The Republic of Cyprus is a constitutional democracy based on the principles of legality and independence, the existence of independence of the judiciary and respect for human rights.
The constitutional structure of Cyprus is characterized by the principle of strict separation of the three powers which are Executive, Legislative and Judicial, which safeguard the relationship of the citizen with the state.
Laws applicable to the Republic:
- The Constitution is the supreme law which has increased power over any other law
- Laws that were in force under Article 188 of the Constitution before independence, in accordance with the conditions set forth therein, unless otherwise provided by law applicable or enforceable under the Constitution
- Legislation passed by the House of Representatives. International Conventions, Treaties and Agreements which have been ratified by Law and published in the Official Gazette of the Republic, have increased power over any domestic law provided that they are equally applicable by the counterparty
- Common law and the principles of equity unless otherwise provided by law applicable or enforceable under the Constitution
- Community law
European Union law
Since 1/5/2004, Cyprus has been a full and equal member of the European Union and is subject to the European Union law, which is a legal order that creates rights and obligations for both the EU institutions and its member states as well as for its citizens. According to the case law of the European Court, European Union law takes precedence over national law and national constitution. Cyprus has adapted and harmonized the Cypriot law with the European Union Law by adopting a number of new laws and simultaneously repealing or amending certain provisions of the existing law, including the provisions of the Constitution.
Pursuant to Article 169 of the Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus, any treaty or agreement with another state or international organization concluded by a decision of the Council of Ministers, when ratified by laws passed by the House of Representatives, shall form part of the legal order of the Republic. Such conventions, agreements and treaties, once ratified by law and published in the Official Gazette of the Republic, are an integral part of domestic law.
The Primary Legislation is passed by the House of Representatives. The right to put forward proposals belongs to the Members of Parliament, and all submitted proposals are, firstly, referred to the responsible committee for discussion and then to the plenary. The laws and decisions of the House of Representatives are adopted by the majority of the voting Members, subject to the commitments and requirements of the Constitution, and enter into force on the day of their publication in the Official Gazette of the Republic or on such date as specified. Any dispute regarding their interpretation and constitutionality may be settled directly by the Supreme Court.
Although the legislative function in Cyprus belongs to the Legislative power and the principle of the separation of powers is explicitly recognized in the Constitution of the Republic, there are acts of legislative content which can be adopted by the Executive power, which lays down additional rules necessary for the implementation and enforcement of a the law and is called regulatory power permitted to regulate particular matters or matters of local interest or of a technical or detailed nature.
The Judicial Power is established by the Constitution and relevant laws as one of the three separate powers of the State. It is a self-governing and autonomous body, equal to the other two powers of the State.
The independence of the judiciary includes:
(a) Exercising jurisdiction over all matters which fall naturally within the sphere of the judiciary;
(b) The autonomy of the judiciary in issuing procedural rules governing the exercise of its jurisdiction; and
(c) Independence of judges from the two other powers of the State, ie. Executive and Legislative.
The full and constitutionally guaranteed independence of the judiciary in Cyprus provides the guarantees for a fair and effective enforcement of justice. The mechanisms for the enforcement of justice are equally available to every person in the Republic. By law, the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty, no one can be tried twice for the same offense, and the penalty imposed must not be disproportionate to the seriousness of the offense committed.
Furthermore, the Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus guarantees to every individual, both in criminal and civil proceedings, various rights, such as the right to defense either in person or through a lawyer, the right of free legal assistance, the right to bring witnesses, the right to the provision of an interpreter in the case of a foreigner, etc.
Register of Lawyers practicing the profession in Cyprus:
Any lawyer practicing the profession shall be registered in the “Register of Lawyers practicing the profession” kept by the Council of the Cyprus Bar Association.
To be registered as a lawyer in Cyprus a natural person must be at least 21 years old, citizen or resident of the Republic, of good character and appropriate to be admitted as a lawyer in Cyprus by the Disciplinary Council, hold a law degree, obtained in a manner other than correspondence, from a University recognized by the Law Council and complete a 12 months practice at a law firm that is practising for at least five years. The above being satisfied, written examinations are held under the supervision and direction of the Legal Council in Greek language.
Once the Lawyer has received a certificate from the Legal Council, he can register himself in the Bar Registry. It is required that a lawyer practicing the profession in Cyprus should state that his main profession is practicing law and that he is ready to pursue this profession in a law firm, and that he has settled all his financial pending issues with the Local Bar and Lawyers’ Pension Fund and be registered with the Social Insurance Fund.
There is not any maximum age limit on the registration of lawyers in Cyprus, even if the new lawyer is retired from any other source. It should be noted that the practicing of law profession before the Cypriot Courts requires knowledge of one of the official language of the Republic which are Greek and Turkish.
You may consider appointing a lawyer in Cyprus for services such as, but not limited to:
a) Appearance before any court on behalf of any person
b) Preparation or study of any pleadings on behalf of the client
c) Registration of trademarks or patents and appearance before any administrative authority
d) Drafting or amendments of Memorandum & Articles of Association, reports, statements, declarations, and any other legal documents needed for the registration or dissolution of a legal entity.
e) Registration of documents relating to the establishment, transfer, modification or abolition of any rights or interest and the declaration of the competent authority for this purpose
f) A legal opinion on any legal matter submitted to the lawyer
g) The registration or study of a document which has been registered before the court for the purpose of administration