Power of Cyprus courts to issue discovery and disclosure orders


It has been recently recognised and established by the Supreme Court of Cyprus the jurisdiction of the  Cyprus  Courts  to  issue  discovery  and  disclosure  orders  namely  the  so  called  Norwich Pharmakal orders and Banker’s Trust orders.


In the leading English case NORWICH PHARMAKAL v. CUSTOMS & EXCISE COMMISSIONERS it was held that although as a general rule, no independent action for discovery would lie against a person against whom no reasonable cause of action could be alleged, or who was in the position of a mere witness in the strict sense, the rule did not apply where (a) without the discovery o f the information in the possession of the person against whom discovery was sought no action could be begun against the wrongdoer, and (b) the person against whom discovery was sought had himself, albeit, through no fault of his own, been involved in the wrongful acts of another so as to facilitate the wrongdoing. In such circumstances although he might have incurred no personal liability, he is under a duty to assist the person who had been wronged by giving him full information and disclosing the identity of the wrongdoer.


In the English case BANKERS TRUST v. SHAPIRA it was held that the Court was entitled for the purposes of giving effect to a defrauded Plaintiffs’ equitable right to trace his money to order a bank to disclose the state of and the documents and correspondence relating to the account of a customer who was prima facie guilty of fraud, even though the bank had no incurred any personal liability for the fraud, for unless there was the fullest possible disclosure the fund could not be traced. To justify such an order, however, the evidence of fraud against the customer had to be very strong.


The aforesaid interlocutory remedies which are now available to litigants before Cyprus Courts together with the recent recognition of the Cyprus Courts’ powers to issue injunctions with extra- territorial effect, make Cyprus an attractive forum for pursuing legal rights through Court actions.


In addition the accession of Cyprus to EU and the applicability of the Council Regulation 44/2001 (“the Brussels Convention on the jurisdiction and Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters) – extended the jurisdiction of Cyprus Courts to issue injunctions in aid of legal  proceedings  pending  before  Courts  of  any  member  state  of  EU  as  well  as  for  the enforcement and registration of any interim injunction issued by Cyprus Courts in any EU Member State.


The Norwich Pharmakal orders and the Banker’s Trust orders are fully covered by the aforesaid decision of the Supreme Court of Cyprus as well as by the Council Regulation (EU) 44/2001.



For further information on this topic please contact

Mr. Soteris Pittas ( at SOTERIS PITTAS & CO LLC,

by telephone (+357 25 028460) or by fax (+357 25 028461)