Cyprus : Supreme Court has ruled in favour of Speed and Efficacy in the spirit of judicial cooperation
In the case of Alpha Bank Cyprus Ltd v. Andrew Timothy Popple in March 2015 the Supreme Court of Cyprus had the opportunity to examine and apply Regulation (EC) No. 1393/2007, and made a significant statement in favour of simplification and acceleration of the process of service. The approach and analysis of the Highest Court of Cyprus can be seen to enhance the spirit of judicial cooperation and reflect the driving force behind the drafting of the provision.
Regulation (EC) No 1393/2007 of the Council of the European Union has provided the framework for service of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil or commercial matters between EU Member States. The regulation provides the ground for the acceleration and simplification of the process of service between Member States by establishing transmitting and receiving agencies amongst the Member States.
In the above case, service had been effected in accordance to Regulation 1393/2007 at the address of Defendant No. 1 to a third party, who was described as the current tenant of the property. The District Court of Paphos applied the relevant domestic law and held that service was invalid and improper since the documents were not served to the Defendant personally, a relative or an employer and thus did not give him the opportunity to become aware of the proceedings against him.
In turn, the Claimant applied for a Certiorari Order against the decision of the District Court of Paphos. The Supreme Court of Cyprus applied Regulation 1393/2007 and granted the Claimant with a Certiorari Order quashing the decision of the District Court. The highest Court of Cyprus held that in the case before it, service had been effected in accordance with the law of the United Kingdom and therefore the decision of the District Court to hold the said service invalid was contrary to the provisions and spirit of the Regulation. Moreover, it was highlighted that judicial procedures which require the transmittance of judicial and extrajudicial documents should be effected directly and rapidly between the Member States, having efficiency as their highest priority.
Furthermore, the judgement underlined that according to Regulation (EC) No. 1393/2007 service must be effected in accordance to the law of the Member State where service is to be carried out, unless there is some other specific method of service requested on behalf of the applicant.
Service is an essential feature of the outset of all litigation disputes. Regulation (EC) No. 1393/2007 has provided Claimants with the option of requesting service to be carried out in accordance with the law of the Member State where service is to be effected. Hence, Courts in Cyprus and in other Member States must not rely on domestic law in order to examine whether the service in question is valid and/or proper since the Regulation takes precedence over national law. Service is valid if a Court can ensure that a Claimant has obtained an official certificate confirming that service was carried out in accordance with the law of the Member State where it was effected. The decision bears great significance as it gives direction to lower Courts to adopt and apply a spirit of judicial cooperation and subsequently promote efficient, simplified and speedy service.
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