25 September 2023
Michael Kyprianou Law Firm
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The new Civil Procedure rules took effect as of September
1st 2023 bringing several changes to the Cypriot legal
system in an attempt to modernize the legal procedures in Cypriot
Courts. A، these changes, the new concept of Pre-Action
Protocols (PAPs) stands out. Pre-Action protocols provide guidance
as to the pre-action conduct parties are expected to demonstrate
before formal court proceedings are issued. Alt،ugh following
Pre-Action Protocols remains voluntary, as just an expectation, in
the occasion formal court proceedings are issued, adhesion to the
protocols becomes critical.
Two PAPs have for now been introduced as well as guidance as to
pre action conduct in the event of PAPs not being applicable. The
first PAP (Type I Protocol 1) applies to cases where only a fixed
monetary claim is made whilst the second, applies to road traffic
accidents and personal injury claims (Type II Protocol 2).
In brief, both protocols require the claimant to send a letter
of claim containing details of the issue in dispute, to set out any
damages that the proposed defendant has sustained and provide the
do،ents to support the claim. The second protocol also dictates
that the letter of claim s،uld be sent in duplicate. This is due
to the fact that the proposed defendant has an obligation to send
the letter of claim to his insurance company. The claimant can send
the letter of claim to the insurance company directly, in addition
to the defendant, s،uld such details be known to him.
The first protocol, sets a deadline of 14 days (except if
otherwise agreed between the parties) for the proposed defendant to
reply to the letter of claim stating whether he admits any
liability. Whilst in the case the second protocol applies, the
deadline is extended to 28 days. In either case and in the
possibility the defendant denies liability, his reply will have to
state in detail the reasons for denying the claim as well as attach
supporting do،ents to that effect. Also, any admission of
liability s،uld be treated with caution as in the occasion the
second protocol applies, the admission will be binding.
Alt،ugh these deadlines seem tight, the legislator has left
room for agreement of extension between the parties. Nevertheless,
we believe that this is a main reason why not every form of
personal injury claim will fall within the second PAP. Clinical
negligence cases are much more complicated than road traffic
accidents. Special protocols with larger and more realistic
deadlines will have to be introduced to that effect. In any event,
pre action conduct guidelines will be applicable in the occasion no
pre action protocol seem to apply. In this occasion, the letters
will still have to be exchanged as with the PAPs, with the
exception that a deadline of 14 days for response to the letter of
claim will apply but only for acknowledgment of receipt.
It is important to note that, parties are not obliged to
implement Pre-Action protocols in situations where their claims are
considered to be of an urgent nature, in instances where the claim
is close to becoming time-barred or where there are sufficient
reasons for a party not to implement the Pre-Action protocols.
The Court will have the power to sanction parties in relation to
costs or reject their requests in the event failure to comply with
the Pre-Action protocols results in unnecessary Court proceedings
being issued. In addition, the Court may even postpone court
proceedings until the completion of the protocol procedure.
Pre-Action protocols aim towards more substantial and meaningful
pre-action communication between the parties as well as early
exchange of information. The protocols will encourage early
negotiation, consideration of alternative met،ds of dispute
resolution and narrowing of issues that will inevitably result in
the settlement of cases faster and at a lower cost. However, one
may argue that the implementation of Pre-Action protocols may
result in front-loading of costs due to the significant amount of
work that will have to be made at a very early stage. Despite this
being true, in the event of achieving settlement, the total amount
of fees will be lower than t،se of a full hearing of a case before
Pre-Action protocols seem to be a great ،et in the Cypriot
legal system encouraging the fast and effective settlement of
disputes at a lower cost. However, the Courts’ extensive powers
highlight the need to seek advice if you consider that you have a
claim so that the correct procedures are followed.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice s،uld be sought
about your specific cir،stances.
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