Friday, 27 March 2009

The Apostolides v Orams Case - An Update

See January 2010 Judgement report here



"The Apostolides v Orams Case - An Update"
Legal Issues, Political Significance and Practical

A talk by Constantis Candounas

Chairman: Alper Riza, QC

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Wednesday 25 March 2009
London School of Economics
European Institute

Details of the judgement on 28th April 2009 is visible at this blog here

Brief Abstract:

Mr Constantis Candounas was born in Nicosia, Cyprus. He studied law at Queen Mary College, London and returned to Cyprus to practise. In 2004 he took up the case of Mr Meletios Apostolides, a Greek Cypriot architect whose family had been forced to abandon their house, orchard and land in Lapithos, north Cyprus in the wake of the Turkish military operation in 1974. The property was given by the administration in the north to a Turkish Cypriot who in due course passed it on to another Turkish Cypriot, who in turn cut off the trees of the orchard and built the skeleton of a villa. The property was eventually acquired by a British couple, David and Linda Orams who completed and further developed the villa. Mr Candounas represented Mr Apostolides in his action before the Nicosia District Court which ordered that the Orams should demolish the villa, return the land to the rightful owner and pay him damages for trespass, plus interest and legal fees. The Orams failed to comply, and Mr Candounas proceeded to register the judgment in the High Court of Justice in London in October 2005 and sought, on the basis of the European Regulation on recognition and enforcement of judgments, to enforce the decision of the Nicosia District Court.

The case made headlines in the UK as it could affect the legal claims of many Greek Cypriots against British users of their properties in the north of Cyprus. The fact that Mrs Cherie Blair, QC represented the Orams at the High Court hearing in July 2006 added to the public interest. In September 2006 Judge Rupert Jack, in a complex and controversial decision, found that Mr and Mrs Orams were indeed trespassers on Mr Apostolides's property but that the High Court had no jurisdiction to enforce the judgment of the Nicosia District Court. In 2007 the Court of Appeal declined to uphold Justice Jack's judgment but instead referred the case to the ECJ for 5 preliminary rulings on points of law. The judgment of the European Court of Justice is expected later on this year, but in the meantime, the Court's Advocate General, J. Kokot's opinion was given on 18.12.08 upholding all of Mr. Apostolides's arguments. The Advocate General's opinion, though by no means binding on the court, is deemed to bear significant importance.

The political significance and practical implications of the decision were discussed by Mr Candounas. This was followed by a Question and Answer session.

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