should move to rectify this.

He also called on the government to increase the number of personnel working at courts with the aim of speeding up the judicial process.

“It cannot and does not make sense for someone to wait five to ten years for their case to be tried.