Following Cyprus's increasing role as an international dispute resolution center, a new Commercial Court is to be established to handle high-value commercial disputes litigated in Cyprus. In the wake of a long consultation with various stakeholders, the legislation establishing the new Commercial Court was approved in Parliament on 12 May 2022. The Commercial Court is expected to start operations in 2023.
The Parliament also voted for Cyprus's 16th amendment of its Constitution to allow proceedings pending before the Commercial Court to be conducted in English. This is a welcome development that will relieve the district courts (ie, the generic courts) from handling high-value complex commercial disputes and will enable Commercial Court judges to advance their specialty in resolving such disputes. This article outlines the most important provisions of the newly enacted law.
The Commercial Court will hear high-value commercial claims when the value of the claim exceeds ?2 million, including disputes relating to, among other things:
- business contracts;
- the provision of services;
- the operation of capital markets;
- commercial agency; and
- disputes between regulated entities.
The Commercial Court will also have jurisdiction to try all cases relating to arbitration, competition and intellectual property, irrespective of the value of the claim. The Commercial Court will have jurisdiction over cases when:
- the cause of action occurred wholly or in part in Cyprus;
- the defendant resides or conducts business in Cyprus;
- the parties agree in writing to confer jurisdiction on the Commercial Court; or
- the jurisdiction of the Court is otherwise established by virtue of EU law or international law.
Proceedings in English
Upon the application of one or both parties, the Commercial Court may allow proceedings to be filed and to take place in English, in which case the Court's judgment will also be issued in English.
Like other Cyprus courts, the Commercial Court will have the power to issue worldwide interim orders, which may be recognised globally through the wide network of bilateral and multilateral recognition treaties that Cyprus enjoys.
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.