Chris Christofi has been somewhat chastened by clients and non-clients alike who have been contacting his office to berate him over the lack of further informative articles on Cyprus matters. To those people and clients – a very sincere apology . Chris was rather surprised, after all, to find out that so many people read and followed the Christofi Law website. Expect therefore to see a number of updates in the coming weeks.
Chris did attend the last Parliamentary meeting on Cyprus property matters where he had the opportunity to meet eye to eye with the Minister for Europe, David Liddington and this belated report is offered to those polite enough to follow his articles on this website.
The meeting was sparsely attended by those it had been intended for which was rather a pity (one lawyer mysteriously walked in- presumably to “punch his card”- then sheepishly skulked away).
That is not to detract from the excellent Mr Liddington who, as in previous meetings, had a very good grasp of the situation being faced by Cyprus property buyers, both legal and practical.
Of course the Minister could not give advice, but there was a good summary of views.
The Minister of State for Europe pointed out that the British Government had excellent bilateral relations with the Government of Mr Anastassiades in Cyprus . On title Deeds matters, he opined why the Republic of Cyprus did not adopt the English Land Registry System in its entirety – the British Government was ready to provide that “lock stock and barrel”, at no cost, and was happy even to send advisors to implement it he said.
Liddington was at pains to stress that whilst the British Government could not offer any financial support for any such litigation, it fully supported those who were bringing such actions particularly in Cyprus.
Liddington mentioned the many efforts that the Foreign Office had made in bilateral meetings, through the British High Commissioner and on the sidelines at European meetings
The Minister for Europe rightly felt that in addition to such discussions, by bringing their actions, litigants were raising awareness of the issues particularly as to foreign currency loans and title deeds.
The feeling was that sooner or later the Cypriot Courts would have to determine the issues especially as between banks and buyers, particularly as to what advice should have been given to buyers at the time they took on foreign currency loans.
Echoing the advice already given to many Christofi Law clients since, Liddington felt that people should issue proceedings in Cyprus (at the time Limitation periods having apparently expired in the UK, leaving the issue of proceedings in Cyprus the only real alternative for litigants) to try and beat limitation periods and hold on as much as they could , even delay their proceedings if necessary, until matters were determined by a Cypriot court. If necessary matters could go on reference to the European Courts. He felt certain that a lead case would establish the position for other litigants.
Liddinton dismissed “grandiose” schemes and papers which had been produced by some commentators on the internet as flights of fancy (presumably aimed at garnering clients) – only the combined lobbying of the British government or the decisions of the Cypriot or European Judiciary was likely resolve matters. He also suggested that European case law and the Cypriot Parliament might get involved in due course to pass laws which may be helpful.
However Liddington also advised against expecting results soon. People he said, sometimes forgot that Cyprus was a small country, with a small civil service, drawn locally, and big problems of its own (a reference presumably both to the financial meltdown in March 2013 and to its continued occupation) and the expectations that things were dealt with quickly were far too great of such a small country.