Supreme Court's per curiam opinion: The Supreme Court of Cyprus reaffirms the principle of the separation of powers as fundamental to the constitution and the working of the State.
The Cypriot legal and judicial system is currently undergoing one of its greatest reforms in the recent years, with the introduction of new civil procedural rules, laws, regulations and possible structural changes to the Court system itself. The aforementioned changes were deemed necessary in order to modernise the Court System of Cyprus and, inter alia, to integrate and to use the advantages brought about by modern technology and also to bring the Cypriot Courts vis-à-vis with the rise of the digital age.
The abovementioned reform will affect and bring fundamental changes not only to the Courts, the Judges, and the legal professionals, but also to various other stakeholders as well. Thus, many groups, including the House of Representatives (the Cypriot Parliament), are observing and trying to become involved to the said reform.
On that matter, on the 11th of October 2021, the Plenary Session of the Supreme Court unanimously ruled on its per curiam Opinion that the Law passed by the House of Representatives on the 4th of February 2021, titled "The Law (Amending) on Court of 2021", was unconstitutional.1
The above Law specifically provided for the parallel filing of all court documents (including pleadings, affidavits, exhibits, etc.) in printed physical and electronic digital forms at the Court Registrars.2
Following the passing of the Law, the President of the Republic, based on the powers given to him by Article 140 of the Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus,3 referenced the Law to the Supreme Court to give its Opinion as to the constitutionality of the Law passed by the Parliament, which affected the operations and workings of the Judiciary.
In its Opinion, the Supreme Court ruled that the law ""The Law (Amending) on Court of 2021" is contrary and inconsistent with Articles 61, 80.2, 163 and 179 of the Constitution4 and with the principle of the Separation of Powers, a principle which derives from the Constitution itself.
Specifically, the Supreme Court ruled that the Law:
- Constitutes an interference with the judicial power of the Supreme Court by another Power (the Legislative Power),
- Is contrary to the provisions of the Constitution, and
- Violates the Constitution-derived Principle of the Separation of Powers, which ensures the functional independence of each of the three Powers (executive, legislative and judiciary).
This important ruling by the Supreme Court reaffirms the principle of the separation of powers as fundamental to the constitution and the workings of the Cypriot State. Finally, and more importantly, it is also a showcase by the Judiciary to both the Citizens of the Republic of Cyprus and to any other foreign physical person, legal entity or governmental body which looks to them in order to receive justice, that the Cypriot Courts are firmly independent and that the integrity and independence of the Courts will be defended and protected, no matter who tries to violate it.
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