Administrative Law & Procedures


  • George Valiantis, Advocate, Graduate of Faculty of Law of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
    Senior Associate at L Papaphilippou & Co LLC

What is Administrative Law?

Administrative Law is the set of rules of law relating to the legal means of action of the Public Administration and which regulate the organization and functioning of the State in the narrow sense and of the other bodies of public authority. Administrative Law is part of Public Law. Cypriot Administrative Law has been created and formatted according to the standards of the Greek Administrative Law, which in turn was developed based on the principles of the French Administrative Law. According to case-law of the Supreme Constitutional Court, in the exercise of its revisional jurisdiction, the Court applies the legal principles that are applicable at Continental Law. Nevertheless, there is also influence from the Anglo-Saxon Law.

How is the modern Public Administration in Cyprus established?

In Cyprus, the executive power is exercised by the President of the Republic, the Council of Ministers and the Ministers. In Cyprus, there are currently the following ministries:

  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Ministry of Interior
  • Ministry of Defence
  • Ministry of Finance
  • Ministry of Justice & Public Order
  • Ministry of Education and Culture
  • Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance
  • Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment
  • Ministry of Communications and Works
  • Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism
  • Ministry of Health

Each Ministry has specific functions which are determined by the relevant Law. The Council of Ministers exercise executive authority on all matters that are not specifically delegated to another body. The governance of the Republic of Cyprus is exercised by the Public Service, as well as by the institutions of Self Administration (Special and Local). In Cyprus, there are two types of Local Self Administration: Municipalities and Community Authorities.

Which are the sources of the Cypriot Administrative Law?

  • The Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus.
  • Laws enacted by the House of Representatives.
  • Administrative Regulatory Acts.
  • The case-law of the Supreme Court. In Cyprus, the principle of binding precedent of judicial decisions applies -as in England.
  • The General Principles of Administrative Law. In 1999, the General Principles of Administrative Law were codified by the “Law of the General Principles of Administrative Law 1999” (Law 158(1)/99)”.
  • European Community Law. After the accession of the Republic of Cyprus in the European Union in 2004, the Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus was amended so that European Law prevails over Cypriot Law.

What jurisdiction does the Supreme Court of Cyprus have?

Due to political unrest, in 1964 the functioning of the Supreme Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court became impossible. As a result, by virtue of the Administration of Justice Law of 1964, the modern Supreme Court was established, which is vested with all the powers which were exercised by the above two Courts. Thus, the Modern Supreme Court of Cyprus has the following jurisdiction:

  • Adjudicating upon Recourses of the President or the Vice President of the Republic against the decision or Law of the House of Representatives, if they are discriminatory to one of the two communities.
  • Pre-emptive control of the Constitutionality of the Laws.
  • Repressive Control of the Constitutionality of the Laws.
  • Adjudicating upon applications by the Attorney General, with reference to whether there is reason which prevents the President of the Republic from actively fulfilling his duties.
  • Interpretation of the Constitution in case of vagueness and resolving inconsistencies between two texts of the Constitution.
  • Adjudicating upon references of the Public Service Commission.
  • Adjudicating upon electoral objections.
  • Adjudicating upon Admiralty disputes.
  • Issuing the prerogative orders of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto, certiorari.
  • Acting as a Court of First Instance in cases which a Law may assign to it.
  • Adjudicating upon all appeals.
  • Forming a Judicial Council.
  • Exclusive jurisdiction of annulling and controlling the validity of administrative decisions, acts and omissions, in accordance with Article 146 of the Constitution. This provision is the basis of the Revisional Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and is the foundation of Administrative Law in Cyprus.

What is the nature and extent of the Supreme Court’s power during its revisional jurisdiction?

According to Article 146 of the Constitution, the Supreme Court has exclusive jurisdiction to decide for every recourse which is filed against a decision, act or omission of any organ, authority or person exercising an executive or administrative function. Due to the enactment of exclusive jurisdiction, the judicial control of any administrative act can not to be assigned to any other court. The Supreme Court, after trying a recourse, may:

  • ratify in whole or in part the act or omission challenged
  • annul in whole or in part the act or decision challenged
  • declare the omission in whole or in part void

Thus, the Supreme Court of Cyprus in its revisional jurisdiction operates as an annulling Court and not as a Court of substance. The Court proceeds to review the legality of the administrative decision or act and not to exercise a purposive control. It may annul an administrative decision or act; it cannot, however, amend or replace it with its own decision. Of course, as it will be explained below, it is up to the Administration to comply with the decision of the Supreme Court For the above reasons, the relative judicial proceeding should be referred to more correctly as “Application for Annulment” instead of “Recourse”.

What is the relevant judicial proceeding?

The judicial proceeding is known as “Recourse”, but the correct way to refer to is “Application for Annulment”. The Application for Annulment is made within 75 days from the date of when the decision or act was published or -if not published and in the case of an omission- from the date when it came to the knowledge of the person making the recourse. If the application has not been filed within the said time limit, the recourse should fail as filed out of time. The Application for Annulment can only be filed against executory administrative acts and omissions.  The following cannot be challenged by a recourse:

  • Regulatory Administrative Acts
  • Acts of Private Law
  • Acts of the Government
  • Administrative measures of internal nature
  • Preparatory Acts
  • Acts of Execution
  • Opinions – Acts of an informative nature
  • Confirmatory Acts

The Applicant can only be a person who has a present immediate and personal legitimate interest.

What are the remedies available to the administrated party who has suffered damage by the administrative act that has been cancelled and what is the procedure followed?

The Supreme Court itself does not proceed in repairing and remedying the damage cause during and by reason of the illegal act. The person aggrieved must file an action for damages at the civil courts, having as a cause of action the damage caused by the illegal act.

The damage must be proved. It consists of the loss or damage which the plaintiff suffers by reason of the act which constitutes the cause of action. The specific cause of action is based on Article 146(6) of the Constitution, which provides for “just and reasonable” compensation and which is a cause sui generis. Thus, the rules determining damages are different from those under common law. It has been decided by case law that moral damage does not form an immediate consequence of the annulled illegal administrative act and it is not covered.

What is the procedure followed during examination of the Application for Annulment by the Supreme Court of Cyprus?

(I) The procedure begins with the filing of the application for annulment by the Applicant. The said Application has a specified Form which must be complied with. The application must, amongst others, contain the name of the Respondent (i.e. the administrative organ which issued the act challenged), the requested remedy, the legal reasons (i.e. reasons cited by the Applicant in order to annul the administrative act, being challenged) and, in summary, all essential facts. The common reasons for annulment are the following:

  • Lack of competency
  • Violation of the provisions of the Constitution and the Law
  • Procedural Irregularity
  • Lack of adequate reasoning
  • Violation of the principle of equality
  • Violation of the principle of natural justice
  • Improper exercise of discretionary power.
  • Abuse of power
  • Factual and legal error
  • Lack of due inquiry
  • Violation of the principle of proper administration

(II) The Respondent must file an opposition within 21 days, in a specified form.

(III) During trial, an interested party may intervene if he has a legitimate interest as to whether or not the act is annulled.

(IV) The Applicant has a right to inspect the administrative file.

(V) Written submissions are filed by the parties, which specify the issues under dispute:

  • Firstly, the written submission of the Applicant is filed;
  • Secondly, the Respondent and interested parties file their submissions;  and
  • Finally, the Applicant may submit a written answer.

(VI) The case will be fixed for final clarifications and to file the administrative file at Court. Judgement is reserved.

(VII) The Supreme Court, while adjudicating upon Applications for Annulment, applies an inquisitorial system with broad power. In an administrative trial, the judgment of the Court cannot put the Applicant in a worse position than before.

In most cases, when one of the reasons for annulment put forward by the Applicant is satisfied, the decision challenged will be annulled and the Court will not move on to consider the other reasons.

What costs are paid during the procedure of an Application for Annulment and a Revisional Appeal?

Applications for Annulment:

  • The Applicant pays a fee of approximately €90 in order to file his Application.
  • The Respondent and the interested party pays approximately a fee of € 35 in order to file an appearance.

Upon Appeal:

  • The Appellant pays a fee of approximately € 120 in order to file his appeal.
  • The Respondent will pay approximately a fee of € 52 in order to file an appearance. The legal costs vary and depend upon the subject matter and the nature of each case. With its judgement, the Court will grant an order as to costs in favour of one of the parties. Such issue falls within the Court’s discretion. As a rule, costs will follow the result of the trial.

What are the main matters that fall within the control of the Supreme Court during its revisional jurisdiction?

Matters related and/or resulting from:

  • Appointments, promotions, transfers of public officers.
  • Administrative decisions related to the status quo of the public officers.
  • Disciplinary Penalties imposed by the Administration on a public officer and, generally, on an administrated party.
  • Decisions of the administration for the compulsory acquisition of immovable private property.
  • Decisions of the administration for the requisition of private movable and immovable property.
  • Decisions of the administration for the preparation of local plans and the determination of plan zones.
  • Decisions of the Administration to applications filed by an administrated party for planning development of immovable property.
  • Restrictions to the private immovable property, generally.
  • Denial of the administration to reply to a request of an administrated party.
  • Imposition of income tax.
  • Obligations and Social Security Benefits and pensions.
  • Decisions on collection of public revenues.
  • Decisions of the Registrar of Trademarks, Patents and Intellectual Property matters for a trademark registration in the Registry.
  • Decisions of the Foundation for Public Scholarships.
  • Executory Administrative Acts of the National Guard. L Papaphilippou & Co LLC
  • Administrative Decisions of the Civil Registry and Migration, regarding the residence of a foreigner in the Republic of Cyprus, deportations, expulsions of asylum-seekers.
  • Administrative Decisions of registration and licensing of motor vehicles.
  • Administrative Contracts (public works contracts, public supplies contracts, public services contracts).
  • Executory Administrative Decisions of semi-government organisations, within the boundaries of their competency, such as:
    • Human Resource Development Authority of Cyprus
    • Electricity Authority of Cyprus
    • Cyprus State Fairs Authority
    • Cyprus Ports Authority
    • Cyprus Telecommunications  Authority
    • Central Agency for Equal Distribution of Burdens
    • Cyprus Land Development Corporation
    • Cyprus Tourism Organisation
    • Youth Board of Cyprus
    • Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation
  • Executory Administrative Decisions of the Central Bank of Cyprus.
  • Executory Administrative Decisions of the University of Cyprus, Higher Hotel Institute Cyprus, The Cyprus University of Technology.
  • Executory Administrative Decisions of independent administrative authorities, within the boundaries of their competences/powers:
  • Tenders Review Authority
  • Office of the Commissioner for Personal Data Protection
  • Commission for the Protection of Competition
  • Independent Authority for the Investigation of Allegations and Complaints against the Police
  • Office of the Commissioner of Electronic Communications and Postal
  • National Bioethics Commission
  • Commissioner’s for Children’s Rights
  • Gender Equality Committee
  • Cyprus Energy Regulatory Authority
  • Refugee Reviewing Authority
  • Cyprus Broadcasting Authority
  • Decisions of the Central Administration, through its Ministries, for all the matters falling within its competency.
  • Decisions of the Local Authorities (Municipalities & Communities) for all the matters falling within their competency.
  • Decisions of generally all the administrative organs, within their competences.

Is there a possibility to stay the enforceability of an administrative judgement?

According to the presumption of legality of administrative acts, an administrative act is immediately enforceable once it has been issued. As an exception to the above rule, the Supreme Court has a discretionary power to issue interim orders by which the validity and enforcement of the administrative acts under dispute are suspended (stayed) until the trial is completed. According to case law, the Applicant must prove a clear and obvious illegality or that he will suffer irreparable damage if the administrative act is not stayed. In relation to the latter, reasons of public interest may prevent the stay of proceedings if the stay as such creates problems within the Administration that cannot be overcome. Negative Administrative Acts cannot be suspended.

How are parties represented during trial?

The Applicants and interested parties may appear before the Court in person or may be represented by an advocate. The Republic of Cyprus is represented by the Attorney General of the Republic, which according to the Constitution is the legal adviser of the Republic.

What is the judicial proceeding used against the judgement of the Supreme Court of Cyprus in its revisional jurisdiction?

As stated above, the Supreme Court has the jurisdiction to adjudicate upon an Appeal filed against the judgment of first instance issued by the Judge to whom adjudication of the Application for Annulment was assigned to. The remedy is called Revisional Appeal and may be submitted by the party against whom the judgment of first instance was issued. Furthermore, the successful party against whom the Revisional Appeal has been filed, has the right to submit a Cross-Appeal in relation to the disputed issues which were decided against him or for the examination of the reasons for annulment which he had raised but had not been examined.

What is the procedure followed in a Revisional Appeal?

(I) A Revisional Appeal is filed within 42 days from the issue of the first instance judgment, through the filing of a written Notice of Appeal. The Notice of Appeal must contain the grounds of Appeal and set forth fully the reasons relied upon for the grounds stated.

(II) If there is a Cross-Appeal, this will be filed within the service of the Notice, within 4 weeks of the Service of the Notice of Appeal.

(III) The Revisional Appeal will be fixed for Pre-Trial before the Court of Appeal. At this stage the Court will examine procedural issues and issues relating to the procedural admissibility.

(IV) In most cases, the Court of Appeal, during Pre-Trial, issues directions for the submission of an outlined address by the parties, in relation to the disputed issues.

(V) The outlined address of the Appellant is filed within 45 days from the date upon which directions were given for the submission of an outlined address.

(VI) The outlined address of the Respondent is filed within 45 days from the date the outlined address of the Appellant has been served to the Respondent.

(VII) The Appeal is fixed for Hearing. The Appellant will begin with his submissions, the Respondent will answer and finally the Appellant will have a right to answer back.

(VIII) Judgment is reserved.

Does the Administration have an obligation to comply with the judgements of the Supreme Court of Cyprus?

According to Article 146(5) of the Constitution, the Administration is obliged to fully comply with the decisions of the Supreme Court, in the exercise of its revisional jurisdiction, which are binding. The annulling judgment of the Supreme Court has a power Erga omnes. Firstly, the Administration is obliged to restore the situation as it was before the issue of the decisions annulled and, once it has done so, to re-examine the case before it, fully complying with the binding annulling judgement of the Court. During re-examination, the Administration must base its decision upon the legal and factual status quo applicable at the time when the decision was originally issued. In Cyprus, unfortunately, there are a lot of examples where the Administration -illegally and in violation of every principle of justice and in violation of Precedent- insist on their initial decision and, as a result, the administrated party is forced to file an Application for Annulment based on breach of precedent.




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