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JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE – CYPRUS RANKS 19TH IN EU

Cyprus required 505 days to resolve litigious civil and commercial cases in 2010, based on the EU Justice Scoreboard released in March by the European Commission. The EU Justice Scoreboard serves as an information tool that presents objective, reliable and comparable data on the justice systems in the member states.

Cyprus registered the second highest rate Europe-wide besides Malta (800 days required), compared to Lithuania, with 50 days registered, and Austria and the Czech Republic, with 110.

As for the rate of judges participating in continuous training activities in EU Law, Cyprus ranked at 25% among 28 member states, compared with the highest in Ireland (135%), and the lowest in the Czech Republic of 5%.

Overall, Cyprus ranks 19th in the EU and 47th amongst 184 countries regarding perceived judicial independence.

The 2014 EU Justice Scoreboard collects data mainly provided by the Council of Europe Commission for the Evaluation of the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ). The 2014 Scoreboard focuses on litigious civil and commercial cases as well as administrative cases. Indicators taken into consideration, include:

  • Efficiency of justice systems: the length of proceedings, the clearance rate and the number of pending cases;
  • Quality: the compulsory training of judges, monitoring and evaluation of court activities, the budget and human resources allocated to courts and the availability of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and of alternative dispute resolution methods (ADR);
  • Perceived independence of the justice system and how national justice systems are organised to protect judicial independence, e.g. legal safeguards against the transfer or dismissal of judges.

The judicial system in Cyprus is undergoing a subtle improvement with an active effort to divert small consumer claims out of the courtrooms and in the way of alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation. This move is expected to free court time, considerably.

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