On the 15th January 2021 the Official Cyprus Government Gazette published procedural regulations on the electronic registration of documents to the judicial system (i-JUSTICE)
The electronic registration regulations give more freedom on how documentation can be registered and have a goal of satisfying the need for a more timely and efficient proceeding while, at the same time, allowing for less physical contact and safer judicial operations as necessary due to the emergency situation affecting countries around the world.
The basic points to be considered are as follows:
- Pleadings or documents which have been registered electronically will not be registered by any other means unless requested by the court, the registrar or unless otherwise provided by the regulations;
- A document deemed too difficult to register electronically through an existing file can be registered in its physical form, with permission from the court;
- If any law, regulation or provision should require a document to be registered in its original form, then it will not be registered electronically and a physical file will be created to satisfy the requirement;
- The original physical document of any document registered electronically must be kept by the person who registered it and has to be readily available for inspection upon request of the court, registrar or other party to the case;
- A document consisting of various documents will each be registered separately but will be part of the same electronic registration;
- When a document is deemed to be classified, an application is made to the court through the electronic registration system for approval of the classification;
- The electronic registration system will operate on a 24 hour basis. Its operation will only be stopped due to scheduled or unexpected interruption;
- Electronic registration which takes place after 13:01, is deemed to have taken place on the next working day of the registrar;
- Once a document is registered it will not be possible to revoke the registration and the fees paid in relation will not be refundable;
- A document intended for service purposes shall be sealed as a true copy by the electronic registration system, without the payment of any fee, upon request;
- Upon request and payment of relevant fee, a hard copy of any document signed by the registrar can be issued in physical or electronic form;
- An electronic file is created for each registration. No physical file is created unless it falls within the provision of regulation 7 (1) which is described in point 3 above;
- The electronic folder has the same properties and legal effect as a physical folder. For cases which were registered before the installation of the electronic system, a physical and electronic folder are kept;
- For the purposes of court and legal fees, any action taken will have the same implications as physical action.
This is a major step forward for the judicial system of Cyprus. It is well known that 'Justice delayed is justice denied' and Cyprus has now progressed to a new era of its judicial system through electronic submission of court documents, including pleadings. Proceedings are now expected to progress to hearing without significant delays, something that has for the past few years been causing dissatisfaction not only to the litigants but to lawyers too. This is one step of judicial reforms in Cyprus, we are looking forward to many more.
*The date for the implementation of the i-JUSTICE system has been postponed until further notice.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.