A team of British legal international experts specialising in EU law visited the island to evaluate an ongoing programme for reform in the Cyprus judicial system.
Earlier this month, Lord John Dyson was among the team who met with the Cyprus institutions committee of the supreme court. During their stay on the island, the international EU specialists had another important meeting with the Courts Reform Steering Committee and the Cyprus Bar Association.
The team is an EU-funded project, and has been tasked with revising the Cyprus courts’ civil procedure regulations. The international specialists had previously visited Cyprus last May, when they presented preliminary recommendations for improving civil procedures to the Cyprus supreme court.
The EU Justice Scoreboard 2017 showed that while perceived judicial independence is relatively high in Cyprus, achieving greater efficacy in the system continued to be “a grave trial”.
The EU Justice Scoreboard also showed that deficiencies in the quality of the Cypriot justice system, namely:
The availability and use of relevant information & communication technologies.
A low amount of judgements can be accessed online or remotely. As a result of this, alternative dispute resolution methods are often not used.
The length of court proceedings and the level of backlogs for litigious civil, commercial and petty cases are one of the highest in Europe.
Timing standards for case management or other performance measures are fundamentally lacking.
Significant delays of up to four years in courts of first instance, and a further delay of up to five years on appeals, led to a situation where the state was required by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to pay compensation to offenders impacted by such delays.
Other cases regarding drink driving and speeding charges remain so backlogged, with many serious cases often being dismissed with a mere fine.