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The judicial system of each country is the cornerstone of
democracy and for this reason, there is an obligation on the part
of the authorities of each country to do such reforms so that there
is no delay in the administration of justice. As William Edward
Gladstone has rightly put it ‘Justice delayed is justice
The judicial system in Cyprus needs immediate and modernizing
reform, as there is a long delay in the administration of justice,
due to the accumulation of many cases that have been waiting for
years to be tried.
The delay in the administration of justice undermines the sense
of justice of the citizens, affects the rule of law and is an
obstacle to the economic development of the country and its social
The chronic problem of delays in the administration of justice
must be radically addressed in order to have a more efficient,
faster and flexible judicial system.
The House of Representative has recently progressed with the
passing of three bills regarding the judicial reform in Cyprus. The
reform recommends the separation of the Supreme Court into two
Supreme Courts i.e. one Supreme Constitutional Court and one
Supreme Court as provided for in the 1960 Constitution before the
1964 legislation was enacted when the one unified Supreme Court was
established. It also proposes the creation of a new Second Instance
Court, i.e. the Court of Appeal which will hear appeals from the
First Instance Courts (civil and criminal) and in turn it will
refer the most important matters to the higher tier of the
It is reasonable to ask whether the reintroduction of the
aforementioned system, which had been in operation for four years,
i.e. from 1960 to 1964, and which was ruled inadmissible in the
Ibrahim case, is contrary to the principle of the Doctrine
In 1964, when the judicial system could no longer function due
to the departure of the Turkish judges, the House of
Representatives enacted the 1964 Law creating a Supreme Court. This
was done with the well-known Ibrahim case which is the
cornerstone of the Cyprus Constitution. The Court in that case
adopted the principle salus populi suprema lex esto, i.e.
the salvation of the people is above the law.
Many well-versed lawyers have expressed the view that the
Government is paradoxically invoking the Doctrine of Necessity to
return to the 1960 Constitution to justify the abolition of the
sole Supreme Court and the restoration of the two Courts.
This “assumption” poses many dangers and in so doing
suggests that the Ibrahim decision was wrong. Moreover, it
will give the Turkish side the opportunity to accuse the Republic
of Cyprus of wrongly invoking the Doctrine of Necessity. The
prevailing view is that doing so may destroy the Doctrine of
Necessity which is the basis of the current constitution of the
Republic of Cyprus.
The reform of the judiciary should aim for specificity.
Specialization means speed, efficiency and quality. The speed,
efficiency and quality of the administration of justice depend on
the creation of specialized departments at all levels and stages of
the justice system.
To deliver quality justice, both the executive and the
legislature need to be vigilant in adopting appropriate
In my humble opinion, proper reform of the judiciary is
absolutely necessary for its proper functioning. The primary
objective of the proposed reform of the Judiciary should be to
preserve the confidence of citizens in our Courts. This can only be
achieved by ensuring that the citizens of the Republic of Cyprus,
who approach the Cypriot Courts, will be able to achieve justice
quickly and efficiently. Therefore, any reform should focus on this
aspect. I really hope that the reform passed by the House of
Representatives will not create further delay in the administration
of justice by introducing new procedures before different
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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