Regulation (EC) No 1393/2007 provides a framework for service of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil or commercial matters between EU Member States. The Supreme Court of Cyprus recently examined this Regulation in a case before it and explained the correct approach that the District Court should have taken in order to act in accordance with the provisions and spirit of the Regulation which has primacy over Cypriot national law1.
The case concerned a Claimant's application to the Supreme Court for a Certiorari order against a decision of the District Court of Pafos. The latter Court refused that a valid and proper service of the relevant judicial documents had been effected by the Claimant to the Defendant's address in the United Kingdom.
The District Court applied the standard domestic law concerning service and found that the service in question had not been effected personally to the Defendant but to a person who was neither relative nor employer of the Defendant. Therefore, according to the District Court, the said service was not valid even though it was done in accordance with Regulation 1393/2007.
The Supreme Court stated that the said Regulation aims for efficiency and speed in judicial procedures in civil matters which require that judicial and extrajudicial documents be transmitted directly and rapidly between the Member States. It further stated that any other agreement made between the Member States is valid so long as it is compatible with the said Regulation.
The Supreme Court moreover explained that, provided no other special method is requested by the applicant, service under the Regulation takes place in accordance with the law of the Member State where service is to be effected.
In the particular case, an official certificate confirming that service was effected according to the law of the United Kingdom was provided. For this reason, the Supreme Court ruled that the decision of the District Court to deny that the said service was valid was an action against the provisions and spirit of the Regulation which has primacy over Cypriot national law. It therefore provided the Claimant with a Certiorari order annulling the decision of the District Court.
The service of a Claim is embedded at the inception of every litigation dispute. When a Claimant pursues service under the framework of the said Regulation, he has the option to request that the said service takes place in accordance with the law of the Member State where service is to be effected. Thereon, a Cypriot Court need no longer examine domestic law to see whether the service achieved was valid. It rather has to ensure that the Claimant presented as evidence an official certificate of service confirming that it was effected in accordance with the law of the member state addressed. If that certificate of service is presented then the court must accept that a proper and valid service was achieved and accordingly continue with the relevant procedures to issue, where proper, a decision against the Defendant.
1 In the matter of Alpha Bank Cyprus Ltd, Certiorari Application 193/2014, 26 March 2015
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