It seems that the Banks in Cyprus are now making a concerted effort to mark down defaulters of Cyprus CHF loans as “uncooperative” (in reality, meaning that they cannot pay) as Christofi Law have been contacted by a number of people who have had proceedings served on them in the UK after issue in Cyprus.
In some cases clients of Christofi Law who have already issued proceedings in Cyprus are nevertheless having proceedings issued against them, and being served in the UK, reflecting that the relevant banks appear to have no centralised claims record.
The advice to those who have had claims issued against them but have already issued in Cyprus is not to panic. The Banks will have to apply to have their proceedings joined with the existing proceedings – at no apparent cost to the borrower party. If a claim is about to be issued by a borrower, that is also not a problem where the lawyers have been briefed beforehand, as the Defence can be filed setting out details of the Defence and any Counterclaim which would have formed the claim in the first instance.
It is more problematic however for those who have not received notification of any proceedings being issued or who have ignored or somehow allowed judgments to be entered in Cyprus. They will have to apply to set aside judgment and that is no easy task as the courts in Cyprus adopt similar criteria to those in the UK for setting aside judgments – primary of which is how successful the Defence is likely to be. In a place where CHF claims have yet to be fully argued, that will present quite an impediment .
It is also far more costly than if proceedings had been issued in the first instance – because in most cases the party seeking to set aside the evidence would have to “frontload” all the work that would usually be carried out during the normal course of the case.
The borrower would have to seek the permission of the court in a special application supported by their fully pleaded defence and witness statements as to why the claim was not responded to in the first instance. In effect, the whole of the matter will need to be looked at in a short period of time, meaning that the costs will be front loaded. Moreover it should not be assumed that lawyers will have sufficient time to allocate to a case as other matters will have to be set aside to deal with your problem and it may not be possible to do that at short notice.
Potential litigants are warned therefore – such proceedings are costly enough in the English courts and so anyone wanting to set aside judgment will have to be prepared to pay far more than it would have cost had they issued proceedings in the first instance.