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The Legislative Power of the Republic is exercised by the House of Representatives in all matters. Members of the government may not be Members of the House of Representatives. The two offices are incompatible and if a Member of the House is appointed by the President to become a Minister he must relinquish his seat in the House. Both Representatives and Ministers have the right to introduce bills in the House. However, Representatives are not permitted to introduce any bills related to an increase in budgetary expenditure.

The President of the Republic may address the House personally or by message, or convey his views to the House through the Ministers.The Ministers may follow the proceedings of the House or of any committee of the House, and may make a statement or inform the House or any Committee of the House on any subject within their competence.

Ministers, however, are not constitutionally bound to appear before the House or before any committee of the House at the request of the House. In practice no Minister has declined to do so when requested by the President of the House or by the chairman of a committee.

The President of the Republic and the vice-president have the right to final veto on any law passed by the House which concerns certain specified issues of foreign affairs, defense and security. As far as other types of legislation are concerned, the President and the vice-president, jointly or separately have only delaying power. They may return a law or a decision to the House. In such a case the house must again pronounce on the law within fifteen days or, if it concerns the budget, within 30 days. If the House persists in its decision then the President and vice-president are bound to promulgate the law or decision in question by publishing it in the official Gazette of the Republic.

Furthermore, they may, at any time prior to the promulgation of any law or decision of the House, refer to the Supreme Court for its opinion on the question as to whether such law or decision or any specified provision thereof is repugnant to/or inconsistent with any provision of the Constitution. In such case the law or decision shall not be promulgated.

Judiciary

The administration of justice is exercised by the island's separate and independent judiciary. Under the 1960 constitution and other legislation in force the following judicial institutions have been established:

  • The Supreme Court of the Republic
  • The Assize Court (Permanent Assize Court for all Districts).
  • District Courts
  • Military Court
  • Industrial Disputes Court
  • Rent Control Courts
  • Family Courts


The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is composed of thirteen judges, one of whom is the President of the Court. The Supreme Court adjudicates on all matters of constitutionality of legislation referred to it by the President of the Republic or arising in any judicial proceedings including complaints that any law or decision of the House of Representatives or the Budget is discriminatory; also on matters of conflict or contrast of power or competence between state organs and questions of interpretation of the Constitution in cases of ambiguity.

The Supreme Court is the final Appellate Court in the Republic and has jurisdiction to hear and determine appeals in civil and criminal cases from the Assize Court, District Courts as well as appeals from decisions of its own judges when sitting alone in the exercise of original and provisional jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. It is also vested exclusively with Administrative Law, provisional jurisdiction in connection with administrative or executive acts, decisions or omissions; the relevant remedy is by way of a recourse for annulment. The Supreme Court, moreover, exercises original jurisdiction as a Court of Admiralty.

In its original jurisdiction the Supreme Court deals also, exclusively with proceedings for the issue of orders of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warrantor and certiorari.

Assize Court

As a result of the enactment of the courts of Justice (Amendment) Law 1991 (No.136/91) there has been constituted a Permanent Assize Court as from 6/5/91, which deals with cases within the jurisdiction of an Assize Court for all districts of Cyprus. The Assize Court has unlimited criminal jurisdiction and may order the payment of compensation up to CYP£3,000.

District Courts

There is a District Court for each district. The District Courts exercise original criminal and civil jurisdiction including jurisdiction in admiralty cases referred to them by the Supreme Court by virtue of Law 96/65 and matrimonial cases. The extent of the jurisdiction varies with the composition of the Bench. In civil matters a District Court composed of not less than two Judges has unlimited jurisdiction. A President or a Senior District Judge of a District Court sitting alone has jurisdiction up to CYP£10,000 and a District Judge sitting alone up to CYP£5,000 and is also empowered to deal with any action for the recovery or possession of any immovable property (and certain other specified matters connected therewith) when the title of such property is not in dispute, irrespective of the value of the property involved; provided that a President of a District Court or a Senior District Judge sitting alone shall have jurisdiction to hear and determine any action in relation to negligence as well as in relation to compensation for the compulsory acquisition and requisition of immovable property, irrespective of the amount in dispute, unless such President or Senior District Judge, as the case may be, is of the opinion that it becomes necessary that the case be heard and determined by a Full Court consisting of not more than three judges. In criminal matters the jurisdiction of the District Court is exercised by the members sitting singly and is of a summary nature. A President or a Senior District Judge or a District Judge sitting alone has power to try any offence punishable with imprisonment up to 3 years or with a fine up to CYP£2,000, or with both, and may order the payment of compensation up to CYP£3,000.

There is a Supreme Council of Judicature, consisting of the President and Judges of the Supreme Court, entrusted with the appointment, promotion, transfers, termination of appointment and disciplinary control over all judicial officers, other than the Judges of the Supreme Court.

 


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