Byzantine Era to Colonial Rule chapter 1 cy

National law – CY – Legal system – module 1

Through the Byzantine era, the Byzantine law were the widely recognized laws in the country. They were part of the Assizes Codes of Law applied during the Franks reign (1192-1489) and the Venetian period (1489-1570).  During the 16th century, the Venetians tried to introduce their own legal system but during the Ottoman period 1570-1878; the Ottoman laws were used by most residents of Cyprus.

The Venetians were eager to introduce their own legal system during the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries. From 1570 to 1878, the applicable and used laws were the Ottoman codes.

In 1869, a new code known as “Mejelle” or the Civil Code of 10 March 1869 started in force. The “Mejelle” was based on the decisions and obiter dicta of Imams. The text was believed to have significant similarities to the «Χεττάγια» a leading Indian regime.

The Ottoman Commercial Code also bore resemblance to the Napoleonic Code that was used in France and at times wider sections of Europe. The Ottoman Criminal Law and Admiralty Code that were used at the time were also based on the French Felony and Maritime Laws respectively.

In Cyprus, up until 1878, other Ottoman statutes that applied were, inter alia, the Inheritance Law, the Law on Presses, the Immovable Property Law, and the Law on Mines. In 1878; however, Turkey ceded Cyprus to Great Britain as part of a Convention of Defensive Alliance signed by Turkey and Great Britain 4 June 1878. The Convention arose due to a concern of Turkey that Russia was increasingly occupying territories of geopolitical importance to Turkey. The assistance of Great Britain was requested by Turkey and as a result administration and possession of Cyprus was handed over to Great Britain in return for part of the surplus budget of the latter, which was estimated to be 22.936 «πουγγία» where «έκαστον πουγγίον = 500 γρόσια».

Cyprus’s management by Great Britain was originally intended to be temporary. It was believed that once Russia had left areas in Armenia the possession and administration of Cyprus by Great Britain would terminate and that Cyprus would be returned again to the Ottomans.

Savvides D, ‘Cyprus ∙ The Current Legal And Policy Outlook Of Public Procurement And PPP In Cyprus’ (2017) 12 European Procurement & Public Private Partnership Law Review


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