Beyond Black Swan

Publisher: Patrikios Pavlou & Associates LLC

Since the issue of the Black Swan Judgment[1], most legal practitioners dealing with international asset recovery in Cyprus, hoped that the jurisdiction recognised by the BVI Courts to issue interim orders and in particular freezing injunctions in cases where there were assets within the jurisdiction of the BVI, would eventually “fly” over to Cyprus.  The hope was that such power would be recognized/established via case Law.  After all, there was no reason in principle to assume that the intention of the Cyprus legislator was to provide a «safe haven» for debt dodgers and render «immune» any party who chose to have assets in Cyprus, against claims, interim measures or execution. More than a few Lawyers (including our Firm) did attempt to convince First Instance Judges that it was time for Cyprus Courts to follow suit, albeit with mixed results.

These expectations came to a grinding halt, when the judgement in Taruta[2] was delivered by the Supreme Court. In Taruta, where recognition, registration and enforcement of a foreign judgment was sought by a foreign claimant against a foreign defendant, it was made clear that the mere existence of assets in Cyprus, was not enough to confer jurisdiction to the Cypriot Courts, as the territorial jurisdiction of the Court could only be established if one of the instances of Article 21 of the Courts of Justice Law (N.14/60) was proved.  None of such instances existed, as neither of the parties resided in Cyprus and there was no evidence/allegation that the cause of action arose in Cyprus and/or that the Defendant carried business in Cyprus.

This was a disappointing outcome, as it meant that Cyprus Courts could not exercise a power conferred to them by statute or otherwise, simply because the Law did not provide before which of the District Courts a claim could be promoted, and it prompted many to seek a different path towards change, through the modification of the relevant statutory provisions.

The recent radical legislative amendments of Αrticles 21 and of 32 of the Cyprus Courts Law of 1960 (Law 14/60) that follow the equally radical changes introduced by Article 25 of the New Civil Procedure Rules, have in fact given unprecedented powers to the Cypriot Courts. They now have jurisdiction to issue any type of interim order, where there are assets in Cyprus, even if none of the parties is domiciled in Cyprus and they can do so, outside the framework of an action, even before an action is filed (stand-alone injunctions) and also when an order is sought with regard to any action or arbitration filed or to be filed abroad.  Even if no assets exist in Cyprus, such injunctions may be issued in all instances where a link to Cyprus is proven. In addition, the territorial jurisdiction «problem» has been in practice abolished, as in all cases where no other provision determines otherwise, a claimant may pursue a remedy that the Cyprus Courts have jurisdiction to entertain (under statute, common law, etc.), by promoting it before the District Court of Nicosia.

It can be argued, based on some relevant English Case Law, that the jurisdiction to issue Interim Orders exists whenever a Claimant can show that due to some connection to Cyprus, there is some benefit to be gained for the Claimant by the issue of the order sought, either in the present or in the foreseeable future. Evidently, this disjunctive provision/requirement of a link to Cyprus is much wider and extends substantially the limits of the Cypriot Courts’ jurisdiction to grant interim orders.

It seems that not only has the Black Swan flοwn over to Cyprus following the recent, much-anticipated legislative amendments expanding the territorial jurisdiction of the Cyprus Courts in terms of granting final and interim reliefs, but currently, the Cyprus Courts have been armed with powers and in consequence the Cyprus based legal practitioners and their Clients have been given tools, that go well beyond the Black Swan jurisdiction.

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt

Start typing and press Enter to search