Rule of Law in Cyprus

Justice

Effective justice systems are essential for upholding the rule of law. Independence, quality and efficiency are the defined parameters of an effective justice system, whatever the model of the national legal system and tradition in which it is anchored. Whilst the organisation of justice in the Member States falls within the competence of the Member States, when they are exercising that competence, Member States must ensure that their national justice systems provide for effective judicial protection. The independence of national courts is fundamental to ensuring such judicial protection. National courts ensure that the rights and obligations provided under EU law are enforced effectively. As re-affirmed by the European Court of Justice, the very existence of effective judicial review to ensure compliance with EU law is of the essence for the rule of law. Effective justice systems are also the basis for mutual trust, which is the bedrock of the common area of freedom, justice and security, an investment friendly environment, the sustainability of long-term growth and the protection of EU financial interests. The European Court of Justice has further clarified the requirements stemming from EU law regarding judicial independence. The case-law of the European Court of Human Rights also provides for key standards to be respected to safeguard judicial independence.

Independence

green
Structural changes with regard to the organisation of Courts and the appointment of judges are under discussion.
View source | Our evaluation: green
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The level of perceived judicial independence is average.
View source | Our evaluation: yellow
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The appointment of the judges is subject to new detailed criteria.
View source | Our evaluation: green
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A reform of the Law Office of the Republic is ongoing.
View source | Our evaluation: green
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Quality

yellow
The justice system suffers from a nearly complete lack of digitalisation.
View source | Our evaluation: red
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A law establishing a (lifelong) training school for judges has been adopted.
View source | Our evaluation: green
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Efficiency

yellow
The justice system is experiencing serious efficiency challenges.
View source | Our evaluation: red
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An action plan to address these efficiency challenges has been adopted and its implementation is ongoing, albeit with some delay.
View source | Our evaluation: yellow
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The reforms provide for the establishment of new courts.
View source | Our evaluation: green
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The clearance of backlogs of delayed cases, which have accumulated in the courts, is a pressing task in the reform process.
View source | Our evaluation: green
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The review of the Civil Procedure Rule, which was expected to be completed by June 2020, is delayed until October this year.
View source | Our evaluation: yellow
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Anti-corruption

The fight against corruption is essential for maintaining the rule of law. Corruption undermines the functioning of the state and of public authorities at all levels and is a key enabler of organised crime 48 . Effective anti-corruption frameworks, transparency and integrity in the exercise of state power can strengthen legal systems and trust in public authorities. Fighting corruption needs to be based on evidence about its prevalence and form in a given country, the conditions that enable corruption and the legal, institutional and other incentives that can be used to prevent, detect and sanction corruption.

Institutional Framework

yellow
Cyprus scores 58/100 in the 2019 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index and was ranked 12th in the EU and 41st globally.
View source | Our evaluation: red
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The criminal anti-corruption legislation is broadly in place.
View source | Our evaluation: green
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Prevention

red
The implementation of the National Action plan against Corruption is ongoing.
View source | Our evaluation: yellow
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Whistle-blower protection is not yet provided for by law.
View source | Our evaluation: red
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Lobbying is not regulated.
View source | Our evaluation: red
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Conflicts of interests need attention.
View source | Our evaluation: yellow
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Repressive measures

green
The competences to prevent, investigate and prosecute corruption are shared among several authorities.
View source | Our evaluation: green
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Asset disclosure rules are in place and sanctions for non-compliance are envisaged.
View source | Our evaluation: green
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Media Freedom

All Member States have legal frameworks in place to protect media freedom and pluralism and EU citizens broadly enjoy high standards of media freedom and pluralism. Freedom of expression, media freedom and pluralism and the right of access to information are generally enshrined in the Constitution or in secondary law. Media pluralism and media freedom are key enablers for the rule of law, democratic accountability and the fight against corruption. The murders of journalists who were investigating high-level corruption and organised crime allegations have been a wake-up call reminding Member States of the obligation to guarantee an enabling environment for journalists, protect their safety and pro-actively promote media freedom and media pluralism.

Regulatory authorities

green
The independence of the regulator for audio-visual media services, the Cyprus Radio-Television Authority, is legally guaranteed.
View source | Our evaluation: green
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This regulatory system establishes a legally independent authority with clearly defined powers and the authority is endowed with adequate financial resources.
View source | Our evaluation: green
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Cyprus has an independent press council, the Media Complaints Commission.
View source | Our evaluation: green
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Transparency of Media

yellow
The regulatory framework in Cyprus allows for a certain degree of transparency of media ownership in the audio-visual media sector.
View source | Our evaluation: yellow
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Mechanisms are in place to safeguard political independence and to prevent conflicts of interest.
View source | Our evaluation: green
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Journalists' Protection

yellow
Threats to the safety of journalists are very rare.
View source | Our evaluation: yellow
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Other Institutional Issues

Institutional checks and balances are at the core of the rule of law. They guarantee the functioning, cooperation and mutual control of State organs so that power is exercised by one state authority with the scrutiny of others. In addition to an effective justice systems, checks and balances rely on a transparent, accountable, democratic and pluralistic process for enacting laws, the separation of powers, the constitutional and judicial review of laws, a transparent and high-quality public administration as well as effective independent authorities such as ombudsperson institutions or national human rights institutions.

Preparing and enacting laws

green
Efforts are ongoing to improve the consultation of stakeholders when preparing legislation.
View source | Our evaluation: yellow
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The Government has been empowered to adopt measures to face the COVID-19 pandemic.
View source | Our evaluation: green
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Draft legislation foresees the creation of a Constitutional Court that would take over the constitutionality review of laws from the Supreme Court.
View source | Our evaluation: green
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Civil Society

green
The civil society space in Cyprus is considered to be open.
View source | Our evaluation: green
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Accessibility

yellow
A reform aims at improving the implementation of court decisions by the public administration.
View source | Our evaluation: yellow
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Independent Authorities

yellow
The Commissioner for Administration, which contributes to safeguarding fundamental rights, has faced certain challenges.
View source | Our evaluation: yellow
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