Govern­ment seeks to re­duce de­lays in com­mer­cial ar­bi­tra­tion dis­putes

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - CYPRUS -

In an ef­fort to speed up fi­nan­cial dis­putes, the govern­ment has de­cided to sup­port the creation of a com­mer­cial ar­bi­tra­tion court to set­tle claims in­volv­ing mil­lions.

This ar­bi­tra­tion court will pre­side over civil cases, of a com­mer­cial na­ture, in which one side is de­mand­ing more than EUR 2 mln in dam­ages.

The new court will be es­tab­lished once a bill pre­pared by the Jus­tice Min­istry is passed by par­lia­ment.

It aims to strengthen Cyprus’ com­pet­i­tive­ness as a cen­tre for the pro­vi­sion of qual­ity ser­vices and at­tract­ing for­eign in­vest­ment.

The move was wel­comed com­mu­nity.

Cyprus Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try (CCCI) said the es­tab­lish­ment of the Court will also help at­tract for­eign in­vest­ment by en­hanc­ing the coun­try’s long-term eco­nomic growth.

“Faster de­liv­ery of jus­tice and the fight against cor­rup­tion are ma­jor is­sues for the busi­ness world as they hin­der healthy busi­ness and dis­cour­age for­eign in­vestors,” said CCCI.

Em­ploy­ers fed­er­a­tion (OEB) of­fi­cial Antonis Fran­goudis told the Fi­nan­cial Mir­ror that Cyprus is pay­ing a price for re­ports and in­dices pre­pared by in­ter­na­tional bod­ies re­veal­ing on the one hand the high level of cor­rup­tion and on the other our low per­for­mance in gov­er­nance.

“Cur­rently there is no such ar­bi­tra­tion court, and such cases take up to 10 years to be re­solved in civil courts. One can un­der­stand that such de­lays in de­liv­er­ing jus­tice is a turn off for for­eign in­vestors,” said Fran­goudis.

This was also noted in a com­pet­i­tive­ness car­ried out by the World Trade Fo­rum.

Cyprus needs to see the creation of a se­ries of spe­cial­ist courts which would help to speed up the process of de­liv­er­ing jus­tice and in do­ing so in­crease the coun­try’s cred­i­bil­ity in the eyes of for­eign in­vestors.

“OEB would like to see more spe­cialised courts with trained stuff which would not only speed up cases in­volv­ing tech­nol­ogy, but also pro­vide a fairer out­come,” said Fran­goudis.

Asked to com­ment on the pos­si­ble cost such a trans­for­ma­tion of the jus­tice sys­tem will have on govern­ment cof­fers, Fran­goudis said that such a de­vel­op­ment would out­weigh costs by more than five times as this would mean an up­grade of Cyprus in the eyes of in­vestors and will at­tract more in­come.

Once the bill is ap­proved two com­mer­cial ar­bi­tra­tion courts, one in Ni­cosia and one in Li­mas­sol, will be op­er­a­tional to han­dle 300 cases a year.

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