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E-Trials & Virtual Courtrooms: A possible solution to Court Lockdown

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Editor: Anastasios Tsanakas, Lawyer Numerous Jurisdictions, including the Republic of Cyprus have decided as part of their measures for the prevention of Covid 19 transmission, the suspension of Court operations. Nevertheless and for obvious reasons there can be no universal lockdown to the administration of justice. A possible solution to the imposed restrictions that inhibit justice accessibility is the development and establishment of “e-trials”. In the UK, an entire trial is being conducted over Skype in a legal first that lawyers say could be a model way to ensure court business continues during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Judge, is asked to decide whether it is in the best interests of a 70 years old man that suffered a major stroke in 2016 to have the clinically assisted nutrition and hydration he receives through a tube, withdrawn. The patient’s daughter and GP disagree over his treatment and the local clinical commissioning group has asked the court to determine the course to take…

ECHR: The pre-trial detention of a judge breached the Convention

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Ιn its judgment (3.3.2020) in the case of Baş v. Turkey (application no. 66448/17) the European Court of Human Rights held: by six votes to one, that there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) of the European Convention on Human Rights as regards the alleged unlawfulness of the applicant’s initial pre-trial detention; unanimously, that there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 of the Convention on account of the lack of reasonable suspicion, at the time of the applicant’s initial pre-trial detention, that he had committed an offence, and unanimously, that there had been a violation of Article 5 § 4 (right to speedy review of the lawfulness of detention) on account of the length of the period during which the applicant had not appeared in person before a judge. The case concerned the pre-trial detention of Mr Baş, a judge at the time, following the attempted coup of 15 July 2016. The Court found that according to the case-law of the Court of Cassation…

Coronavirus as force majeure event - The impact on contracts

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by George Kazoleas, Lawyer LL.M The rapid spread of coronavirus worldwide has crucial effects in social and economic life. The regularity of transactions has been disrupted and the normal evolution of many aspects of economic and commercial activity has been reversed. According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause disease in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses cause respiratory infections, influenza and more serious illnesses such as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus causes COVID-19. Coronavirus as force majeure It depends on the circumstances if the spread of the virus can be regarded as a cause of force majeure that prevents or inhibits the fulfillment of contractual obligations. The European Commission states that there is force majeure if the incident or its non-fulfillment "is due to circumstances other than tho…

New Insolvency Measures Introduced by the British Government Bring Relief to UK Companies and their Directors

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By Chris Iacovides & Andri Antoniou* Whilst the UK is taking proactive measures to aid ailing companies and businesses from the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak, one cannot help but wonder what the Cyprus government will do since the Examinership regime introduced as part of the rescue culture in 2015, failed miserably. The UK may have been slower off the mark than many other countries in their fight against coronavirusnevertheless, the authorities have now ramped up the speed and scale of the measures being implemented to protect their national health system and the economy. On Friday 27 March 2020, the British Government went to the extent of introducing more flexible insolvency procedures to help businesses. According to Alok Sharma, UK’s Business Secretary, the following measures will take effect retrospectively from March 1st for 3 months during the coronavirus pandemic. Under the plans, new restructuring tools will be added to the UK’s Insolvency Framework including: A morat…

A passenger who reserved his or her flight through a travel agency may bring an action for compensation for a long flight delay against the air carrier before the courts of the place of departure of the flight

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Ιn its Judgment in Case C-215/18 Libuše Králová v Primera Air Scandinavia A/S, ECJ ruled that a passenger who reserved his or her flight through a travel agency may bring an action for compensation for a long flight delay against the air carrier before the courts of the place of departure of the flight. Notwithstanding the absence of a contract between that passenger and the carrier, such an action comes within ‘matters relating to a contract’ within the meaning of the regulation on jurisdiction, with the result that it may be brought before the courts of the place of supply of the air carriage service. Ms Libuše Králová entered into a package travel contract with a Czech travel agency consisting of, first, carriage by air between Prague (Czech Republic) and Keflavík (Iceland), operated by the Danish air carrier Primera Air Scandinavia, and, second, accommodation in Iceland. Ms Libuše Králová’s Prague-Keflavík flight, of 25 April 2013 was delayed by four hours. She subsequently broug…

Brexit: Consequences for the Court of Justice of the European Union

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The Court of Justice takes formal notice of the fact that the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the EU has the effect of bringing to an end the mandates of the British Members of the Institution with effect from 31 January 2020 at midnight.  The number of Judges of the Court of Justice and of the General Court, fixed at one for each Member State for the Court of Justice and two for each Member State for the General Court, is therefore reduced with immediate effect at the time of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.  On the other hand, in accordance with the declaration of the Conference of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States of 29 January 2020 on the consequences of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU for the Advocates General of the Court of Justice, the number of Advocates General of the Court of Justice, fixed at eleven by the Council Decision of 25 June 2013(2013/336/EU: Council Decision of 25 June 2013 increasing the number …

Rule of law in Poland and Hungary has worsened

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The EU’s discussions with Poland and Hungary have not yet led these countries to realign with the EU’s founding values, Parliament warned last January. In a resolution adopted with 446 votes to 178 and 41 abstentions, MEPs note that reports and statements by the Commission, the UN, OSCE and the Council of Europe indicate that “the situation in both Poland and Hungary has deteriorated since the triggering of Article 7(1)”. MEPs point out that the hearings organised by the Council under Article 7 of the Treaty are neither regular nor structured. They call on the Council to address concrete recommendations to the countries concerned, including deadlines, to ensure EU law is respected. “The failure by the Council to make effective use of Article 7 continues to undermine the integrity of common European values, mutual trust and the credibility of the European Union as a whole”, claims the EP. The text also urges the Commission to use all tools at its disposal to prevent a serious breach of com…