After three years of debate, the Plenary of the Parliament voted in favour of a legislation to amend the Constitution of Cyprus, which aims to modernize the structure and operation of the Cypriot courts. The Seventeenth Amendment of the Constitution of 2022 was passed with 51 votes in favour and only one MP voting against it.
This amendment allows the re-operation of the two Supreme Courts which are included in the Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus, namely the Supreme Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court and grants additional jurisdiction of third degree to both courts. Moreover, this amended legislation establishes a Court of Appeal for the adjudication of appeals, which will be comprised by 16 judges and a Judicial Advisory Council which will recommend candidate judges to be appointed in the Supreme Courts. The synthesis of the Supreme Judicial Council is being enriched with the addition of non-judicial members like the Attorney General, the President of the Cyprus Bar Association and two renowned lawyers. The establishment of the Supreme Constitutional Court provides the ability of appeal for candidate judges who have not been promoted or appointed.
In a Twitter post, the President of the Republic of Cyprus stated that this amendment is “historical for the Constitution of Cyprus”. He also expressed his appreciation by congratulating the Ministers who drafted and submitted the bill, the Chairman and Members of the Committee for Legal Affairs of the Parliament and every other person who contributed to the achievement of this amendment.
Cyprus has scored very low in the various benchmarks for effectiveness and speed of the justice system. The length of proceedings has been a primary factor for this scoring and has been mentioned in numerous Semester Reports of the EU for Cyprus. This amendment, along with the anticipated reform of the Civil Procedure Rules, intends to improve the application of the Rule of Law in the Republic and to enhance its’ attractiveness as a commercial jurisdiction.