CYPRUS: Justice system not fit for purpose

Cyprus’ justice system is under the spotlight once again after an EU scoreboard shows the country hitting rock bottom when it comes to efficiency as the time required to complete court cases is the longest by far.

The 2019 EU Justice Scoreboard using 2017 data, focuses on three key elements for an effective justice system:

Effectiveness: Indicators on the length of proceedings, the rate of processing and the number of outstanding cases.

Quality: Accessibility indicators, such as legal assistance and legal costs, training, monitoring of court activities, budget, human resources and standards on the quality of court decisions.

Independence: Indicators on the perception of businesses and the general public about the independence of the judiciary system.

According to the survey’s findings, time needed in Cyprus to resolve civil, commercial, administrative and other similar cases is the longest in the EU.

The Cyprus judiciary system needs an average of 1000 days, with delays seeing a significant increase in recent years.

Administrative cases can take up to 2500 days to be resolved, which is the longest in the EU.

Time required to resolve civil and commercial cases exceeds 500 days while only Malta has longer delays.

Cyprus has also one of the largest numbers of outstanding civil and commercial cases but also administrative affairs.

Vera Jourova, European Commissioner for Justice said: “Challenges to the rule of law are growing in some parts of Europe. I am pleased to note that many countries are still working on improving their judicial system. Unfortunately, others are reversing this positive trend.

There are still a large number of EU citizens who do not regard their country’s justice systems as independent and who are waiting too long for justice to be awarded. “

The survey’s findings increase pressure on authorities to resolve the chronic problems faced by Cyprus’ justice system.

This pressure intensified at the beginning of the year amid allegations of conflict of interest as local judges were reported to have business and family ties with large law firms.

Source: The Financial Mirror