Mediation Developments in Cyprus
While litigation is still the predominant method of resolving disputes in Cyprus, Alternative Dispute Resolution is becoming increasingly popular. Cyprus courts are supportive of ADR, particularly in disputes relating to cross-border or commercial matters, where judges are less willing to hear cases involving specialized technical matters or scientific issues. ADR’s popularization has been facilitated by a law passed in 2012, in harmony with EU law, which allows mediation in cross-border disputes and certain civil and commercial matters. In accordance with this law, a register of mediators has been established at the Ministry of Justice.
A law enabling mediation in family matters has been before the Legal Committee of the Cyprus Parliament since 2014, and is finally due to be debated and passed by the full house in October of 2018.
As in many other countries, the Cyprus court system is overloaded. Proceeding through the courts to resolve a civil dispute can take 4-5 years. So, in practice, many cases are settled between lawyers out-of-court, albeit not through formal mediation.
There is a long tradition for the settlement of small claims in labor disputes before Industrial Tribunals in Cyprus. Industrial Tribunals are established under the judicial system and are comprised of a judge and two lay members from the employer’s and employee’s sides, who have solely consultative roles.
The Cyprus Mediation Association (an NGO) was established ten years ago and provides mediation services on request, as well as training, to various community groups, such as educational psychologists, community nurses, prison wardens, and others. The Association has worked in cooperation with the Norwegian Mediation Service to provide training to both Greek and Turkish Cypriots.
By Katherine Clerides, Senior Fellow-Cyprus, Weinstein International Foundation