Comparative law and justice/Cyprus

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Katielib06 17:42, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

Basic Information[edit]

Flag of Cyprus.svg

Flag of Cyprus


Country of Cyprus

Nationality- Cyporit(s)

Cyprus is an island in the Mediterranean Sea, south of Turkey[1] The island is 9,251 square kilometers, which is about .6 times the size of Connecticut. The capital city is Nicosia. The climate is temperate. The summers are dry and hot and the winters are cool. There is a plain in the center of the island with mountains to the north and south. The population is approximately 1,102,000 people. The prominent ethnic groups are Greek at 77% and Turkish at 18%, leaving 5% to other groups. The official languages are Greek and Turkish with English as in unofficial language. The main religions are Greek Orthodox (78%) and Muslim (18%, other 5%). About 73% of the population is between the ages of 15 and 64 years old. 17% of the population ranges from 0-14 years old and 9% being 65 and older. Over the total population there are roughly 1.04 males to every female. [2]

Brief History[edit]

Cyprus was a former British colony until in won is independence on August 16, 1960. After their independence was gained there was internal conflict between the Greek Cypriot (the majority) and the Turkish Cypriot (the minority) [3]. Violence came to a head in the capital city Nicosia in December in 1963. In 1964 peacekeepers were sent from the UN which forced the Turkish Cypriots to live in closed societies among the island. In 1974 the Greek Government sponsored an endeavor to seize control of Cyprus but received resistances from the Turkey. By 1983 Turkey controlled more then a third of the island and declared it the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” (which was only recognized by Turkey). In 2008 amends started between the torn nations under the UN after the new Cypriot President was elected. By May 2004 the entire island joined the EU[4].

Economic Development, Health, and Education[edit]

Economic Development[edit]

Cyprus’ GDP is around 23.18 billion dollars and has a per capita of $21,000. The main labor force is agriculture at 2.1%, industry at 18.6% and services leading at 79.3% and has an unemployment rate of 6% [5]. Key industries are tourism, food and beverage processing, cement and gypsum production, textiles, metal products, wood, paper, stone, clay products, and a few others. The countries main exports are citrus, potatoes, pharmaceuticals, cement and clothing. Key imports for the country is consumer goods, petroleum and lubricants, intermediate goods, machinery, and transport equipment [6].

Health Care[edit]

The standards of health care in Cyprus are considered high and the World Health Organization identifies the system as comparable to other developed countries. Epidemics and infectious diseases are low throughout the country and both food and water are closely monitored by Medical and Public Health Services Department. Hospitals are both run by the government and private agencies that leave healthcare cost relatively low [7] . The average life expectancy is approximately 77 years old, 75 years old for males and 80.5 years old for females. Infant morality rate is 9.57 deaths to 1.000 live births.[8]

Cyprus health care system offers both social and private insurance. The social insurance is available to anyone working in Cyprus. [9] There are different tiers offered based on the persons or families average annual income, to distinguish between the tiers two medical cards are issued, ‘A’ and ‘B’. ‘A’ provides free medical benefits which is available to unmarried individuals making less 9,000CY₤ or less, approximately 12000 USD, and families with no dependents with an average income of 18,000 CY₤ (and less,roughly 24500 USD) or if they have children the requirement is adjusted an additional 1000 CY₤ per child. The medical card ‘B’ allows for members to pay partial payments on medical services and medicine. To be eligible a person without dependents must have an average income between 9,000 and 12,000 CY₤. The ‘B’ card is also issued to families that have three children with an income between 18,000 and 22,000 CY₤. Anyone who falls outside this established income range has to pay CY₤ 7 (approximately $9.50) for consultations and roughly CY₤ 50 (around $66) per day when using in-patient hospital care. Emergency treatment is offer free of cost to everyone. Private health insurance usually used by foreign nationals visiting Cyprus but is also used by residents because it tends to be offer faster health services. Cost of private insurance varies pending on provider [10].


Cyprus has four stages of education, only one of which are mandatory. The first stage, preprimary school, is optional. Preprimary school is for students’ ages 3-5 and averages between one and two and a half years of training. These schools are provided by both public and private means. Next is six years of primary school, which is compulsory and teaches children between the ages five and a half to eleven and a half. Six years of secondary school is offered to students who wish to continue, it is free but not mandated. Students interested in higher education was not offered the opportunity on the island until early 1990’s when the University of Cyprus opened. If students choose to continue they went to universities abroad [11]. The of the total population 97.6% can read and write, 98.9% for males and 96.3% for females. Average education attainment is 14 years, both 14 years for male and females [12] .


Republic of Cyprus' Constitution:


Cyprus is a Full Presidential Republic which means the people vote for Executive branch and Legislature separately. The president has dual roles acting as chief of state and head of the government. The president is elected for a five year term through two rounds of popular voting, having more then 50% of the vote [13]. In order to be eligible for presidency one must be a citizen, reached the age of 35, never been convicted of dishonesty or moral turpitude, and not suffering for any mental disease [14]. The Legislative branch is unicameral with the House of Representatives (Vouli Antiprosopon) which is also elected by popular vote for a five year term. There are 80 seats in the House where 56 seats are saved for Greek Cypriots and 24 Turkish Cypriots [15].

Since Cyprus was formerly governed by England the legal system is common law with civil law mixed in [16]. Cyprus is governed by a constitution that was written in 1960.

Judicial Review[edit]

The Supreme Court as has the right of judicial review. The Court has the power to examine the constitutionality of any law. They also rule on any conflict of power or competence between the organs and/or the authorities of the Republic [17].

Courts and Criminal Law[edit]


In the Republic of Cyprus there is only one prison that holds both sexes and any convicted and unconvicted persons over the of age 16. The prison is in the capital city Nicosia. All prisoners have the opportunity to enlist in activities such as work programs, exercise, and educational and vocational training. Psychological services are offered to the prisoners in forms of personal visits, group meetings and meetings with family members. The prison also offers recreational sports, theater, chess games, musical performances [18]. Despite all the programs and welfare offered in prison in 2007 migrants and asylum-seeking accused the prison of poor conditions and welfare provisions. They were denied the ability to work and health and social care due to there outstanding asylum applications. One migrant has imprisoned for two and half months when sentence by the court for only six weeks[19]

Corporal Punishment was once allowed in Cyprus by the methods of caning and flogging but has sense being ruled unconstitutional [20]. The death penalty was also abolished for all crimes [21].

Legal Personnel[edit]

There are seven types of Courts in Cyprus: District Courts, Assize Courts, Family Courts, Rent Control Tribunals, Industrial Dispute Tribunals, and Military Court. All of six of these courts has the ability to appeal to the Supreme Court [22].

District Court- There are six District Courts; each represents an administrative district in Cyprus. These courts have the jurisdiction to hear all civil actions (except cases that fall under Rent Control Tribunal, Industrial Diputes Tribunal and Family Court). District Courts also hear criminal cases with offenses punishable only up to five years. Each case is ruled over by a single judge [23].

Assize Courts- There are four Assizes Courts. Assizes Courts have unlimited jurisdiction to hear any criminal case. The Courts, in practice, usually only hear case with punishments exceeding five years. All arraignments are presided over by three judges, there are no juries. Decision are won by majority[24]. The judges are appointed by the Supreme Court. The Assize judges serve based on a rotation. A unique fact about these courts is that both accused and the prosecution can appeal to the Supreme Court to fight against the conviction/acquittal or the imposed sentence. [25].

Family Court- There are three Family Courts in session. These courts preside over petitions for divorce, custody rights, and other spousal disputes. Cases are again heard by a single judge except for divorce proceedings where three judges preside. In cases where the parties are vested in religious groups cases maybe heard in Family Court for Religious Groups [26].

Rent Control Tribunals- There are three Rent Control Courts in the Republic of Cyprus. These courts preside over issues of recovery of rent controlled property, cost of fair rent, and other related matters. The court is made up of a President, who belongs to the Judiciary, and two lay members. The lay members are nominated by the tenants and landlords associations and are uses merely for consultative purposes[27].

Industrial Disputes Court- There are three courts that have the jurisdiction to hear matters of the workplace, cases such as compensation, discrimination, harassment, etc. The court is organized like Rent Control Courts with a President, a member of the Judiciary, and two lay members, appointed by the employers' and employees' unions again for a consultative purpose [28].

Military Court- This court has jurisdiction over offenses that are committed by military personnel, under the Criminal Code, the Military Criminal Code or any other law. The court is made up of one President, a judge that belongs to the Judicial Service of the Republic, and two army officers, who are appointed by the Supreme Court used as consultants. If the offender is a Colonel or higher in rank the court is then composed three judges, like the Assize Courts[29].

Supreme Court- The Supreme Court is the highest of all courts. It is composed of thirteen judges, one of which is the President. It has appellate jurisdictions which allow the court to hear cases appealed from lower courts. Appeals are heard by a panel of three judges which can decide if the decision should be upheld, vary or set aside. The court may even order a re-trial. The court also has the power to hear grievances of Administrative decisions. This jurisdiction allows the court to review complaints filed against a decision, act or omission of any person, organ or authority that exercises executive power or administrator authority. Supreme Court also hears cases of prerogative Writs of Habeas Corpus, Mandamus, Certiorari, Quo Warranto and Prohibition. The Supreme Court hears admiralty case in the first instance and on appeal. In first instance the cases is heard by a single judge and on appeal the case is heard by a full bench. Exclusive jurisdiction is given to the Supreme Court to hear cases of electoral petitions which concern the interpretation and application of electoral laws[30].

Lawyers- Since Cyprus was former colonized by England the country follows the same guidelines [31]. Lawyers must posses a law degree, pass the bar or LPC, and obtain a training contract[32].

Protected by Article 12 in the Cyprus constitution persons are considered not guilty until proven otherwise. Also granted by this article is protection from excessive punishment beyond what the law states at the time of the crime and double jeopardy [33].

Law Enforcement[edit]

Cyprus follows the civil police model because the military is separated from the everyday tasks of cilivian law enforcement. At the top of the law enforcement hierarchy the Chief of Police holds the highest position followed by the Deputy Chief of Police. The Chief of Police is in charge of the management of the entire Police Force throughout the Republic [34] . Next in line are four assistant chiefs of police. Each assistant chief controls four different departments: Training, Administration, Support, and Operations. Cyprus has seven police departments throughout the nation that employ over 4000 police officers [35].

Within the Police Force there are also four units: Cyprus Police Academy, Mobile Immediate Action Unit, Presidential Guard, and Port and Marine Police. The Cyprus Police Academy is in charge of the academic and professional training of all police officers. They preside over three schools is which the officers train as officers, sergeants and constables, and foreign languages [36]. The Mobile Immediate Action Unit is issued to respond to high risk incidents, organized acts of violence, natural disasters, and terrorist activities. The unit is comprised of: training squad, patrol, special antiterrorist squad, security squad, administration squad, communication centre, research office, special training section, and poaching prevention squad [37]. The Presidential Guard Unit's mission is the safety and security of the President of Republic of Cyprus and the family members. The Port and Marine Police patrol and watch the waters that surround the island. The unit is made up of: Security, Operations and Training Office, Coastal Radar System, Port and Marine Stations, and Mechanical Support [38].

In order to become apart of the police force one must be a citizen, be between the ages of 18 and 28 years old (exceptions given to those with degrees or a diploma from a University), be in good health, meet height requirement, have high school diploma, speak Greek and another foreign language, pass written exam and other physical tests. All police officers are trained at the Academy .

Cyprus incorporated community policing in 2003 as a pilot bases in select districts. Due to positive strides this policy is now continued throughout the rest of the Republic’s Police Departments [39] . Corruption in Cyprus is seen as very low it scores 6.3 out of 10, 10 being very clean and 0 being highly corrupt [40]. Although in 2007 plain-clothed cops were videotaped "brutally attacking" two men that were handcuffed and unarmed. The officers are facing a number of charges, one of them being torture [41].

Cyprus' military has a few different branches, Greek Cypriot National Guard and Northern Cyprus: Turkish Cypriot Security Force. The Greek Cypriot National Guard has both naval and air elements. There is a compulsory military service for all males ages 18-50 for 25 months. Voluntary age is 17 years old and women may volunteer for a 3 year term[42].

Crime Rates and Public Opinion[edit]

Cyprus’ crime rate is approximately 7.894 per 1,000 residents [43]. From the 2006 report of Cyprus’ crime statistics property crimes are the most typical. Burglaries were the highest crime at reported at 3,068. Second highest reported crime was car theft at 1784.

Cyprus has a very low murder rate. In 2006 there were 14 reported intentional and 4 non-intentional homicides, although of the 29 suspects arrested (intentional homicide only) only 2 were prosecuted and both were convicted [44]. According to statistics reported in 2006 there were 104 major assaults, 29 rapes, 80 robberies, 1607 thefts, 173 frauds, 1 embezzlement, and 654 drug offenses. Some common data reporting problems that may occur is data entry errors, false reports, and non-reporting. This data is based on information the country submits to the UN, which may lead to some missing data. Obtaining data from other reliable sources proved to be difficult such as Cyprus’ own police records.

Public opinion has a high approval rating of their police and justice system. Public opinion as shown that almost 65% of the people have confidence in the police[45]. Surveys have also showed that the people have almost 70% confidence in the justice system.


Family Law[edit]

With Cyprus only receiving their independence in 1960 citizenship has become a little bit of a complicate issue. All people born after August 16, 1960 are citizens of Cyprus. If born before August 16, 1960 people are considered citizens if they were born in United Kingdom or its' colonies but lived in Cyprus five years before the country received its independence. If a child is born in wedlock out of the country the child will be given citizenship if the father is a citizen. Mothers can pass on their citizenship if the fathers nationality is unknown or stateless. The Republic of Cyprus does allow dual citizenships but one can lose it too. One can lose their citizenship both voluntarily, with stipulations, and involuntarily, being disloyal to the Country, etc. [46].

Cyprus has signed the Convention of Rights of the Child which has provided child with some rights. In the judicial system the child is asked when possible his/hers view and can be heard in cases effecting the minor's welfare. The law has recognized that the child has an autonomous personality but does not states an age of maturity, rather it is a determination made by the judge. If the child is in danger the courts may take the child out of the home and place them in a Guardian's custody or Social Welfare Services [47].

In order to get married in Cyprus one has to be age 21 or have consent from a parent or guardian. One must apply for marriage in person with the Marriage Officer. The Marriage Officer issues a certificate between the timeframe of 15 days to 3 months, afterwards the couple can get married either by a minister or by the Marriage Officer. There are ways to speed up the marriage process by receiving a specialized license, which only takes three days.Although if the couple fails to marry within three months of giving notice the notice is than void. Cyprus acknowledges any union recognized by the church [48].

1 in 5 marriages end in divorce in Cyprus. The process of divorce is described as complicated due to the fact that different Ethnicities live in the country and due to recent changes laws in 2003. If married after 2003 grounds to dissolve one's marriage are serious breakdown in martial relationship, being separated for four years, change of sex, desertion, attempt on petitioner's life, death of a spouse, infidelity, immoral behavior (such a wife staying away overnight from the home without husband's permission), violence between spouses, insanity that lasts for more than three years, conviction leading to a prison sentence for seven years or more, disappearance, inability to have sex, change of religion or attempting to convert spouse or children, refusal to have children. If married before 2003 and members of the Greek Orthodox church or married abroad ground to dissolve a marriage are five years of continual separation, serious breakdown in relationship, infidelity, immoral behavior, violence between spouses, insanity that lasts for more than three years, conviction leading to a prison sentence for seven years or more, disappearance, inability to have sex, change of religion or attempting to convert spouse or children, refusal to have children. To start divorce proceeding despite when the people was married the petitioner must go to the competent clerk and notify them of their intent. The competent clerk is by law required to help reconcile the marriage but in practice this usually does not happen. Before the 1990's the divorces were handled by the ecclesiastical courts but were than transferred into the Family Law court system. This has caused a riff between church and state creating a complex and confusing divorce system. Applicants must now receive divorce in both court system in order for it to recognized by both the state and the church [49].

Inheritance is also another complicated system in Cyprus. The key factors of needed a will depends on whether the person is domicile of Cyprus and/or the property is removable from the country. If the person is a domicile of the country then rules of succession will govern the estate. If one is not a domicile but has unremovable property then the rule of succession only apply to the unremovable property. In Cyprus it is only possible to create a will if the person (or person's father) was born in the UK or commonwealth countries. People who are not born in such areas can still make a will but it is limited in it's effectiveness. If there is no will drawn than the estate is passed according to the "forced heirship" rule, which mean the estate is divided among surviving relatives [50].

Social Inequality[edit]

Inequality in Cyprus is considered minimal. Cyprus is ranked as the 15th country in gender equality and has a Gender Inequality Index of .284. The GII is formulated from loss of achievements from three dimensions (reproductive health, empowerment, and the labor market) based on gender. Cyprus also has a modest .810 as their Human Development Index and is ranked 35th. The HDI is created by measuring the average achievement of the countries citizens based having a long and healthy life, education, and their standard of living [51].

Human Rights[edit]

Human Rights are protect under the countries constitution and other various international compacts. Within the constitution is a list of fundamental rights. Some articles include protection such as Article 7 a "right to life and corporal integrity", Article 8 prohibits torture and slavery, Article 9 right to decent existence and social security, Article 10 outlaws slavery, Article 11 protects liberty and security,... Article 14 protects citizens from exile, etc. There are 17 articles that protect the citizens fundamental written into the constitution[52].

Due to Cyprus' recent independence and civil war problems that still Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots have been negotiating topics such as property and migration, although minority and women's rights have not been discussed [53]. Cyprus still has missing people from the civil battles that occurred years ago. Since 2004, 466 remains were exhumed and 110 were identified and returned to their families [54].

Sexual exploitation is a main concern of the Republic of Cyprus. Cyprus has invoked a few methods trying to stop sexual exploitation. The UN Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights recently met and discussed trafficking women. In 2008, a year before the UN meeting, Cyprus placed a ban on vistas for artists and dancers in an effort to slow and stop the human trafficking fro sexual exploitation, [55].

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