Status of Digitalisation of ESCP Enforcemnt Procedures

There is no digital enforcement process. However, in July 2021, the official launch of the e Justice platform took place in Cyprus. The main goal of the new digital platform is to streamline legal processes, specifically submitting claims remotely, getting access to electronic files of cases and paying commissions and fees. While enforcement does not yet seem to be digitalised, Cyprus is moving towards digitalising its justice system.

ESCP Procedural Aspects

1. Competent Enforcement Authority

The competent authorities for enforcement are the District courts. The competent court can be any court of Cyprus where the judgment debtor resides, has or is expected to have assets. The competent authorities are also the Courts Service (bailiffs) and the Land Registry. The authority competent for enforcement of an order to collect overdue maintenance payments is the police.[1] In general, enforcement is carried out mainly through bailiffs (dikastikoí epidótes) who are civil servants employed at the courts on a permanent basis.[2]

2. Rules on Service

Rules on service are set down in Order 5 of the Rules, as well as Orders 5a, 5b and 51. Order 5 regulates the service of the writ of summons. Rule 2 of Order 5 posits that The service shall, whenever it is practicable, be effected by leaving the copy with the person to be served; but if he is not found at his house or at his usual place of employment, the service shall be deemed to be effected if the copy is left(i) with any member of his family of apparently 16 years and upwards then in his town or village or within the lands thereof; or (ii) with any person apparently of such age and in charge of the place of his employment; or (iii) with his master in the case of a servant living with his master. Where service is effected by leaving the copy with a person other than the person to be served, the affidavit of service shall state (if such be the case) that the person to be served was not found at his house or at his usual place of employment. (Form 5.)

Rule 3 of Order 5 further submits that service on the person to be served may be effected at any time of the day or night and in any place and on any day of the week.

Rule 9 of Order 5 (which was implemented in 2015) posits that in any case where it shall appear to the Court that for any reason it is not practicable to effect service in time in the manner provided in Rule 2 of this Order, the Court may make any order for substituted or other service or for the substitution of notice of service in any manner that may appear to it to be just and proper in the circumstances, including publication in any medium in electronic form, or other manner reasonably offered by the technology of the time.

Pursuant to Order 5b of the Rules the service of any document which the Court may order shall be effected by a private person authorised by the High Court (“the service agent”). Rule 6 or Order 5b further states that upon the assignment of service, the party shall pay to the service agent the established fees set out in Annex C, Part III. Order 6 of the Rules governs service out of jurisdiction.

Rule 2 of Order 6 obligates the party bespeaking such service to deposit in the Court the sums of €32 in respect of each person to be served.

Rule 1 of Order 51 of the Rules states that Any summons or notice to be served or given to any person may be served or given at his address for service if he has furnished one, and if he has not then at his last known or usual place of residence or, if this is impossible, with the leave of the Court or Judge obtained ex parte, in any one of the ways in which service or notice of a writ of summons may be effected or given. And everything done on any proceeding whereof notice has been served or given according to these Rules shall be binding on a person so served or notified, whether he attends on the proceeding or not.” Furthermore, if the address for service includes a facsimile address, service or delivery of a judicial document by facsimile communication is acceptable (Rule 1B, Order 51 of the Rules). The party by whom or on whose behalf application is made for such service must pay the fees in the first instance (Rule 2, Order 51 of the Rules).

To speed up the enforcement procedure and to allow the bailiffs to focus on enforcement, the service of documents in all civil court cases has been entrusted to private companies since 1996.[3]

3. Language of the Certificate and Documents to be Appended

For the purpose of enforcement under Article 21(2)(b) Cyprus also accepts English. Order 58 of the Rules states that any document served in Cyprus shall, if served on a Greek-speaking person, be in Greek, and if served on a Turkish-speaking person, be in Turkish, and in all other cases be in English. Judgment and orders shall be entered in English. If a Greek or Turkish translation of a judgment or order is required for service in Cyprus, it shall be made by the Registrar of the Court.

4. Enforcement Fees

The costs of the procedure cannot be determined in advance. The costs are rather calculated by the registrar of the court based on the regulations on fees and depend on the sum awarded under the judgment or the value of the subject matter of the judgment, as well as other possible additional possible expenses (transportation, storage, etc.) These figures are assessed as per the table of fees set out in the Rules. The person against whom the judgment was delivered is obligated to pay the fees. Paying court fees can also be done digitally – through the newly set up E-justice system.

5. Refusal, Stay, or Limitation of Enforcement Procedures

Cyprus considers a judgement to be enforceable even if a possibility of appeal still exists (Article 6(1) of the Courts of Justice Law 1960). Cyprus also gave some general information to the European Commission on appeals in the enforcement procedure. Thus, depending on the case, it is possible to[4] bring legal challenges, e.g., in order to suspend enforcement or to cancel an entry in the register.

Critical Assessment

As is put forth by certain scholars,[5] the Rules (which also govern enforcement procedures) are not very “user friendly” and thus pose a problem for the access to justice. Thus, the enforcement procedure is sometimes hard to understand, especially for the lay public. The Rules were written in English in 1954 and while they have been amended since, there is no official translations of the amendments. Thus, the rules are written partially in Greek and partly in English. This is also why compiling the report was difficult at some points. As Kyriakides puts it “This is problematic for various reasons. First, it requires any individual wishing to make use of the Rules to have competent levels of English and Greek, despite English not being an official language of the Republic. Second, there are inherent semantic issues with provisions being part written in two different languages, leading to fundamental interpretative obstacles. Moreover, Order 1 of the Rules contains a glossary of English terms such as ‘originating summons’ and ‘personal representative’, however no such glossary is found for Greek terms. In other words, complex Greek legalese is not officially defined.[6] All of the above undermine the principle that the law should be clear…Given that not all citizens have a working knowledge of legal English and Greek, it is plausible that the inaccessible nature of the Rules is a cause of the low number of litigants in person.”[7]

Another big problem is the lack of digitalisation. In Cyprus, there is a general lack of internal IT infrastructure and facilities, and a general absence of online public services. Mouttotos observes that the absence of the necessary infrastructure for electronic justice to act as a tool in the circumstances of the global COVID-19 pandemic has been detrimental.[8] Unclear rules and the lack of digitalisation, which brings with it many bureaucratic issues, also lead to a very slow process of justice. The delays in the administration of justice in Cyprus have also been pointed out in reports such as the European Union’s Justice Scoreboard,[9] the World Bank’s Doing Business Reports[10] as well as European Commission papers on Cyprus.[11] Moreover, Mouttotos observes that “The situation in Cyprus, with its excessive delays, drives market forces to strategical behaviour of not complying with the law.”[12]

[1] Available at:

[2] Available at:

[3] Available at:

[4] Available at:

[5] Nicholas Mouttotos, ‘Reform of civil procedure in Cyprus: Delivering justice in a more efficient and timely way,’ (2020) Common Law World Review 2020, Vol 49(2) 99–130; Nicolas Kyriakides, ‘Civil procedure reform in Cyprus: looking to England and beyond’ (2017) Oxford University Commonwealth Law Journal, 6.

[6] Kyriakides (5) 6.

[7] Kyriakides (5) 6.

[8] Mouttotos (5) 128.

[9] The 2019 EU Justice Scoreboard, Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Central Bank, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions COM (2019) 198/2.

[10] Doing Business 2019: Training for Reform (16th edn World Bank Group 2019).

[11] Recommendation for a Council Recommendation on the 2016 National Reform Programme of Cyprus and delivering a Council opinion on the 2016 Stability Programme of Cyprus, COM (2016) 333.

[12] Mouttotos (5) 109.