|Monday, 18 December 2017|
Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 08-12-18
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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>
 ECJ ADVOCATE GENERAL ORAMS CASE - CYPRUSThe Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Communities believes that courts in European Union member states have an obligation to recognise and enforce judgments relating to property disputes, issued by Cypriot courts.
This, the AG said, in spite of the fact that Cypriot courts cannot actually enforce these judgments, due to the fact that the government of Cyprus is prevented by the continuing Turkish occupation - from exercising its jurisdiction in the area where the said property lies, which is the northern part of the country.
Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Communities, Julianne Kokkot, in her opinion on the Apostolides v Orams case, said a judgment issued by a court of the Republic of Cyprus must be recognised and enforced in the other EU member states, even where it relates to land in the Turkish occupied north of Cyprus.
In her opinion, the AG notes that such recognition and enforcement is not precluded by the fact that, pending resolution of the Cyprus problem, the application of Community law is suspended in those areas of the Republic of Cyprus in which the Government of the Republic of Cyprus does not exercise effective control.
The Advocate Generals Opinion is not binding on the Court. It is the role of the Advocates General to propose to the Court, in complete independence, a legal solution to the cases for which they are responsible. The Judges of the Court of Justice are now beginning their deliberations on the Apostolides v Orams case. Judgment will be given at a later date.
In her opinion, the AG said the background to the Opinion, delivered on Thursday, is the division of Cyprus following the intervention of Turkish troops in 1974. The Republic of Cyprus, which acceded to the EU in 2004, has effective control over the southern area alone, while, in the northern area, the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus (a self-styled regime set up by the Turkish Cypriots) has established itself, even though it is not recognised by the international community for the purposes of international law except by Turkey, it said. Since the Republic of Cyprus does not exercise sovereign jurisdiction over the northern area, the application of Community law was suspended in that area by a protocol to the Act of Accession, it added.
In the opinion of the Advocate General, that protocol does not exclude the application of the EU Regulation on Jurisdiction and the Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments in a dispute before the United Kingdom courts which relates to the northern part of Cyprus.
A dispute has arisen before the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, which has requested a preliminary ruling from the Court of Justice, between Greek Cypriot refugee Meletis Apostolides, and British couple David and Linda rams, in relation to the recognition and enforcement of a judgment of the District Court of Nicosia. That court in the government controlled southern areas of Cyprus had delivered a judgment ordering the Orams couple to vacate an area of land in the Turkish occupied north and to pay various monetary amounts. The British couple had purchased the land from a third party and built a holiday house on it. According to the findings of the court in Cyprus, however, the rightful owner of the land is in fact Apostolides, whose family was forced to leave the north as a result of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus and the occupation of the islands northern third.
Advocate General Kokott refers to the fact that the suspension of Community law in the northern area of Cyprus was intended to enable the Republic of Cyprus to accede to the EU, following the failure of the negotiations on reunification to reach a successful conclusion. The intention was to avoid a situation in which the Republic of Cyprus, as a Member State, infringed Community law because it could not ensure the application of Community law throughout the territory of that State. The recognition and enforcement of the judgment of the District Court of Nicosia in the United Kingdom does not, however, require the application of the regulation in the northern part of Cyprus. Rather, it is the courts of the United Kingdom alone which require to act.
The enforcement of that judgment in the United Kingdom is also not precluded by the fact that the claims upheld in it are connected to the military occupation in northern Cyprus. The dispute between Apostolides and the Orams couple is civil in nature and falls within the scope of application of the regulation, AG Kokkot says, noting it is only claims for damages against public authorities that are excluded by the regulation, and the present case does not involve claims of that kind.
Advocate General Kokott is, moreover, of the opinion that the District Court of Nicosia has jurisdiction in relation to the property dispute irrespective of the fact that the Republic of Cyprus does not exercise effective control over northern Cyprus. In addition, the fact that the judgment cannot actually be enforced at this time does not, in the Advocate Generals opinion, relieve courts in other Member States from the obligation to recognise and enforce the judgment. It is not a requirement of that obligation that actual enforceability be possible in northern Cyprus.
Advocate General Kokott also examines the question whether the enforcement of a default judgment in another Member State must be refused where there are irregularities involving the service of the writ instituting the proceedings. As a result of various difficulties, the Orams couple did not enter appearance before the District Court of Nicosia in good time, with the result that a default judgment was issued against them. Subsequently, however, they had the opportunity to bring an appeal against that judgment. Consequently, the Advocate General concludes that enforcement cannot be refused where the result of the defendants appeal is that the default judgment has been reviewed in full and fair proceedings.
The European Court of Human Rights ruled in December 1996 that Turkey, by virtue of its military presence in northern Cyprus, exercises effective control on that part of the island and is therefore responsible for what happens there. It also said that the Turkish Cypriot regime is a local administration subordinate to Turkey.
 LABOUR MINISTER EU WORKING TIME DIRECTIVEMinister of Labour and Social Insurance Sotiroula Charalambous has said that the positions of the European Parliament on the Organisation of Working Time directive must be taken into account.
Charalambous was speaking at yesterdays meeting of EU Ministers for Employment and Social Affairs, held in Brussels to debate the Working Time directive among other issues.
The French Presidency informed the Council about the results of yesterdays voting at the European Parliament on the common position adopted by the Employment and Social Affairs Council, last July, regarding the draft directive on the Organization of Working Time.
According to the common position, the so-called opt-out is kept in place, inactive on-call time in the workplace is not defined as working time and it makes annualisation of working hours possible without safeguard for workers.
The European Parliament has voted to scrap the UK`s opt-out from the Working Time Directive (WTD), limiting the working week to an average of 48 hours per individual.
 LUCAS HADJIOANNOU PASSED AWAYEighty-one year old Cypriot ship-owner Lucas Hadjioannou, suffering for long from an illness, passed away in a private hospital in Athens yesterday.
According to an announcement, Hadjioannou, known for his charity activities in Greece and Cyprus, was one of the most important men in shipping.
He was born in September 1927, in the village of Pedoula, Cyprus, and was the first-born child of a 12-member family. Hadjioannou was an excellent student, and involved in the merchant shipping. In 1948 he made his first commercial trip. During the 80, Hadjioannou owned a fleet of 50 tankers.
It is also noted in the announcement that in his memory his son and daughters, as members of the Board of the Lucas Hadjioannou Institute, will continue the charity activities of the Institute.
 CYPRIOT - PNG ARRESTSA number of arrests have been made in connection with the killing of prominent Cypriot businessman Sir George Constantinou who lived in Papua New Guinea.
Constantinou was Cyprus Honorary Consul at Papua New Guinea. He had moved to PNG from Cyprus in the 1950s and established one of the most successful business and construction empires in the country.
According to Radio Australia News, police have arrested four men in connection with the murder, which has left the PNG business community stunned and angry.
The 78-year-old was leaving his timber yard in his car when he was ambushed by a group of around 30 armed men near the Tete settlement in Port Moresby.
Sir George was awarded the knighthood by the Queen of England for his charitable work in the country. His funeral will be held on Monday in Brisbane, Australia.
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