Litigation 2023

Last Updated December 01, 2022


Law and Practice


Dr. K. Chrysostomides & Co LLC has a particularly strong dispute resolution team, with significant experience in a wide range of litigation and arbitration matters. The firm regularly and effectively handles international multimillion USD/EUR cases, including shareholder disputes, corporate and commercial fraud, and boasts an exceptionally strong commercial and corporate litigation practice. The dispute resolution team handles highly complex cases in numerous areas, including business, commercial and corporate law, banking and finance, tax, trusts, intellectual property, professional liability, antitrust, family law, administrative and criminal law. The firm's litigation lawyers seek to identify and implement the most appropriate solutions for their clients, through the pursuit or defending of litigation proceedings, and work very closely with the firm’s other departments to perform risk assessments to help reduce clients' overall litigation exposure. The firm's lawyers have extensive experience before all Cypriot courts and various international arbitration courts and tribunals.

The legal system of Cyprus is primarily considered to be a common law system, even though some areas of law (eg, its administrative law) are based on the principles and tradition of civil law due to Cyprus being a British colony until its independence in 1960. Following Cyprus’ accession to the EU in 2004, the Cyprus Constitution was amended, granting supremacy to EU law over the Constitution and domestic legislation.

Cyprus currently has a two-tier court system, made up by the courts of first instance, namely the district courts and the courts of specialised jurisdiction (first tier), and the Supreme Court (second tier). By virtue of a substantial judicial reform brought about by the passing of a number of new legislations in August 2022, Cyprus will have a three-tier court system as of 2023, made up by the courts of first instance, a new Appellate Court and a Supreme Court and a Supreme Constitutional Court.

First Tier

The courts of first instance are divided by territorial and subject matter jurisdiction, as follows.

Territorial jurisdiction

There are both district courts and courts of specialised jurisdiction in every administrative district in Cyprus (Nicosia, Limassol, Paphos, Larnaca, Famagusta and Kyrenia).

Subject matter jurisdiction

The district courts of Cyprus have jurisdiction to hear, and try at first instance, all civil actions and criminal proceedings, as well as all other cases which do not fall within the jurisdiction of the specialised courts.

The main courts of specialised jurisdiction are the following:

  • the Assize Courts (criminal courts), which try serious criminal offences, punishable by a sentence of more than five years or a fine in excess of EUR85,000 (or both);
  • the Industrial Disputes Courts (employment dispute courts);
  • the Family Courts, which have jurisdiction on all family disputes;
  • the Rent Control Courts, which deal with the repossession of any controlled properties and the determination of rent-related disputes;
  • the Military Courts, which have jurisdiction to try offences committed by military personnel;
  • the International Protection Administrative Court, which deals with appeals by asylum seekers;
  • the Administrative Court (which only sits in Nicosia), which has the exclusive jurisdiction to hear recourses filed against decisions, acts or omissions in the exercise of executive or administrative authority;
  • the Commercial Court, which is expected to be formally constituted and operate in 2023 and which will have the exclusive jurisdiction to hear cases pertaining to “commercial disputes”;
  • the Admiralty Court, which is also expected to be formally constituted and operate in 2023.

Second Tier

A new Appellate Court will be formally constituted and is expected to begin to operate in 2023, with jurisdiction to hear and determine all appeals from decisions of first tier courts.

Newly Established Supreme Court and Supreme Constitutional Court

A new Supreme Court and a new Supreme Constitutional Court are expected to be formally constituted and begin operating on 1 January 2023. These Courts will act as first tier, second tier or third tier courts, as the case may be, as provided for by the Law No. 145(I)/2022.

Court Proceedings

Court proceedings are, as a general rule, open to the public and not conducted in private. Nonetheless, in certain circumstances, courts may order that a hearing takes place in private, that the parties’ anonymity be retained during and after the proceedings are concluded or that reporting restrictions are imposed for the protection of witnesses, minors or vulnerable persons, as well as for national security purposes.

Filings/Court Case File

The content of a court case file, on the other hand, is available only to the parties to the proceedings and their lawyers and no third party may obtain access thereto, unless a specific leave has been granted by the court to this effect, following the filing of an application by such interested third party.

It is noted that the restricted access to the court file and its content (which includes anything filed in the proceedings, such as pleadings, applications, affidavits and exhibits) is the default position under Cypriot law, so it is not necessary for a party to pending proceedings to apply for an order restricting such access.

Only qualified advocates, who are duly registered members of the Cyprus Bar Association, as well as pupil advocates (subject to certain conditions) may act as legal representatives and appear before the courts of the Republic of Cyprus.

European Lawyers

Qualified lawyers in other EU member states may appear in court proceedings provided they (i) are registered as EU lawyers in Cyprus, and (ii) appear jointly with a Cyprus-registered lawyer in the course of such court proceedings.

EU lawyers with three or more years of practice in Cyprus may be registered as full members of the Cyprus Bar Association and provide legal services on a permanent basis.

Non-European Lawyers

Lawyers from a non-EU jurisdiction can be granted rights of audience before the courts of Cyprus on a temporary basis, provided that they obtain a special leave to this effect by the Bar Council and as long as they are accompanied by a duly registered local advocate.

Third-Party Funding

Third-party funding is available in Cyprus, but in practice is very rarely used.

Legal Aid

Funding may also be provided by way of legal aid, in specific cases which meet the conditions imposed by the applicable national law (ie, in cases where a party cannot bear the costs of the proceedings without a substantial impact on their basic needs and obligations).

In the context of civil proceedings, legal aid is granted only for a limited number of cases, such as certain human right violations, family and matrimonial law disputes e.a.

Third-party funding is available for all types of civil lawsuits.

Third-party funding is available to both plaintiffs and defendants. 

There are no applicable minimum or maximum amounts in respect of third-party funding and funders are, therefore, free to elect the amount of any such funding at will.

There are no restrictions on the type of litigation-related costs which a third-party may fund, and all the legal fees and costs of a party may be therefore covered by a third-party funder.

Contingency fees are not allowed in Cyprus.

There are no applicable time limits when it comes to a party obtaining third-party funding.

No formal pre-action steps are required to be taken before the initiation of a civil lawsuit, such as the delivery of a pre-action letter. 

Certain other specialised proceedings, however, such as winding-up petitions or probate actions, require the taking of specific steps prior to their initiation.

The limitation periods applicable to civil (including commercial) claims are currently governed by the Limitation of Actionable Rights Law of 2012, Law 66 (I) of 2012.

The general rule is that the limitation period for a new claim which has accrued after 1 January 2016 commences on the actual day of completion of the cause of action giving rise to the claim.

For actionable rights which existed between 1 July 2012 and 1 January 2016, the limitation period is deemed to commence from 1 January 2016, and not from the actual date when the cause of action giving rise to the claim was completed.

Limitation Periods

There are different limitation periods depending on the nature of the actionable right, while there is also a general limitation period of ten years for actionable rights not expressly provided for in the applicable legislation.

The Law No 66(I)/2012 also introduces certain mechanisms for the suspension of the applicable limitation periods, as well as specific criteria for their computation.

Contractual claims

There is a general limitation period of six years for actions based on contractual claims, starting from the date on which the cause of action accrues (ie, the date of the breach).

Claims pertaining to an agreed or reasonable remuneration of a lawyer, doctor, dentist, architect, civil engineer, contractor or other independent professional carry a three-year limitation period.

For loans secured by a mortgage, charge or pledge, the limitation period for the commencement of litigation proceedings is 12 years.

Civil wrongs

The general limitation period for civil wrongs is six years.

The limitation period for negligence, nuisance or breach of statutory duty claims is normally three years, but this period may be extended in certain cases – for example, where the tort or its consequences were fraudulently concealed.

Claims for defamation or malicious falsehood have a one-year limitation period.

Succession claims

An action challenging the validity of a deceased’s will or relating to the deceased’s estate can only be brought within eight years from the date of that person’s death (unless the claimant was away from Cyprus or was not aware of the death of such person, which they could have become aware of with reasonable diligence).

The issue of jurisdiction in the context of civil claims is governed by the applicable Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012, as well as by the relevant provisions of the national Courts of Justice Law, Law No 14/1960.

Under both schemes, jurisdiction is primarily established by the domicile test – ie, it is determined in accordance with the defendant’s domicile.

There are some applicable “subject matter” exceptions, however, where jurisdiction is established pursuant to the place where the cause of action has arisen (ie, the place where the tort or breach of contract took place, where the immovable property forming the subject matter of the dispute is located, etc).

Once territorial jurisdiction is established, the relevant proceedings ought to be initiated at the appropriate district court.

Initiation of Proceedings

Lawsuits are commenced through the filing of either a Generally Endorsed (O. 2 R. 1, CPR) or Specially Endorsed (O. 2 R. 6, CPR) Writ of Summons; the former contain only the relief sought (prayers) against the defendant, while the latter contain both the relief sought (prayers) and the full statement of claim.

Certain other proceedings are initiated through the filing of an originating summons or a general application/petition.

Whenever the defendant (or, in case of multiple defendants, all the defendants) resides abroad, the plaintiff must seek the court’s leave to seal the Writ of Summons prior to being able to file the same before the court and formally initiate the action.

Amendment of Pleadings

Claims filed after 1 January 2016

Before a claim filed after 1 January 2016 is served to the defendant(s), a claimant is able to amend their pleadings without the leave of the court, while after the service of the claim and before the first summons for directions has been issued, one (more) amendment of pleadings can take place without the leave of the court.

After the issuance of the summons for directions, no amendment to a pleading is possible without the court’s leave.

Claims filed before 1 January 2015

In relation to all claims filed before 1 January 2015 and claims which were filed within 2015 (where the value of the dispute exceeds the amount of EUR10,000), it is possible to seek an amendment of the pleadings at any time, but only with the prior leave of the court.

Proper Service

A defendant must be served with an official copy of the Writ of Summons by the plaintiff within 12 months from the date of issuance of the writ (unless the writ has been renewed following an application to this effect).

Service must be normally effected through a private process server, in person if the defendant is a natural person, or at the registered office address of the company (or, at least, upon one of the company’s officers) if the defendant is a legal entity.

Proof of service is achieved through the filing of an affidavit of service supported by a duplicate of the served Writ of Summons.

Substituted Service

Whenever the court is satisfied that, due to any reason, it is not possible to effect normal service in a timely manner, it may grant leave for substituted service in any way deemed proper in the circumstances, including through public advertisement or by any electronic means.

Service Outside of the Jurisdiction

If a defendant resides outside of the jurisdiction, the plaintiff must obtain the court’s prior leave to serve the claim thereon, upon proof of a prima facie good cause of action against the defendant (O. 6 R. 4, CPR). In addition, pursuant to O. 6 R. 1 of the Civil Procedure Rules, such leave will be granted by the court only where:

  • the whole subject matter of the action is immovable property of any kind situated in Cyprus;
  • any act, deed, will, contract, obligation, or liability affecting immovable property of any kind situated in Cyprus, is sought to be construed, rectified, set aside or enforced in the action;
  • any relief is sought against any person domiciled or ordinarily resident in Cyprus;
  • the action is for the administration of the movable property of any deceased person who at the time of their death was domiciled in Cyprus, or for the execution (as to property situated in Cyprus) of the trusts of any written instrument, of which the person to be served is a trustee, which ought to be executed according to the law of Cyprus;
  • the action is one brought to enforce, rescind, dissolve, annul, or otherwise affect a contract or to recover damages or other relief for or in respect of the breach of a contract:
    1. made in Cyprus;
    2. made by or through an agent trading or residing in Cyprus on behalf of a principal trading or residing out of Cyprus; or
    3. is one brought in respect of a breach committed in Cyprus of a contract wherever made, even though such breach was preceded or accompanied by a breach out of Cyprus which rendered impossible the performance of the part of the contract which ought to have been performed in Cyprus;
  • the action is founded on a civil wrong committed in Cyprus;
  • any injunction is sought as to anything to be done in Cyprus, or any nuisance in Cyprus is sought to be prevented or terminated, whether damages are or are not also sought in respect thereof; or
  • any person out of Cyprus is a necessary or proper party to an action properly brought against some other person duly served in Cyprus.

The method pursuant to which a defendant residing abroad shall be served with is determined in line with the applicable legal framework currently in force, namely any applicable bilateral/multilateral treaties the Republic of Cyprus is a member to, or whenever the defendant resides in another EU member state, pursuant to the applicable Regulation (EU) No 2020/1784 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2020 on the service in the Member States of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil or commercial matters (service of documents) (recast).

Judgment in Default of Appearance

Failure by a defendant to file a memorandum of appearance to a pending lawsuit within the prescribed timeframe for the filing thereof – ie, within ten days from the date of service of the writ thereupon (unless the court has ordered otherwise) – entitles the plaintiff to apply before the court for the issuance of a judgment in default of appearance.

Judgment in Default of Defence

A defendant must normally deliver their defence to the claim (or their defence and counterclaim) within 14 days from the filing of a memorandum of appearance in case where the action was commenced by way of a Specially Endorsed Writ of Summons, or within 14 days from the date of filing by the plaintiff of their Statement of Claim, in case where the action was commenced by way of a Generally Endorsed Writ of Summons. Failure by the defendant to do so entitles the plaintiff to seek the issuance of a judgment in default of defence, upon proof of their claim by way of an affidavit.

Where many persons have the same interest in one cause or matter, it is possible for one or more of such persons to become authorised by the court to sue or defend in such cause or matter on behalf of or for the benefit of all persons so interested (O. 9 R. 9(1), CPR). Where any such order is made, the persons represented shall be bound by the final judgment of the court as if they were actual parties to the proceedings.

Class actions, per se, are not available under Cyprus law, but there is no formally prescribed limit on the number of persons which may be added as plaintiffs or defendants in an action.

There is no formal requirement for a lawyer to provide their client with a cost estimate prior to the commencement of litigation proceedings, although as a matter of standard practice, such cost estimates are almost always provided to prospective parties in court proceedings.

It is possible to make interlocutory applications/motions prior to the trial or substantive hearing of a claim. 

Such applications are not confined to case management issues alone and it is possible, therefore, to seek and obtain specific interim remedies from the court as well. Cypriot courts enjoy a wide discretion to hear interim/interlocutory applications and grant interim remedies and relief. 

It is possible for a party to apply for the issuance of an early/summary judgment on some or all of the issues in dispute.

Summary Judgment

Where the defendant appears to an action commenced by way of a Specially Endorsed Writ of Summons, the plaintiff may apply for the issuance of a summary judgment on the basis of an affidavit:

  • made by themself or by any other person who can swear positively to the facts of the case;
  • verifying the cause of action and the amount claimed (if any); and
  • stating that in their belief there is no defence to the action.

In such a case, a summary judgment will be issued whenever the court is satisfied that the defendant does not have a good (ie, a valid or viable) defence on the merits of the claim.

Judgment on the Basis of Express Admissions

Where a defendant admits to the claim or a part thereof, the plaintiff may apply for a judgment to be entered in their favour on the basis of the stated admission.

Striking out of the Claim or a Pleading

Additionally, it is also possible for a party to apply for the striking-out of a part or the whole of the claim and of a part or the whole of a pleading before trial (ie, prior to the substantive hearing of the claim) where it can be shown that the claim/pleading discloses no reasonable cause of action or defence, where the initiated proceedings/pleadings are scandalous, embarrassing, frivolous or vexatious, where the proceedings constitute an abuse of process, where the court lacks jurisdiction to hear the case and/or is not the forum conveniens to adjudicate the proceedings.

The dispositive motions that are commonly made before the trial of a civil action are the following:

  • application for the dismissal of the action for want of prosecution;
  • application for the issuance of a judgment in default;
  • application for the issuance of a summary judgment;
  • application for the issuance of a judgment on the basis of admissions; and
  • application for the striking out of the claim or a pleading. 

Interested persons not named as parties to pending proceedings may apply to join the same as parties, on the proviso that there exists a cause of action by or against them and the court is satisfied that such a joinder will facilitate the adjudication of all issues in dispute/litigious matters.

A defendant may apply for the provision of security for costs by the plaintiff, for the purposes of ensuring that they will be able to recover the litigation costs from the plaintiff in case the defendant manages to successfully defend the action. 

There are a number of conditions that must be satisfied for the issuance of an order for security for costs, such as:

  • the plaintiff must be domiciled in a non-EU state;
  • the plaintiff must not have sufficient assets within the jurisdiction to satisfy any order that may be made against them in relation to the defendant’s litigation costs;
  • where the plaintiff is a company, whenever the court is satisfied that the company will be unable to pay the defendant’s costs in case they are successful in defending the action; and
  • the defendant has a good chance of successfully defending the action.

The amount of the security will be equal to the amount of the costs reasonably expected to be incurred by the defendant in the context of the proceedings. It should be noted that where the court orders security for costs to be given, it may stay the proceedings in the action until such security is given by the plaintiff; in the event of the security not being given within the time appointed, it may proceed with dismissing the pending action.

The general rule under Cypriot law is that costs are awarded in favour of the successful party to an application. However, the matter of costs is one which ultimately rests at the court’s discretion.

The relevant timeframe for the determination of an application/motion by the court will depend on a number of factors, such as the complexity of the matter, the amount of time requested by the respondent to the application for the purposes of filing an opposition thereto and the court’s workload. In general terms, interlocutory applications/motions take between three and 12 months to be adjudicated.

Cypriot law and procedure permits the filing of certain applications on an ex parte basis (ie, without notice to the other side), and such applications are dealt with on an urgent basis by the court. 

Pursuant to the provisions of Order 28 of the Civil Procedure Rules currently in force in the Republic of Cyprus, any party can apply to the court for the issuance of an order for the discovery (disclosure) of all documents relevant to the dispute, which are in the possession or custody or under the control of the other party.

Such discovery is effected on oath – ie, through the filing of an affidavit setting out the list of documents at the party’s disposal which are disclosable, those which are not disclosable for specific reasons, as well as those no longer at its disposal.

In the context of all actions filed after 1 January 2015, it is possible to seek the issuance of an order for discovery (and inspection) during the Summons for Directions appearance (O.30, CPR) without the filing of a separate application to this effect.

It should be noted that the duty for full disclosure is a continuing one and a party must disclose to its opponent any and all new relevant documents that come into its possession after the initial disclosure.

It is normally not possible to obtain discovery by a third party not included as a party to the proceedings.

However, it is possible to issue a subpoena duces tecum for the purposes of compelling a non-party to produce documents during the trial, while it is also possible to seek the issuance of a “Norwich Pharmacal”-type disclosure order against third persons.

The process of discovery is a well-established and common process followed by parties in court proceedings.

Parties must normally disclose all documents which are at their disposal, custody or under their control and relate to the litigious issues and which they intend to rely upon at trial, while they must also indicate any documents no longer in their possession.

A party may refuse to make available for inspection any document which it deems to be non-disclosable due to privilege, confidentiality or suchlike.

Please refer to 5.3 Discovery in This Jurisdiction.

The concept of legal privilege is duly recognised in Cyprus and protected by virtue of, inter alia, the Advocate’s Code of Conduct, which clarifies that professional secrecy is recognised as the fundamental and primary right and obligation of advocates and must be protected by the court and any state or public authority. Legal professional privilege applies to the dealings and all communications of advocates with their clients in the context of anticipated or pending legal proceedings.

Advocates are under an obligation to respect the secrecy of all information or evidence which has come to their knowledge in the course of their professional activity and cannot divulge the same without their client’s express consent, save in specific cases where an accusation has been made against them by their client or if the advocate faces criminal or disciplinary prosecution (Rule 13, Advocates’ Code of Conduct).

In the absence of any judicial precedent on the matter, it is not entirely clear whether the Cypriot courts would apply legal professional privilege to in-house lawyers as well, since they are deemed to act primarily as business advisers rather than lawyers of their employees (in line with the restrictive view laid down in Akzo Nobel v European Commission (C-550/07).

A party is entitled not to disclose privileged documents, documents which are irrelevant to the litigious matters and documents which are self-incriminating.

The courts of Cyprus enjoy a very wide discretion when it comes to the issuance of injunctive relief and may issue interim injunctions in support of litigation and arbitration proceedings alike, both domestic and international.

Pursuant to the provisions of Article 32 of Law No 44/1960, the Cypriot courts may issue interim injunctions (either on an ex parte or an inter partes basis) whenever they are satisfied of:

  • the existence of a serious issue to be tried;
  • the likelihood that the applicant is entitled to relief and will succeed in their claim; and
  • the fact that it will be difficult or impossible to do complete justice at a later stage if the injunction is not granted.

In addition, the court will examine and decide on whether it is just and convenient to issue the requested order(s) on the basis of the facts presented before it (the “balance of convenience” test).

The types of available injunctive remedies are the following:

  • freezing injunctions (“Mareva” injunctions) for the protection of asset disposal or dissipation, located both in Cyprus and abroad (worldwide injunctions);
  • “Chabra” injunctions against third parties holding assets belonging to the respondent(s);
  • ancillary disclosure injunctions, in support of freezing injunctions, for the purposes of locating assets or policing the due compliance with the freezing order;
  • disclosure injunctions, such as “Norwich Pharmacal” or “Bankers Trust” injunctions, for the disclosure of documents or information;
  • search and seizure orders (ie, “Anton Piller” orders) for the preservation of evidence or property under an imminent threat of destruction;
  • anti-suit injunctions, to restrain a party from commencing proceedings;
  • gagging orders, to restrict information from being made public or passed on to third parties;
  • quia timet injunctions, to prevent the occurrence of an actionable wrong;
  • appointment of a receiver/manager, to receive/manage specific assets and deal with them in a specific way;
  • injunctions in aid of foreign judicial proceedings in another EU member state, pursuant to Article 35 of the Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012; and
  • injunctions in aid of international, envisaged or pending, arbitration proceedings.

Injunctive relief can be obtained on an ex parte basis – ie, without notice to the respondent. As a matter of standard practice, an ex parte application for the issuance of injunctive relief is dealt with within one to two working days from the date of its filing or, more rarely, on the actual date of filing, if it can be shown to the court that the circumstances surrounding the issuance of the requested injunction(s) are extremely urgent.

It should be noted that there are no arrangements for “out-of-hours” judges in civil proceedings, but is possible to obtain injunctive relief during the summer, Christmas and Easter holidays, when the civil courts are normally closed.

Pursuant to Section 9 of the Civil Procedure Law (Cap 6), injunctive relief can be obtained on an ex parte basis, as long as the applicant demonstrates to the court the existence of real and pressing urgency or an imminent danger against which the court should protect the applicant without notice to the other side. The existence of urgency is a jurisdictional requirement which needs to be satisfied in order for the court to issue an injunction ex parte.

If a respondent can show that they have suffered damage as a result of the unjustified issuance of an injunction (ie, an injunction which was issued without good reason or justification), which has been subsequently set aside, then they may claim compensation from the applicant.

To safeguard against this eventuality, applicants applying for the issuance of injunctive relief on an ex parte basis are requested by the court to provide security for the respondent’s potential damages, usually by way of a bond (ie, a written undertaking to pay the respondent) or a letter of guarantee.

Injunctive relief can be granted against the worldwide assets of a respondent, since it has long been established that Cypriot courts enjoy very wide discretion in relation to the type and extent of the interim orders they may issue. 

It is possible to obtain interim (injunctive) relief against a third party in certain specific cases. One such example is whenever an applicant can show that assets held by a third party (against whom no cause of action exists) are in reality the assets of the respondent, held thereby on their behalf – in other words, that such assets would be amenable to execution in case a judgment was obtained against the respondent/defendant by the plaintiff (“Chabra” orders).

Additionally, it is possible to issue disclosure (“Norwich Pharmacal”) orders against third parties who have been innocently or not involved in a wrongdoing and the disclosure of information from them is necessary in order to identify the ultimate wrongdoer, trace assets, substantiate the applicant’s cause of action, etc.

Failure by a party to comply with an issued court order constitutes “contempt of court” and a Cypriot court has the power to compel a person to obey the said order through the imposition of a penalty (ie, a fine) or a sentence of imprisonment, or through the attachment or sequestration of assets.

In addition, Cypriot courts have the power to penalise a party to a court process or any other person for contempt and/or to compel obedience with an issued order, as long as such person has taken notice of the order and knowingly and wilfully encourages or conspires to the contempt of the order.

The trials of claims exceeding EUR3,000 are normally conducted through the provision of oral witness/expert witness testimonies under oath before the court. 

The examination-in-chief of a witness can be made through a written statement to be read out in court, but the cross-examination and re-examination (if any) of the witness must take place orally. Final submissions are usually made in writing, although oral closing statements may be allowed as well. 

Interim/interlocutory applications presented in the context of an action are usually tried without the provision of oral testimony. Instead, their adjudication takes place on the basis of sworn affidavits that are filed in support of the interim application and any opposition filed against such an application by the respondent. Written submissions containing the respective argumentation of the parties in support of/against the application are often used thereby at the hearing thereof, instead of or in addition to oral submissions before the court.

For actions relating to claims under EUR3,000, the hearings are conducted through a fast-track procedure that includes the exchange of sworn affidavits and evidence, instead of the provision of oral testimony.

Case management appearances (“directions” appearances) take place after the exchange of pleadings is concluded by the parties. Their main objective is for the court to identify matters relating to the discovery of documents before trial, the admission of facts, the intention of the parties in relation to the number of witnesses to be summoned to testify and the scheduling of the hearing itself.

No jury trials are conducted in Cyprus.

Under the rules of evidence currently in force, all evidence (oral, documentary, real, etc) at a party’s disposal may be presented at trial, but its admission is dependent upon its relevance to the litigious facts of the case. In addition, the rule of the “best available evidence” applies and parties must, therefore, present the original versions of documents, if available.

Evidence produced that is not relevant to the issues in dispute shall not be admissible. Likewise, evidence covered by privilege or obtained in violation of the law will not be admissible at trial.

The provision of expert testimony to support a party’s case is common practice in Cyprus when the issues in dispute are of a technical or scientific nature. The parties are free to obtain expert testimony and present it at trial if the matter in question falls within the expert’s area of expertise. Usually, the expert is called to provide testimony in open court and is subject to cross-examination. The expert witness is not called to provide testimony in relation to the facts (as any other witness) but to provide their professional opinion on a specific technical issue.

It is worth mentioning that the court also has the power to seek the provision of expert testimony by its own motion.

As previously mentioned, the hearing of a case takes place in open court and the public is free to attend the same, unless the court orders otherwise. 

According to Article 30 of the Constitution, judgments must be reasoned and pronounced in the course of a public session, but the press and the public may be excluded from all or any part of the trial, where this is in the interests of the Republic’s security or constitutional order or the public order, safety or morals, or where the interests of juveniles or the protection of the private life of the parties so requires, or in special circumstances where, in the opinion of the court, publicity would prejudice the interests of justice. 

Transcripts of court appearances and hearings are available only to the parties of the proceedings, unless the court permits otherwise.

The intervention and/or the involvement of the court during a hearing or trial is usually limited. However, it is acceptable and, on some occasions, even necessary for the court to intervene in the process and issue rulings on specific procedural or substantial matters for the purposes of safeguarding and regulating the process before it. 

During the examination of a witness, the court is permitted to directly pose questions to the witness in order to clarify certain aspects of the testimony, but this discretion is exercised with caution by the courts and on limited occasions. 

Any judgment of the court, whether interim or final, may be issued at the court’s discretion either ex tempore (ie, straight after the hearing) or curia advisari vult (ie, on a future date, after it has been reserved).

In claims exceeding EUR3,000, the applicable timeframe for their adjudication shall ultimately depend on the complexity of the issues in question, the workload of the court, the number of witnesses called upon to testify and any delaying tactics employed by the defendant. It is not uncommon for such claims to take approximately four to six years to be determined at first instance.

After the issuance of a final instance judgment, the unsuccessful party currently has a right to appeal the same before the Supreme Court. Such an appeal is expected to be adjudicated within two to three years and the filing of the appeal does not have a suspensory effect upon the first instance decision, save where the execution thereof has been stayed by order of the court.

The appeal process will be taken on by the Appellate Court following its expected formal constitution in 2023 (or, in exceptional cases, directly by the newly established Supreme Court or Supreme Constitutional Court, as provided for by the Law No.145(I)/2022); please refer to 10. Appeal.

The hearing itself is usually concluded within a year of commencement (depending on the number of witnesses and the court’s own schedule) while the bulk of the aforementioned timeframe is spent in the pre-hearing stage.

The settlement of a civil case is a matter subject to the discretion and agreement of the parties, and no court’s approval is required. 

Nonetheless, for the discontinuance of a pending action after the defendant has filed a defence and taken any other proceeding in the action, the court’s permission must be obtained according to Order 15 of the Civil Procedure Rules. 

If the settlement of the claim is presented before the court and recorded as a judgment by consent or a rule of court, then it is publicly available, since it forms part of the court judgment.

On the other hand, if an agreement for settlement is made between the parties in private and, as result, the action is withdrawn or discontinued by the plaintiff, then the details of such an agreement may remain confidential.

As previously explained, if the settlement of the claim is presented before the court and recorded as a final judgment, it shall obtain the status of a court judgment and will be subject to the available methods of execution, in the same way as any other domestic judgment; please refer to 9.4 Enforcement Mechanisms of a Domestic Judgment.

Under Cyprus law, an agreement for the settlement of an action is treated as any other contract. Therefore, a settlement agreement could be set aside if deemed as “void ab initio” (if both parties were under a common mistake as to a matter of fact that is essential to the agreement, where no consideration was provided or when the agreement is deemed illegal) and treated as if it never existed, or as “voidable” (where the consent was given by coercion, fraud, misrepresentation, undue influence) and therefore ineffective from a certain date onwards.

Cypriot courts enjoy a very broad discretion as to the remedies that can be provided to the successful litigant and are able to order compensation in the form of damages, issue declaratory judgments, orders for specific performance of a contract, summary judgments, judgments in default and judgments in relation to interest and costs.

The nature of the damages to be awarded in civil actions lies with the absolute discretion of the court. Types of damages to be awarded by the courts of Cyprus are general damages, special damages or, in limited occasions, punitive/exemplary damages.

The courts have the power to award any amount of damages, without limitation, to the successful party. However, certain rules are applicable and followed by courts, such as the remoteness/foreseeability of the damage, the requirement for mitigation of the plaintiff’s losses, the existence of any potential cap on damages agreed by the parties through a contractual clause for liquidated damages (penalty clauses) and the applicability of any exclusion clauses. 

In summary, general damages are awarded to compensate a plaintiff for non-quantifiable loss suffered as a result of the defendant’s wrongdoing, such as future pain and suffering, loss of amenity, loss of earnings, and damage to reputation. 

Special damages are awarded to compensate a plaintiff for the quantifiable monetary losses suffered as a result of the defendant’s conduct and, therefore, must be specifically pleaded (with detailed particulars) and proved by the plaintiff. 

Damages of punitive and/or exemplary nature are rarely awarded and are limited to cases where the defendant’s conduct was egregiously insidious or accompanied by elements of arrogance, insolence or malice, such that it is necessary to punish the defendant in an exemplary manner. 

The courts of Cyprus have the power to award interest from the date of its accrual until final repayment, along with any order for the repayment of a debt to which such interest is payable (either by law or by agreement of the parties). The interest awarded must not exceed the maximum rate prescribed by the law. 

Further to this awarded interest in relation to the debt, any judgment issued by the Cypriot courts bears legal interest (currently set at 2%) from the date of the filing of the action until final repayment of the judgment debt, unless the court declares otherwise. 

Domestic judgments are enforceable under Cyprus Law through different execution measures, such as:

  • a writ of execution for the sale of movable property; 
  • a writ for the sale of the debtor’s immovable property or registration of a charging order (“memo”) over the immovable property of the debtor;
  • the registration of a charging order over the judgment debtor’s chattels – eg, shares;
  • an order for the repayment of the debt by monthly instalments; 
  • a writ of delivery of goods, ordering those goods to be delivered to the judgment creditor;
  • garnishee proceedings against third parties; or 
  • bankruptcy or liquidation proceedings against the judgment debtor (although, strictly speaking, not enforcement methods per se).

Different legal regimes apply in Cyprus for the enforcement of judgments issued in other EU member states and judgments issued by third countries. 

Judgments from EU Member States

For judgments issued in other EU member states, the provisions of Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012 are applicable. Such judgments are recognised by the courts of Cyprus without any special procedure being required, and without the need for the issuance of a declaration of enforceability. According to the Regulation, an applicant wishing to enforce such a judgment in Cyprus must provide the Cyprus court with a copy of the court judgment that satisfies the conditions necessary to establish its authenticity and a certificate issued by the court of origin, as well as a Greek translation of the said documents where necessary. The recognition of a judgment may be refused from the Cyprus courts if any of the grounds for refusal set out in Article 45 of the EU Regulation are applicable.

It must be clarified that the substance of the foreign judgment shall not be reviewed by the Cypriot court, in accordance with Article 52 of the Regulation.

Judgments from Non-EU Member States

For judgments issued by a non-EU member state, the recognition and enforcement process shall depend on the applicability of any multilateral or bilateral treaty of which Cyprus is a signatory, together with the other state,  that facilitates the respective recognition and enforcement of judgments. 

In the absence of such a treaty with the country of origin of the judgment, the recognition and enforcement may be achieved through the provisions of the Foreign Judgments’ Law, Cap 10, if the foreign judgment has been issued by a Commonwealth country. 

If none of the above legal frameworks apply, then recourse shall need to be sought to the common law principles and a new civil action will have to be filed in Cyprus based upon the provisions of the foreign judgment in question. Following the filing of a new action, the judgment creditor shall be in a position to request a summary judgment from the Cyprus court arguing that no defence to the action exists. It is noted that the original foreign judgment must be final and referring to a determined sum payable to the judgment creditor.

Once the foreign judgment has been recognised and registered in Cyprus, it obtains the status of a domestic court judgment and is subject to the methods of execution in the same way as any other domestic judgment, as explained in 9.4 Enforcement Mechanisms of a Domestic Judgment.

There is currently only one level of appeal available in Cyprus, before the Supreme Court, where first instance judgments from all district courts or courts of specialised jurisdiction may be appealed.

As of 2023, however, there will be two levels of appeal; one before the Appellate Court to be established (or, in exceptional cases, directly before the newly established Supreme Court or Supreme Constitutional Court, as provided for by the Law No.145(I)/2022), and a second one before the Supreme Court or the Supreme Constitutional Court, as the case may be.

An appeal before the Supreme Court of Cyprus may currently be launched as of right by a litigant, without the need to obtain prior leave, save for appeals against orders for costs. Pursuant to Article 25 of the Courts of Justice Law of 1960 (Law No 14/60), appeals may be brought in relation to:

  • any final judgment or order of a court exercising civil jurisdiction;
  • any order of a prohibitory or imperative nature, or any order for the appointment of a receiver;
  • interlocutory judgments having a determinative effect on the rights of parties; and
  • any judgment issued by a court exercising criminal jurisdiction.

The option exists for the appellant to appeal against the entire first instance judgment or any part of it. In any event, the appellant must state in the appeal notice all the grounds of appeal and elaborate on those grounds.

Pursuant to the newly introduced Law No. 145(I)/2022, an Appellate Court will be formally constituted, divided into civil, criminal and revisionary jurisdiction sections, to adjudicate all appeals filed against judgments issued by first tier courts (ie, district courts and courts of special jurisdiction).

An appeal against any interlocutory judgment and/or order, as well as any final or interim order in proceedings other than civil actions, must be filed within 14 days from the date of issuance thereof. For all other appeals, the deadline for filing is six weeks from the issuance of the first instance judgment.

The above-mentioned deadlines can be extended if sufficient reasons are given justifying the granting of the requested extension. 

All appeals must be filed in writing before the Registrar of the Court that issued the first instance judgment, accompanied with an official copy of said judgment.

The Supreme Court, in its capacity as an appellate court, currently has all the powers and duties as to amendment, revision etc of the first instance courts, together with full discretionary power to receive further evidence upon questions of fact. Upon appeal from a judgment after trial or hearing of any cause or matter on the merits, such further evidence shall be admitted on the basis of special grounds only.

The Supreme Court currently also has the power to draw inferences of fact and to give any judgment and make any order which ought to have been made, and to make such further or other order as the case may require, notwithstanding that the notice of appeal may be that a part only of the decision ought to be reversed or varied. The Supreme Court currently also has the power to make such order as to the whole or any part of the costs of the appeal, as it deems just.

If, upon the hearing of an appeal, it appears to the Supreme Court that a new trial must take place, then it may order the setting aside of the first instance judgment either wholly or in part and order the conducting of a new trial.

Following its expected constitution in 2023, the new Appellate Court will take on the Supreme Court’s current jurisdiction to adjudicate any appeals against first instance decisions, save for exceptional cases involving issues of public law, interest, policy e.a., in which case the appeal will be referred by the Appellate Court to the Supreme Court or the Supreme Constitutional Court, as the case may be, for adjudication.

For the rest, following their expected constitution as of 1 January 2023, the new Supreme Court and the new Supreme Constitutional Court will act as third tier courts, having jurisdiction to adjudicate appeals against decisions of the Appellate Court in specific cases.

There is no requirement to obtain leave before filing an appeal, unless the appeal relates to an order for costs.

As previously mentioned, the Supreme Court has wide powers while dealing with appeals, including the power to reverse, confirm or vary the first instance judgment, as well as order a new trial.

The court has sole and wide discretion as to the issue of costs, but in principle the successful party is entitled to recovery/payment of its legal costs from the losing party. In certain cases, the court might decide to order each side to bear its own costs, if this is in the interest of justice. 

The costs are usually calculated by the Registrar of the Court based on the applicable court cost scales currently in force, and are later approved by the court itself. A party has the right to challenge the amount of costs. 

Recoverable costs include the legal costs of a party, the disbursements and other costs incurred in the course of the proceedings (stamp duty, service costs, etc) and VAT. 

When awarding costs, the court may take into consideration a number of relevant facts and factors, such as the complexity and urgency of the case and the general demeanour of the parties during the proceedings (including any unreasonable conduct or delaying tactics), and not merely which side managed to prove its case/application.

Legal costs awarded to a party carry interest; these are currently set at 2%.

While certain steps have been taken to incentivise prospective litigants to turn towards alternative dispute resolution methods, litigation still remains the dominant method. 

Nonetheless, the use of arbitration (both ad hoc and institutional) is on the rise and more prospective litigants opt for arbitration, primarily because of the expected quicker adjudication of their dispute. 

Furthermore, mediation is now considered as the preferred method for resolving certain types of consumer disputes, while new legislation has been introduced providing the option of mediation in family law-related disputes.

ADR methods are not compulsory under Cyprus Law and the parties are free to decide on their preferred method for resolution of their dispute. 

While not that commonly used in practice, the Law on Certain Aspects of Mediation in Civil Matters of 2012 (Law No 159(I)/2012) grants discretion to Cyprus courts to organise an information meeting together with all the parties while the litigation process is pending, during which the court shall inform them about the mediation process and the possibility of resolving their dispute by way of such a process or decide on the postponement of the judicial proceedings in order to allow mediation to take place should one party (with the consent of the other party) or all of the parties apply before the court in that regard.

There are a number of institutions in Cyprus which provide ADR facilitating services, such as:

  • the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry;
  • the Cyprus Arbitration and Mediation Centre;
  • the Cyprus Eurasia Dispute Resolution and Arbitration Centre; and
  • The Cyprus Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution.

There are two national laws governing the conduct of arbitrations in Cyprus, namely the Arbitration Law (Cap 4) and the International Commercial Arbitration Law of 1987 (Law No 101/1987). 

The Law No 101/1987 (based on the UNCITRAL Model Law of 1985) applies exclusively to international commercial arbitrations – ie, arbitrations between parties with places of business in different countries where the subject matter of the dispute has been expressly agreed upon between the parties as relating to more than one country, or where either the place of arbitration or the place of performance of a substantial part of the obligations deriving from the commercial relation in question is situated outside of the jurisdiction. 

All other domestic arbitral proceedings are regulated by the Arbitration Law (Cap 4), which is based on the English Arbitration Act of 1950. 

Cap 4 provides that, in the absence of a different provision in the arbitration agreement, domestic arbitrations are deemed as containing the implied terms prescribed by the First Schedule of the Law, while Section 30 thereof also states that, unless otherwise specified, the Civil Procedure Rules currently in place in Cyprus will also apply to domestic arbitral proceedings, with the necessary adjustments. 

The Law No 101/87 on the other hand, states that the parties are free to determine how the arbitration is to be conducted, but all the parties must be given a full opportunity to present their case and be treated equally.

A more detailed analysis of the matters relating to the enforcement of the arbitral awards is set out in 13.4 Procedure for Enforcing Domestic and Foreign Arbitration

Article 33 of Cap 4 makes it clear that Cap 4 shall not apply to any arbitral proceedings of a tribunal operating on the basis of the Trade Disputes (Conciliation, Arbitration and Inquiry) Law, or in relation to any award issued by such a tribunal. 

Other subject matters that are considered as non-arbitrable are criminal matters, matrimonial disputes and disputes with public policy implications.

As provided in Section 34 of the Law No 101/87, a party can challenge an arbitral award within three months from the date on which such party received the award, and only for the grounds mentioned therein:

  • a party to the arbitration agreement was incapacitated, the agreement was not valid under the law which the parties subjected it to, or in the absence of any agreement thereon, under the laws of Cyprus; or 
  • a party was not given proper notice of the appointment of an arbitrator or of the arbitral proceedings, or was unable to present its case; or 
  • the award deals with a dispute not contemplated by or not falling within the terms of submission to arbitration, or contains decisions beyond the scope of the arbitration; or 
  • the composition of the tribunal or the arbitration process was in breach of the agreement of the parties or of the law; or
  • the subject matter of the dispute cannot be settled by arbitration under the laws of Cyprus; or 
  • the award is in conflict with the public policy of Cyprus. 

Also, under Chapter 4, an award may be set aside in case the arbitrator or umpire has not conducted themself properly in the proceedings, or the arbitration itself or the award was improperly procured.

An arbitral award issued in the context of domestic arbitral proceedings (under Chapter 4) may, by leave of the court, be enforced in the same manner as a court judgment issued in civil proceedings, as explained in 9.4 Enforcement Mechanisms of a Domestic Judgment.

An arbitral award, issued in the context of international commercial arbitral proceedings governed by Law No 101/87, will normally be recognised and enforced in Cyprus following the filing of an application before the relevant district court, accompanied by a duly authenticated original award or a duly certified copy thereof, as well as a copy of the arbitration agreement.

The recognition and enforcement of such an arbitral award may only be rejected on specific grounds, as provided for by the relevant national legislation.

The legal system of Cyprus is currently undergoing a major reform, which is expected to contribute to the modernisation and optimisation of the administration of justice. The reform focuses on four areas:

  • the functioning of the courts;
  • the training of the judiciary;
  • the use of e-justice; and
  • the revision of the Civil Procedure Rules.

The said reforms are expected to be formally implemented in 2023.

The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly impacted upon the operation of Cypriot courts to a great extent. 

In March 2020, the operation of all Cypriot courts was suspended, except for extremely urgent matters which were adjudicated as a matter of exception. All scheduled hearings and court appearances were adjourned, causing further delays in the administration of justice, the effects of which are still apparent today.

Together with the suspension of court operations, the Supreme Court suspended the operation of limitation periods for specific procedural steps up until February 2021. 

On a more positive note, the use of electronic communication with the courts via email was introduced during the pandemic and has now become common practice for the handling of case management appearances. This has improved the efficiency of the courts and has helped to minimise any unnecessary court appearances. 

Dr. K. Chrysostomides & Co LLC

1 Lampousas Street
1095 Nicosia – Cyprus
PO Box 22119
1517 Nicosia – Cyprus

+357 227 770 00

+357 227 799 39
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Dr. K. Chrysostomides & Co LLC has a particularly strong dispute resolution team, with significant experience in a wide range of litigation and arbitration matters. The firm regularly and effectively handles international multimillion USD/EUR cases, including shareholder disputes, corporate and commercial fraud, and boasts an exceptionally strong commercial and corporate litigation practice. The dispute resolution team handles highly complex cases in numerous areas, including business, commercial and corporate law, banking and finance, tax, trusts, intellectual property, professional liability, antitrust, family law, administrative and criminal law. The firm's litigation lawyers seek to identify and implement the most appropriate solutions for their clients, through the pursuit or defending of litigation proceedings, and work very closely with the firm’s other departments to perform risk assessments to help reduce clients' overall litigation exposure. The firm's lawyers have extensive experience before all Cypriot courts and various international arbitration courts and tribunals.

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