First Annual Symposium by the UNIC Procedural Law Unit

Research findings presented at the Symposium were pioneering for the Cypriot standards

The Symposium on “The Cypriot Civil Justice: Suggestions and Actions”, organised by the Procedural Law Unit of the Law School of University of Nicosia attracted great interest and participation by personalities of the executive and legislative authorities.

The revealing findings of the empirical research “Evaluation of the justice system in Cyprus”, presented at the Symposium and conducted by the Procedural Law Unit in collaboration with the Pancyprian Bar Association, have attracted interest and at the same time constitute food for thought and consultation among the stakeholders. The research aspires to contribute towards making sure that any decisions concerning the Cypriot Justice are firstly subjected to proper consultation.

The survey, in which 228 lawyers participated, came to the following interesting conclusions, among others:

  • 61% of lawyers do not consider judges to be impartial
  • 79.4% of lawyers believe that judges are over-influenced by their personal ideological views
  • 56.1% of lawyers consider the appreciation they enjoy in society to be moderate
  • 55.7% of the lawyers asked, answered that lawyers have a significant share of responsibility in the occasional depreciation of the Justice system by the citizens.

The whole research, together with a relevant report-analysis, will be communicated to the Supreme Court, the Head of Reform of the Supreme Court, the Union of Judges, the Law Committee of the Parliament, the Presidency of the Republic, the Commissioner for Administration, the Commissioner for Legislation, the Ministry of Justice, the Pancyprian Bar Association, all the local bar associations and the Deans of all law schools in Cyprus.

In her address, Stefi Drakou, the Minister of Justice and Public Order, stressed the Government’s support to the legal world and its determination and contribution to the upgrading and modernization of the judicial system in our country. Referring to the recent revision of the Civil Procedure Rules, she notably stated that “the completion of this project shows that what once seemed unattainable and elusive, was finally, and, in fact successfully, realized. This was achieved through the collective efforts, consensus, goodwill, hard work and dedication to the common goal, which is no other than the swift administration of justice.”

The Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs, Nikos Tornaritis, stressed that they will await the conclusions of the Symposium in order to discuss them in the relevant parliamentary committee, to which he even invited the Symposium’s instigators, Dr Anna Em. Plevri, Assistant Professor of Civil Procedure & ADR of the Law School of the University of Nicosia, and Dr Nicolas Kyriakides, Co-director of the Procedural Law Unit of the Law School of the University of Nicosia and lawyer.

Greeting the Symposium, Dr Christos Clerides, President of the Pancyprian Bar Association and Chairman of the Law Department of Frederick University, stated that procedure has a decisive impact on the outcome of judical decisions and that there is a need for balance and a common approach to the various aspects of procedural law. “If the new civil procedure rules are properly implemented, the cost and time taken to hear cases will be reduced for the benefit of the citizens themselves.”

The Commissioner for Legislation, Louiza Christodoulidou Zannetou, commented that the cooperation between the legal professions and the legal world always has positive results as it combines the practice of law with a high-level academic approach.

Moreover, the President of the Faculty of Law of the University of Nicosia, Dr Christos Papastylianos, expressed his satisfaction regarding the fact that the work of the Unit is not limited to theoretical matters but also to practical suggestions and joint actions with those who in fact do practice law.

The British jurist Lord Dyson, the forerunner of the forthcoming reform of the Cypriot civil procedure, during his speech stressed that as in Cyprus, before the modernization of the Civil Procedure Rules, there were also significant problems in Great Britain, both in case processing time and in relation to costs. “There was a cultural problem in the process of administering Justice in Cyprus. As was done in Britain, those involved had to be convinced that a significant change and simplification of procedures was needed. I believe that the new civil procedure rules will be adopted by the entire legal world in Cyprus in a few years’ time, provided that there is appropriate training and a change of culture.”

During the Symposium, research on the day after of the implementation of the new Civil Procedure Rules and the use of artificial intelligence in civil justice was also presented. The issue of enforcement was also discussed at length and the need for immediate, thorough reform of the relevant legal framework and other enforcement instruments was highlighted; a topic directly related with the encouragement of transactions and the promotion of investments in Cyprus.

In addition, reference was made to a successful case study, which analyses a model applied in the Eastern Virginia District, in the United States, where there was a significant delay in the administration of justice, the solutions that were promoted and how they could be accordingly adapted in the case of the Cypriot model of justice.

Amongst the speakers of the event were the Harvard Law School Professor, David Rosenberg, Emeritus Oxford University Professor, Adrian Zuckerman, Cardiff University Senior Lecturer, Wendy Kennett, and University of Leicester Associate Professor, Masood Ahmed. Professors from all law schools of Cypriot universities as well as lawyers also participated. The Symposium was supported by nine law firms operating in Cyprus.

The general coordinators of the Symposium were Dr Anna Plevri and Dr Nicolas Kyriakides.

The event was held in memory of Alekos Markides.