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Description of “Modern” Cypriot Law in Brief
Last Update: September, 2016

The “modern” Cypriot Law originates from the emancipation of the British Colony of Cyprus and the emergence of the sovereign Republic of Cyprus as a result of the London and Zurich Agreement on the 16th August 1960. 

Article 188 of the new Constitution which was introduced, established the continuity of the legal system by providing that “…all laws in force on the date of the coming into operation of the Constitution, until amended whether by way of variation, addition or repeal by any law made under the Constitution, shall continue in force on and after the aforementioned date…” 

The Courts of Justice Law, 1960 (Law No. 14/60) was enacted pursuant to Article 158 of the Constitution. Section 29(1) of the mentioned Law provides that the Courts in Cyprus, on the application of their civil and criminal jurisdiction, shall apply: 

(a) The Constitution of the Republic and the laws made pursuant to it; 

(b) The Laws saved under Article 188 of the Constitution subject to the conditions provided therein save in so far as other provision has been or shall be made by a law made or becoming applicable under the Constitution. 

(c) The Common Law and the doctrines of Equity save in so far as other provision has been or shall be made by any law made or becoming applicable under the Constitution or any law saved under paragraph (b) of this section in so far as they are not inconsistent with or contrary to the Constitution 

(d)……. 

(e) the laws of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and North Ireland, applied in Cyprus immediately before the independence date, save in so far as other provision has been or shall be made by any law made or becoming applicable under the Constitution, provided that they are not inconsistent with or contrary to the Constitution. 

Further to paragraph (c) of Law 14/60 above, the application of Common Law in Cyprus is also supported by cases of the Supreme Court, reiterating the rule that it is applicable provided that no other provision has been made by any law saved under Article 188 of the Constitution or enacted by the Legislative Authority of the Republic. It has also been considered as not inconsistent with or contrary to our Constitution and it is suitable for Cyprus, provided that it suits local conditions. 

Courts in Cyprus apply the doctrine of judicial precedent which was introduced into the Law of Cyprus from the Law of England and it is considered to be part and parcel of our judicial system. On the basis of the “stare decisis” rule (doctrine of judicial precedent), subordinate courts are bound by the existing judicial precedent of superior courts. The Supreme Court, while treating its former decisions as clearly binding, may depart from them when it appears right to do so, although it should be reluctant and cautious in so depart . 

Finally, it has been ruled by the Supreme Court of Cyprus that English case law, although not binding upon the Courts of the Republic, they are entitled to the highest respect and are of great persuasive authority. However, reference thereto is useful in construing our legislative provisions whose origin is to be found in the English legal system and therefore as a general rule, the Courts in Cyprus are urged and they do follow the decisions of the English appellate Courts on the construction of the common law and of a statute, unless they are convinced that those decisions are wrong or against Cypriot law or custom. 

A distinction must be made between Common Law and English case law within the context of the above paragraphs; namely that Common Law, although derives from English case law, is a set of established principles and rules of law developed and reported by the Courts in England during the last centuries, especially during the 19th and early 20th centuries. 

Finally, it has been ruled by the Supreme Court of Cyprus that English case law, although not binding upon the Courts of the Republic, they are entitled to the highest respect and are of great persuasive authority. However, reference thereto is useful in construing our legislative provisions whose origin is to be found in the English legal system and therefore as a general rule, the Courts in Cyprus are urged and they do follow the decisions of the English appellate Courts on the construction of the common law and of a statute, unless they are convinced that those decisions are wrong or against Cypriot law or custom. 

A distinction must be made between Common Law and English case law within the context of the above paragraphs; namely that Common Law, although derives from English case law, is a set of established principles and rules of law developed and reported by the Courts in England during the last centuries, especially during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Publish Date: 09 August, 2014
Antonis Karitzis Antonis was born in Nicosia and resides in Limassol. He received his law degree from the University of Manchester in 2002. Antonis started his career with Chrysses Demetriades & Co. LLC In July 2002 where he worked ...

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