Litigation is the central method through which disputes are resolved. The aim of this article is to set out a salient feature of the Civil Procedure Rules, the Summary Judgement, through which a Claimant can avoid proving his case at trial, skip the lengthy full trial and achieve a quick adjudication of his claim.
The central aim of the Summary Judgement process is to speed up the resolution of disputes, in an attempt to resolve the typically long progress of the full trial of a normal civil case. Cyprus Courts have a wide discretion to grant a variety of interim applications, including, among others, applications for Summary Judgement. The Claimant, with an Application for Summary Judgement, requests the Court to issue a Summary Judgement without permitting the Defendant to be heard on the basis that his defence has no real prospect of success and no "bona fide" defence exists.
Summary Judgment proceedings are governed by Order 18 of the Civil Procedure Rules and it outlines specific conditions that need to be met in this respect.
- Firstly, the writ of summons must be specially endorsed.
- Secondly, the Defendant must file a notice of appearance.
- Finally, the affidavit which has to accompany the application must be made by an individual who can positively swear the facts giving rise to the Claimant's claim and can verify the Claimant's cause of action as well as the remedy.
It is important to note that the Affiant must give a clear statement that to the best of his knowledge and belief the Defendant has no real defence. Further, the Claimant's claim on the application must be precise and the Court must be satisfied that the Defendant has no real defence to the claim.
After the filing of the application, the Defendant has a short period to come forward proving whether he retains reasonable facts which are essential to ruling a fair outcome. In particular, the burden of proof is transferred to the Defendant as to demonstrate whether he has a bona fide defence and a triable issue to be argued before the Court. As a general principle, even if there is a fair probability that the Defendant has a bona fide defence, he must be permitted to defend. Yet, any general and vague allegations will not be considered sufficient as to have the Claimant's application dropped. In the Cypriot case of CY.E.M.S. Co Limited v The Central Co-Operative Industries Co. Ltd. (1982) 1 CLR 897 it was held that the aim of the Summary Judgement is to grant a judgement to a Claimant without trial if his claim can be proven clearly and the Defendant fails to raise an issue against the Claimant's claim. Reference was also made to the case of Anglo-Italian Bank v. Wells (and Davies), 38 L.T. 197 where M.R. Jessel has described the Summary Judgement to be "a most useful order" that "it is intended to prevent a man, clearly entitled to money, from being delayed where there is no fairly arguable defence to be brought forward".
In conclusion, the Summary Judgement is a fast-track procedure that can be used by a Claimant seeking the quick adjudication of his claim. Such application will succeed when it is clear on the facts of the case and the evidence, that the Defendant has no real defence and has merely entered an appearance so as to delay the process. It is time-efficient and the long procedure of the full trial can thus be avoided.
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.