In recent years there has been a substantial number of cases in which the courts have had to determine whether applicants seeking the recognition and enforcement of an arbitral award have complied with the requirements set out in Article IV of the New York Convention, which the Supreme Court has ruled must be strictly satisfied. The principles highlighted in this article should help to shed light on the courts' interpretation and application of Article IV.
In a recent case before the Limassol District Court, the Russian Television and Radio Broadcasting Network applied for the recognition and enforcement of two arbitral awards which had been issued by the International Commercial Arbitration Court at the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The dispute concerned the breach of two film licensing agreements by the respondent, Trevano Pictures Limited.
In a recent Supreme Court case, the appellant appealed against a first-instance judgment in which he had sought to annul an arbitral award. The dispute related to the non-payment of a loan granted by the respondent to the appellant and a subsequent challenge of the amount owed. Arbitration had taken place in which the arbitrator had issued his decision in favour of the respondent.
In a recent Limassol District Court case, the applicants applied for the recognition and enforcement of a London Court of International Arbitration award, which the respondents argued was contrary to Cypriot public policy pursuant to the New York Convention. This case serves as a useful reminder that the courts will rarely resort to public policy grounds to refuse the recognition of an arbitral award unless presented with cogent evidence.
The Supreme Court recently rejected a first-instance rejection of a property owner's request for the return of land that had been compulsorily acquired by the state in 1977. The applicant claimed that the land was not being used for one of the acquisition's original purposes. However, the court found that as the applicant had taken no measures against the initial acquisition, he could not call it into question after 35 years by relying on the broadness of the stated purposes.
In a recent Limassol District Court case, the applicants applied for the recognition and enforcement of an arbitral award issued by the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce. The case is one of the first examples of the judicial interpretation and application of Article VI of the New York Convention by the Cypriot courts and serves as a useful guide to the proper procedure to be followed by parties when invoking said article.
The Supreme Court recently issued its decision on the appeal of a district court interim decision concerning an application to present oral evidence as part of an application against a decision by the director of the Land Registry. The applicants had filed their application against the director's decision to grant a right of way to the respondent to the detriment of their immovable property.
A recent Limassol District Court decision serves as a useful reminder that the courts will rarely resort to public policy grounds for refusing the recognition of arbitral awards unless presented with cogent evidence. In addition, the courts are prepared to demonstrate the necessary flexibility dictated by modern commercial practices in examining the imperative requirements of Article IV of the New York Convention in a manner which will not hamper the convention's underlying objectives.
In late 2018 the House of Representatives introduced amendments which granted paternity leave and benefits to unmarried working fathers. However, the government referred the amending laws to the Supreme Court, claiming that they would add unbudgeted costs to its budget and therefore violate the Constitution. The Supreme Court recently accepted the government's position and declared the amendments unconstitutional.
The Limassol Rent Control Court recently dismissed an application regarding the eviction of a tenant from a leasehold. Since it was ruled that the first and second applicants had never owned the property, they were not entitled to file the eviction application. However, the court awarded damages in relation to unpaid rent to the third applicant (who became the actual owner of the property after the application).
Four employment laws concerning seagoing vessels and their crew were recently amended. Among other things, the amendments relate to transfers of seagoing vessels and their crew under a transfer of undertakings, the definition of a 'competent authority' for notifying collective redundancies and the role and protection of merchant vessel crew members who act as employee representatives.
In a recent Limassol District Court case, the applicants applied to the court to set aside a Cypriot court order which had allowed the ex parte recognition and enforcement of a Dutch judgment pursuant to the EU Brussels Regulation or, alternatively, the recast EU Brussels Regulation. The applicants raised several arguments to support their application – in particular, the fact that the Netherlands judgment allowed for the registration and execution of the arbitral award only in the Netherlands.
The Nicosia Rent Control Court recently ruled on the outstanding rent of a statutory tenant. The court held that a provision for the increase of rent provided for in a tenancy agreement does not apply once the tenancy is converted into a statutory tenancy. However, by interpreting the terms of the tenancy agreement (which had been terminated in this case), the court concluded that it had not provided for an increase in rent during the first tenancy period.
The Supreme Court recently dismissed an appeal of a first-instance judgment which had applied the well-established principle that arbitral award registrations are a formality wherein district courts do not proceed to examine the merits or substance of the award. The Supreme Court rejected all of the appellant's arguments, dismissed the appeal in its entirety and endorsed the first-instance court's approach, which had been based on well-established case law.
Cyprus case law has long established that reverse onus in criminal cases does not transfer the burden of proof to defendants; rather, it allows them to create reasonable doubt with respect to their guilt. A recent Supreme Court decision has confirmed this in regard to wage protection and clarified that all criminal courts (ie, not just employment tribunals) must examine the facts that establish employment relationships and interpret employment contracts where said facts are disputed.
Law 8(I)/2018 came into force in July 2018, amending the Transfer and Mortgage of Immovable Property Law. The new legislation was applied for the first time in a recent Nicosia District Court case, which is considered to be of great importance in assessing how the courts will interpret the new law in future. The case concerned an auction procedure which had been initiated by the sending of the relevant documents and notices to the mortgagor, which filed a lawsuit against Hellenic Bank to suspend a foreclosure procedure.
The Supreme Court recently ruled that only part of a court judgment that had upheld an arbitrator's decision would be set aside. The appellants had raised a number of objections in their appeal, including that the summons to recognise and enforce the arbitral award had been filed improperly as the hearing had not been conducted in the same manner as a lawsuit, the parties had not agreed to refer the dispute to an arbitrator and the arbitrator had not had the legal authority to issue a mortgage disposal order.