Cyprus recently ratified the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments. Its objective is to prevent, reduce and control pollution of the marine environment – especially the spread of harmful aquatic organisms from one region to another – and the consequential damage to health and natural resources. To meet this objective, the convention establishes standards and procedures for the management and control of ships' ballast water and sediments.
Order 22 of the Civil Procedure Rules provides that in any action for debt or damages, the defendant may at any time, on notice to the claimant, pay into court a sum of money which it considers sufficient to satisfy the claim. Payment into court can be made as soon as an appearance has been filed and until a judgment has been issued. If the amount offered is accepted, the dispute is settled as by compromise, but it does not give rise to res judicata.
Since 2009, the Central Bank has carried out semi-annual market surveys of Cyprus residents who provide ship management services to ship-owning companies registered in Cyprus and abroad. The surveys collect data on financial transactions (revenues and expenses) between resident ship management companies and non-residents of Cyprus. The most recent survey, which covers the second half of 2017, was published on April 27 2018.
In Cyprus, as in most jurisdictions, a defendant in litigation which fears that the claimant may be unable to satisfy costs orders made against it can apply to the court for a security for costs order. In civil proceedings, the courts – in certain circumstances – can order the claimant to provide security for the defendant's costs after the trial has ended. However, specific requirements must be fulfilled, and the courts are strict in applying the rules.
The recently introduced Law 33(I)/2018 amends the Law regarding Administrative Cooperation in the Field of Taxation 2012 to 2017 in order to align domestic law with EU Directive 2016/881/EU, which amended EU Directive 2011/16/EU on administrative cooperation in the field of taxation. The new law requires ultimate parent entities of multinational enterprises resident in Cyprus for tax purposes to file country-by-country reports within 12 months of the end of each fiscal year.
The Deputy Ministry of Shipping recently announced that from January 1 2020, all masters, chief officers and officers in charge of a navigational watch serving on board Cyprus-flagged vessels operating in polar waters must hold the appropriate certificate of proficiency in training, as required by the International Maritime Organisation's International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters.
The Department of Merchant Shipping recently announced the publication of the Essential Requirements (Recreational Craft and Personal Watercraft) Regulations 2017. The new regulations set required standards for design and construction and exhaust and noise emissions. They apply to recreational and personal craft, specified components when placed on the EU market, engines and engine conversions and substantial modifications to vessels.
The need for clear and reliable guidelines to determine whether a first-instance criminal court judgment can be appealed arose in a recent application to the Supreme Court. By making an application under Article 149 of the Criminal Procedure Law instead of an appeal, the applicant not only lost the right to appeal, but also found his case dismissed by the Supreme Court without any examination of its substance.
The European Court of Human Rights recently reviewed disciplinary proceedings against a former judge that had taken place in the Supreme Court in 2006 and resulted in the judge's dismissal. The court found by a majority of six votes to one that the disciplinary proceedings in Cyprus were in breach of Article 6(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights and ordered the Cyprus government to pay non-pecuniary damages and costs.
The Deputy Ministry of Shipping has announced that the email addresses of its personnel and departments have been changed following its conversion from a department of the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works to a deputy ministry. To ensure a smooth transition, the existing email addresses of ministry personnel will remain valid until June 30 2018 and departmental email addresses will remain valid until April 30 2019.
Cyprus and the United Kingdom recently signed a new double tax agreement. Once it has been ratified by both parties, it will replace the current agreement, which dates back to 1974 and is one of the oldest tax agreements still in force in Cyprus. The changes introduced will have little direct effect on the tax liability of most taxpayers, but the modernisation of the agreement will provide clarity.
Cyprus holding companies are widely used in the context of international business structuring to optimise the channelling of inbound and outbound investments with countries that have signed a double tax treaty with Cyprus. The Tax Department recently issued a circular on the value added tax treatment of holding companies, which aims to provide clarity regarding the circumstances in which Cyprus holding companies can be deemed to be earning income that may constitute taxable income.
The Tax Department recently announced that companies and self-employed individuals that are required to submit annual accounts will be given an additional three months to file their tax returns for the year ended December 31 2016. The department has also issued a circular clarifying the requirement to produce audited financial statements to support tax returns.
The Department of Merchant Shipping recently issued an updated list of countries whose certificates of competency are recognised by Cyprus under the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, as amended. The only change from the previous list, issued in November 2014, is the addition of Jordan.
The issue of jurisdiction was at the centre of a recent action in the Limassol District Court. The decision clarifies the case law relating to the interpretation of Article 7(2) of the recast EU Brussels Regulation and reaffirms the general principle that civil actions are to be brought against individuals and companies in the courts of the place where they are domiciled, except in specific instances where derogations from the general rule apply.
The Department of Merchant Shipping has announced that it will be a deputy ministry with effect from March 1 2018 and be renamed the Deputy Ministry of Shipping, following the entry into force of the Establishment of a Deputy Ministry of Shipping and Appointment of a Deputy Minister of Shipping and for Matters Connected Therewith Law 2017. As successor to the Department of Merchant Shipping, the deputy ministry will assume all of the former's rights, responsibilities, powers and obligations.
Article 9(B) of the Income Tax Law 2002 (as amended) provides for a notional interest deduction for tax purposes on new equity capital injected into companies and permanent establishments of foreign companies on or after January 1 2015 to finance business assets, calculated by applying a reference rate to the new equity. The Tax Department recently announced the 10-year government bond yields for December 31 2017, which will be used as the basis for the notional interest deduction for the 2018 tax year.
In a recent appeal case, the Supreme Court overturned a first-instance judgment regarding the timing of the completion of the pleadings and, consequently, the deadline for filing a summons for directions under Order 30 of the Civil Procedure Rules. Although the judgment in question examined the previous version of Order 30, it is useful for litigation lawyers as it clarifies when pleadings are deemed to have been completed, which remains the starting point for the deadline to file a summons for directions.
Article 47A of the Merchant Shipping (Issue and Recognition of Certificates and Marine Training) Laws provides that crew members on-board coastal passenger vessels who have safety duties relating to passengers must meet the mandatory minimum familiarisation and basic safety training and instruction requirements for all seafarers under Regulation VI/I of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers.
The Department of Merchant Shipping recently issued a reminder to registered owners, bareboat charterers, managers and representatives of Cyprus-flagged ships regarding the renewal of civil liability certificates. The expiry date for most existing certificates is February 20 2018 and there has been an unprecedented delay in the submission of renewal applications. The department therefore urges parties that require a renewal to apply without further delay.