Generally, the Subordinate Courts are lower courts. There are six types of subordinate courts in Cyprus:
1.The District Court
District courts in Cyprus practice common and criminal laws. There are five District courts in Cyprus and in their common purview have the authority to make any action within the district of the location of that specific court. District Courts can likewise engage in any case that has not been particularly allocated to the jurisdiction of the Labour Courts, Family Courts, Rent Control Courts or the Supreme Court.
2.The Family Courts
Each region of Cyprus has its own Family Court. The court has jurisdiction concerning matters of property alteration of divorce, alimony, custody and child support payment disputes as well as other areas of Family Law such as the annulment of marriages.
3.The Labour Courts
The Labour Court situated in Nicosia is the only venue for disputes concerning the employment relationship. In the absence of a Labour Tribunal, employers and employees in Cyprus bring actions to the Labour Court
4.The Rent Control Courts
There are three Rent Control Courts located in Cyprus. The three courts handle matters from five regions with Nicosia having its own court, the regions of Limassol and Paphos sharing a court, as well as Larnaca and Famagusta regions sharing a court. Rent Control Courts handle a broad range of areas related to rented real property. Rent adjustments and evictions are common cases.
5.The Military Courts
Four years after independence, the Military Criminal Code of 1964 established the Cypriot Military Court. The Cypriot Military Court exercises criminal jurisdiction over members of the Armed Forces. It is a highly procedural court following the Military Criminal Code and related procedural regulations.
The Courts of the Republic of Cyprus are organised as shown below:
MAIN STAGES IN CIVIL PROCEEDINGS
The law is based mainly in the Civil Procedure Law and in the Civil Procedures Rules. Both were founded in English Law and Practice applicable in the 1950s. The Civil Procedure Rules follow the English White Book of 1954 with minor amendments. The Civil Procedure rules deal with the following: 1. Commencement and Service of the proceedings
- Interlocutory Matters such as third-party proceedings, discovery, particulars, etc.
- The Trial
- The Appeal
- Execution of Judgments
The main stages in civil proceedings are as follows:
- Filing a writ of summons, generally indorsed or specially indorsed, for service of a writ of summons to the Defendants.
- Filing of a Notice of Appearance by the Defendant within 10 days from the time of service. If the Defendant disputes the jurisdiction, he must apply for leave to file a conditional appearance. If the Defendant is outside the jurisdiction, the Plaintiff must first apply for leave to seal the writ and the for leave to serve it outside the jurisdiction. If a generally indorsed statement of claim is filed, then a statement of claim must be filed within 10 days of an appearance. The Defendant must file his statement of defence within 14 days after filing an appearance if a specially indorsed writ of summons is filed, or 14 days after the statement of claim if a generally indorsed writ of summons is filed. The Plaintiff may file a reply within 7 days after receiving the defence, but it is not compulsory. If the Defendant has counterclaim, the Plaintiff will file a reply to and defence against the counterclaim within 14 days of the counterclaim. Once the pleadings close, any party is entitled to apply to the court for a hearing date.
- The Registrar fixes the matter for directions and the judge decides when to fix the matter for hearing. Before the trial both parties may file various interlocutory applications. During the trial, both parties produce evidence. The witnesses are examined in chief and they can be cross examined and re-examined. At the end both parties make their submissions so that a judgment may be issued.
The main stages in criminal proceedings are as follows:
The applicable law is the Criminal Procedure Law Cap 155. Section 3 of the Law provides that English practice is applicable in the absence of any Cyprus provision. Investigation of offences is usually carried out by police officers who have the power to request any person to attend the police station for purposes of examination, to take statements, documents and to carry out arrest and search. The usual way of commencing criminal proceedings is by a charge in a specified form. The charge is usually presented to a judge who directs that it be filed and subsequently a summons is issued to compel the attendance of the accused. The summons is served personally. In all criminal cases whether in the District or Assize Court a witness is first examined in chief then cross examined and re-examined in the same fashion as in the civil cases. In summary trials and trials on information i.e in Assize Court the accused answers to the charge or in Assize Court the information, pleading guilty or not guilty. The accused is always deemed innocent until proven guilty. After the plea, the Court proceeds with the hearing with the prosecution calling its evidence. The defence upon completion of the prosecution case may submit that a prima facie case has not been made out. If the submission is successful then the case is dismissed and the accused acquitted. If not, the Court calls upon the accused for his defence, but a) has to advise the accused that he may make a statement without be sworn b) in such a case he will not be liable for cross examination or c) that he may give evidence after been sworn and d) in such a case he will be cross examined. The party who has last called the witness may address the Court first and the other party shall reply. At the conclusion judgment is delivered. The Court may find the accused guilty and pass sentence or acquit the accused. In summary cases, the court may if the accused fails to appear either issue a warrant of arrest or proceed in absentia. For offences exceeding 5 years imprisonment a preliminary inquiry by a judge must be held in order to establish where there are sufficient grounds on the basis of the evidence for the accused to stand trial. If the judge decides to commit the accused for trial the record is transmitted to the Assize Court.
Krawietz W, Political And Legal System Of The Republic Of Cyprus(Duncker & Humblot GmbH 2003)
Krawietz W, Political And Legal System Of The Republic Of Cyprus (Duncker & Humblot GmbH 2003)
The text pertaining to the proceeding in Cyprus is copied by George Liasides LLC speech at the EURESEAU CONFERENCE, NICOSIA, 15 NOVEMBER 2015 available at http://www.studiofinpro.it/wp-content/uploads/INTRODUCTION-TO-CYPRUS-LEGAL-SYSTEM.pdf