08 May 2014 13:14

Changes as part of reform of the legal system will soon be put into effect in order to speed up the processing of cases, Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou said.
 "For a number of months the ministry in cooperation with the Supreme Court has been examining a reform of the judicial system which is necessary to slash the lengthy delays we are facing," said Nicolaou.
According to the minister, the reform will include changes to the way petty differences are handled, the employment of additional court stenography staff and the promotion of small claims, procedures which account for 80% of the cases brought before Cypriot courts.  
Commenting on plans to introduce an e-justice system, Nicolaou said it is considered one of the most cost-effective and efficient measures for tackling judicial delays.
"A decision has been made to move forward with an e-justice system which will be 80% financed by EU programmes.
"We are currently at the stage of launching tenders before we choose an operator for the system."
Nicolaou noted that through the system, prosecution and defence lawyers will be able to file cases in court without having to physically appear before the court, thus saving time and manpower. The minister added that the new Administration Court which will be operational once the necessary amendments to the constitution have been made will allow it to take on some of the duties currently handled by the Supreme Court, namely tax and asylum cases.
 "Some people have been taking advantage of the system and benefiting from the long delays but this will change through a reform of the justice system which will be implemented without any loss of quality."  Cyprus was last year ranked number 19 on the EU scoreboard which also revealed that the time needed to resolve litigious civil and commercial cases on the island was 505 days in 2010.


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