|1. ||How and when was the Supreme Court established in its current form?|
|The 1960 Constitution by which the Republic of Cyprus was established, provided for the existence of both a High Court as well as a Supreme Constitutional Court. These Courts were composed of Greek, Turkish and neutral judges, i.e. judges coming from a foreign country excluding Greece and Turkey. The two neutral judges presided over the Courts. This Constitutional arrangement lasted only until the beginning of 1964 due to the eruption of intercommunal hostilities in Cyprus, as a result of which the neutral presidents vacated their posts without being replaced. In order to face this situation which paralysed the judiciary, there was enacted the Administration of Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Law no. 33/64. By virtue of this law, the two highest courts were merged into one, the Supreme Court of Cyprus, to which the jurisdiction and powers of the two pre-existing courts were transferred. The establishment and operation of the new Supreme Court was held to be in conformity with the Constitution on the basis of recognised principles of the law of necessity. The Turkish Cypriot members of the pre-existing Courts participated in the composition of the Supreme Court for a few years since its establishment, but withdrew later. The Supreme Court was originally composed of 5 judges but the number of judges was gradually increased by legislation to its current number of 13 judges.|
|2. ||How are the judges of the Supreme Court and the judges of the inferior courts appointed and what are the qualifications required for appointment?|
|The judges of the Supreme Court are appointed by the President of the Republic who, customarily obtains the recommendations of the Supreme Court beforehand. The selection is usually made from among the senior Presidents of District Courts. To qualify for appointment a candidate must be an advocate with at least 12 years practice (a term which also includes service in any judicial post) and of high moral standard.
The District Judges, Senior District Judges and Presidents of District Courts are appointed by the Supreme Council of Judicature, a body consisting of the judges of the Supreme Court. To qualify for appointment as a District Judge a candidate must be an advocate with at least 6 years practice (or 5 years on the recommendation of 2/3 of the members of the Council) and of high moral standard. To qualify for appointment to the post of Senior District Judge or President of District Court, a candidate must be an advocate of at least 10 years practice (a term which also includes service in any judicial post) and of high moral standard. Judges of the Courts exercising specialised jurisdiction, are also appointed by the Supreme Council of Judicature. The qualifications required for appointment are set-out in the respective legislation by virtue of which these Courts were established.|
|3. ||Who have served as Presidents of the High Court, the Supreme Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court ?|
|The first president of the Supreme Constitutional Court was the German Professor Dr. Ernst Forsthoff. The first president of the High Court was Barra O´Briain of Irish descent who served until 1961, who was succeeded by the Canadian John Leonard Wilson who served from 1962 until1964.
The following served as Presidents of the Supreme Court which was established by law no. 33/64:
Mehmet Zekia, June 1964-September 1966
Georghios Vassiliades, January 1967-April 1971
Michalakis Triantafyllides, April 1971-March 1988
Andreas Loizou, April 1988-July 1994
Demetrios Stylianides, July 1994-April 1995
Georghios Pikis, April 1995-March 2004
Christos Artemides, March 2004 –September 2008
Petros Artemis, September 2008 todate|
|4. ||To what extent are the judgments of the Supreme Court binding on other courts?|
|The principle of binding judicial precedent is applied in Cyprus in the same manner as in other countries which have adopted the English common law. This means that the main principle (ratio decidendi) of a judgment of the Supreme Court exercising its appellate jurisdiction or its original jurisdiction exercised by the plenum of the Court, is binding on all subordinate courts in resolving any issue in dispute. It is also binding on the Supreme Court itself when faced with a subsequent case, reserving the right however to depart from its own previous decisions under circumstances established by the case-law.|
|5. ||Which Law is applied by the Courts in Cyprus?|
|By virtue of the Courts of Justice Law no. 14/60 as amended, the Courts in Cyprus in exercising their civil or criminal jurisdiction apply:
a. The Constitution of the Republic and the laws enacted by virtue of it.
b. The laws kept in force by virtue of the Constitution unless otherwise provided later.
c. The common law and the principles of equity to the extent that these are not repugnant to the constitution.
d. The laws and principles of ahkamul evkaf relating to Turkish religious property.
e. The laws of the United Kingdom’s House of Commons which were applicable to Cyprus on the date immediately preceding the independence day, unless otherwise provided later, and to the extent that these are not inconsistent with or repugnant to the Constitution.|
|6. ||How far are the principles of the independence of the Judiciary and Separation of Powers safeguarded in Cyprus?|
|The independence of the Judiciary in Cyprus is fully respected, both institutionally and functionally. The manner of judicial appointments and the terms of service of its members, the unfettered exercise of their duties and the exercise of disciplinary control over them, are all safeguarded in a manner ensuring the independence of judges and excluding the possibility of external influence. The strict separation of the 3 powers is a clearly visible characteristic of the Cyprus Constitution. The powers, jurisdictions and duties of the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary are specifically defined in separate parts and provisions of the Constitution, leaving no room for overlap. As far as the judiciary is concerned, the parameters of the exercise of its powers are expressly stated as referring to resolving of all disputes between citizens, or between citizens and public organs or between public organs themselves.|
|7. ||How was the European Law incorporated in the Cyprus legal system following Cyprus´ accession to the European Union?|
|As with all other member states, the provisions of European Law have either direct applicability to the Republic or are incorporated in the national law following the enactment of legislation. As the supreme law in Cyprus was always the Constitution, the issue arose as to whether in the case of a conflict or incompatibility between a binding provision of European Law and a provision in the Constitution, the latter prevailed. In order to discard any doubts as to the supremacy of the European Law over the national law and the Constitution following Cyprus´ accession to the European Union in 2004, a law was enacted amending the Constitution, viz the Law relating to the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution, no. 127(I) of 2006. By virtue of this law, a new Article 1(A) was added to the Cyprus Constitution which provides that no provision in the Constitution can be deemed as overriding any legislation, acts or measures enacted or taken by the Republic which are obligatory as a member state of the European Union, nor does it hinder Regulations, Directives or other binding provisions or measures of a legislative nature enacted by the European Union from having legal force in the Republic. |