3rd Symposium of the Procedural Law Unit of the School of Law of the University of Nicosia: Modernisation of Cyprus Courts of Paramount Importance

Key interventions, noteworthy recommendations, and valuable insights for modernizing Cypriot courts were the focus at the 3rd Symposium of the Procedural Law Unit of the School of Law of the University of Nicosia

The symposium, held successfully on Friday, December 15, 2023, emphasized the need for optimal court functionality in a rapidly evolving world. Under the theme “The 21st Century Court: Staff and Equipment,” it addressed the pressing issues faced by Cypriot courts today. Discussions centred on the vital modernisation of Cypriot court operations.

A main takeaway, highlighted by both local and international speakers, is the critical need for ongoing structural reforms. These reforms aim to enhance and streamline Cypriot court operations, thereby improving the justice delivery process, a key aspect of Cypriot society and sustainable growth.

Nikos Tornaritis, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs, noted that efforts to modernize courts through constitutional amendments represent progress in moving away from a previously rigid and dysfunctional system, as European comparisons have shown.

Louiza Christodoulidou Zannetou, Law Commissioner, emphasized the necessity for courts to leverage technology for justice access and improved communication within the justice system.

Michalis Vorkas, President of the Cyprus Bar Association, remarked that the prestige of Cyprus’ justice system has been historically affected. He called for a constructive dialogue and broader societal discussion for effective action, stressing that “justice that is independent but delayed does not fulfil its mission.”

At the symposium, Achilleas Emilianides, Dean of the Law School at the University of Nicosia, pointed out significant infrastructure challenges affecting even basic operations like court records, urging immediate resolution.

The event featured speakers such as Angelos Binis (European Commission), Rafaella Hadjikyriakou (Council of Europe), Julinda Beqiraj (Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law), Anni Pantazi-Lamprou (European Prosecutor), and Theano Mavromoustaki (Attorney General’s Office).

A key segment of the Symposium involved presenting and analysing a quantitative opinion survey on the quality of justice in Cyprus. Conducted by IMR for the second year, the survey revealed:

  • 79% feel little or no satisfaction with Cyprus’ justice system (75% in 2022).
  • The biggest issue identified was “Corruption – Prevalence of Middleman” at 60% (51% in 2022).

In terms of trust, participants rated University Law Schools highest (65%), followed by Judges (46%), Law Office of the Republic (38%), Cyprus Bar Association (35%), Lawyers (32%), Ministry of Justice and Public Order (31%), and the Parliamentary Legal Committee (28%).

The symposium was a joint effort by Oxygen for Democracy and the Cyprus Bar Association, coordinated by Dr. Anna Em. Pleuris, Lawyer and Assistant Professor of Civil Procedure, School of Law, University of Nicosia and Director of the Procedural Law Unit, and Dr. Nicolas Kyriakides, Lawyer, Adjunct Faculty, School of Law, University of Nicosia and co-Director of the Procedural Law Unit.”