Independence of the Judiciary
Functioning of Courts - Under the Constitution of Cyprus the judiciary is established as a separate power, independent from the other two powers of the State and autonomous in its sphere of competence, authority and jurisdiction. The independence and impartiality of the judiciary are a universal norm of the State of Cyprus. Judicial decisions are subject to review by way of appeal and in cases of deviation from the rules of natural justice, fundamental errors or excess of jurisdiction, by way of orders in the nature of certiorari and prohibition, empowering the Court to issue orders designed to ensure that justice is done in accordance with the law and fundamental rules of justice. The judiciary functions independently from any source of influence whatever.
Courts’ Structure - Courts are organized on a two-tier system:
- First Instance Courts.
- The Supreme Court.
First Instance Courts - The principal first instance courts are the District Courts operating in every District of the Republic with the exception of the occupied areas. They are composed of District Judges, Senior District Judges and Presidents District Courts.
The other first instance Courts are:
- The Assize Courts (four Assize Courts continuously in session).
- The Military Court (one).
- The Industrial Disputes Court (having three branches).
- The Rent Control Courts (three).
- The Family Courts (two operating alternatively in every district of Cyprus).
The Supreme Court - The Supreme Court is the final appellate court of the Republic. It is also vested with jurisdiction to determine the constitutionality of laws, rules and regulations and has sole competence and exclusive jurisdiction to review the legality of acts, decisions or omissions emanating from the exercise of executive or administrative authority. Moreover, it is vested with original jurisdiction to issue writs known in English Law as prerogative writs that is orders in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari. A law may entrust original jurisdiction to the Supreme Court in a particular field of law; such jurisdiction has been vested in the Supreme Court in admiralty matters.
Judges - First instance judges are appointed, transferred, promoted and are subject to the disciplinary jurisdiction of the Supreme Council of Judicature (composed of the members of the Supreme Court), whereas Supreme Court Judges are appointed by the President of the Republic. The judges of first instance Courts serve until they attain the age of sixty-three. Judges of the Supreme Court serve until they attain the age of sixty-eight.
Source: Press And Information Office, Republic Of Cyprus, 2005