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Lawyers, law firms and legal advice

To help those buying property in Cyprus and assist in other legal matters that may arise, the British High Commission has recently revised its list of lawyers who are able to give advice in English.

THE MOST COMMON MISTAKE people make when buying property in Cyprus is to use a lawyer who has been introduced or recommended to them by a property developer or estate agent, while others fall into the trap of using the ‘free’ legal services offered by some the developers.

These lawyers are not independent and cannot be trusted to represent buyers’ interests properly, effectively and honestly. Be in no doubt, if you are foolish enough to use the services of a lawyer who has been introduced or recommended by a property developer or estate agent, or try to penny-pinch by using the developer’s so-called ‘free’ legal services, it could cost you a great deal of money in the long run!

Before buying property in Cyprus, it is absolutely essential that you take expert, independent legal advice and agree fees before you start looking for property. Do not sign any papers or hand over any money until you have sought advice from an independent lawyer with whom you can communicate effectively.

The British High Commission publishes a list of lawyers who are able to give advice in English to British nationals and their recently updated list is provided below for your information.

British High Commission list of lawyers

Honorary Legal Advisor

Name of LawyerAndreas Neocleous
Partnership representedAndreas Neocleous & Co LLC
Address of PracticeNeocleous House, 195 Archbishop Makarios III Avenue, Limassol
Postal address: P. O. Box 50613, Limassol, CY3608
Other Offices in TownsNicosia, Paphos (also in Moscow, Brussels, Prague, Kiev and Budapest)
Office phone number+357 25110000
Out of hours phone number+357 99381381
Mobile number+357 99381381
Fax number+357 25110001
Email address[email protected]
Website addresshttp://www.neocleous.com
Where qualifiedAndreas Neocleous & Co LLC employs more than 70 lawyers in Cyprus. They are qualified in a variety of jurisdictions, including Cyprus, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Czech Republic, Spain, and Russia.
Professional Association MembershipCyprus Bar; International Bar; English Bar; Roll of Solicitors in England and Wales
Areas of SpecialismCompany and Commercial (Mergers and acquisitions; banking and finance; company restructuring; insolvency) Taxation (International tax planning; general tax planning; trusts) Dispute Resolution (Commercial litigation; international arbitration; employment litigation; family law), Admiralty and Shipping (Ship registration and finance; shipping operations and management; insurance; charter disputes; collision disputes), EU and Competition, Intellectual Property, Construction and Real Estate, Private Client Services
Languages spokenEnglish and Greek

 

Lawyers are listed in alphabetical order

Name of LawyerAntonis Andreou
Law Firm representedAntonis Andreou & Co LLC
Address of Practice23-25 Piliou Street, George Mattheou Court, 5th Floor, 6037 Larnaca.
Postal address: P.O. Box 40391, 6303 Larnaca
Office phone number+357 24828373
Out of hours phone number+357 99657013
Mobile number+357 99657013
Fax number+357 24824424
Email address[email protected]
Website addresshttp://www.antonisandreou.com
Where qualifiedUnited Kingdom – Barrister at Law (Lincoln’s Inn)
Professional Association MembershipCyprus Bar Association
Areas of SpecialismLitigation (commercial disputes, company law, negligence, contract). Company & Commercial Law (registration/administration of companies, mergers & acquisitions, joint ventures) Competition Law Construction & Real Estate (conveyance, land disputes). Wills & Succession (drafting/execution of wills, administration of estates)
Languages spokenEnglish and Greek

Name of LawyerTasos Coucounis
Law Firm representedAndreas Coucounis & Co LLC
Address of Practice9 Archbishop Makarios III Avenue, Lazaros Centre, Suite 101-102, 6017 Larnaca
Postal address: P. O. Box 40519, 6305 Larnaca
Other Offices in TownsNicosia: 1 Archbishop Makarios III Avenue, Mitsis Tower, Suite 205, 1065 Nicosia Paphos: Corner Nic. Nicolaides & Char. Mouskou Building, Suite 302, 8010 Paphos
Office phone number+357 24822460 (Larnaca),+357 22460130 (Nicosia),+357 26930236 (Paphos)
Out of hours phone number+357 99493046
Mobile number+357 99493046
Fax number+357 24626106 (Larnaca),+357 22460133 (Nicosia),+357 26930554 (Paphos)
Email address[email protected]
Website addresshttp://www.coucounis.com
Where qualifiedLLB (King’s College London), Barrister-at-Law, of Gray’s Inn, DES en Droit Européen (Brussels), Diploma in EU Law (EUI), Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Legal Skills (ICSLCITY)
Professional Association MembershipCyprus Bar Association, Bar of England and Wales (Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn), Athens Bar Association, International Bar Association, International Association of Young Lawyers (AIJA), Society of Trust and Estate Planning (STEP), International Tax Planning Association (ITPA), Committees of the Cyprus Bar Association on Shipping, Legislation, Companies and Tax Planning, Family Law, Stock Exchange
Areas of SpecialismImmovable Property Law, Securing Title Deeds, Conveyance, Rent Control Law, Company & Commercial Law, Company Formation & Administration, Mergers & Acquisitions, Banking Law, Insolvency Law, Intellectual Property Law, Tax Law, International Tax & Estate Planning, Trusts Formation & Administration, Private Equity Funds (Setting up & Administration) Litigation (Civil, Criminal, Employment, Family), Debt Recovery, European Union & Competition Law, Shipping & Admiralty Law, Personal Injuries, Negligence, Immigration Law, Administration of Estates, Wills & Probate
Languages spokenEnglish and Greek

Name of LawyerMichael Damianos
Law Firm representedMichael Damianos & Co LLC
Address of PracticeOffice 401, 42E Archbishop Makarios Avenue, Nicosia, 1065, Nicosia
Postal address: P.O.Box 25378, Nicosia – 2063, Cyprus
Office phone number+357 22021212
Out of hours phone number+357 99481462
Mobile number+357 99481462
Fax number+357 22021213
Email address[email protected]
Website addresshttp://www.damianoslaw.com
Where qualifiedEngland, Wales and Cyprus
Professional Association MembershipCyprus Bar Association, Law Society of England and Wales
Areas of SpecialismCorporate Law, Banking and Finance Law, Commercial Law and General Law
Languages spokenEnglish, Greek and French

Name of LawyerChristiana A. Erotokritou
Law Firm representedAndreas P. Erotokritou & Co LLC
Address of Practice1st Floor, Zena Building, 18 Theofani Theodotou Street, 1065 Nicosia, Cyprus
Postal address: P.O.Box 22154, 1518 Nicosia, Cyprus
Office phone number+357 22764466
Out of hours phone number+357 99432277
Mobile number+357 99432277
Fax number+357 22758566
Email address[email protected]
Where qualifiedUnited Kingdom (Members of Lincoln’s Inn, Inns of Court)
Professional Association MembershipCyprus Bar Association and Nicosia Bar Association
Areas of SpecialismLitigation and Conveyancing
Languages spokenEnglish, Greek and German

Name of LawyerYiannos G. Georgiades
Partnership representedGeorgiades & Mylonas
Address of Practice2, Ayios Pavlos & Kadmos Street, 3rd Floor, Wisdom Tower, 1105 Nicosia
Postal address: P.O.Box 24144, Nicosia – 1701, Cyprus
Other Offices in Town64, Lordou Vyronos Street, 1st Floor, Larnaca
Office phone number+357 22819292 (Nicosia), +357 24656496 (Larnaca)
Out of hours phone number+ 357 99639668
Mobile number+ 357 99639668
Fax number+357 22778444(Nicosia), +357 24656281(Larnaca)
Email address[email protected] or [email protected]
Website addresshttp://www.gmadvocates.com or http://www.gmsk.co.uk
Where qualifiedUnited Kingdom and Cyprus Bar Association
Professional Association MembershipBar of England and Wales (Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn), Cyprus Bar Association, The Athens Bar Association, The International Tax Planning Association, AEA Asociacion Europea de Abogados, ITECH Law, The Society for Computers and Law and the International Technology Law Association, The International Bar Association and an associate member of the American Bar Association.
Areas of SpecialismCorporate and Commercial Law, International Trade, International tax planning and EU Law.
Languages spokenEnglish, Greek and Russian

Name of LawyerMichalis Pelekanos
Partnership representedPelekanos & Co- Advocates and Legal Consultants
Address of Practice6 Louki Pieridi Street, Lysion Court, 2nd Floor , Flat 9, Larnaca
Postal address: P.O.Box 42124, 6531 Larnaca
Office phone number+357 24657272
Out of hours phone number+357 99682692
Mobile number+357 99682692
Fax number+357 24653531
Email address[email protected]
Where qualifiedL.L.B.(Hons),University of Kent, Barrister-at-Law of Gray’s Inn, London
Professional Association MembershipBar Association of England and Wales and Cyprus Bar Association
Areas of SpecialismCivil & Criminal litigation, Corporate Law, Family Law, Inheritance and probate jurisdiction, Property Law and contract drafting
Languages spokenEnglish and Greek

Name of LawyerStelios A. Stylianou
Partnership representedNicolaides Stylianou LLC
Address of Practice20 Homer Avenue, 5th Floor, 1097 – Nicosia
Postal address: P.O.Box 21424, Nicosia – 1508, Cyprus
Office phone number+357 22445800
Out of hours phone number+357 99520761
Mobile number+357 99520761
Fax number+357 22445802
Email address[email protected]
Website addresshttp://www.ns-lawyers.com
Where qualifiedUnited Kingdom
Professional Association MembershipBar Association of England and Cyprus Bar Association
Areas of SpecialismCommercial Litigation, Contract and Litigation Law and Land Law
Languages spokenEnglish and Greek

Name of LawyerStelios Triantafyllides
Partnership representedAntis Triantafyllides & Sons LLC
Address of Practice2 – 4 Archbishop Makarios III Avenue, Capital Center, 9th Floor, 1065 – Nicosia
Postal address: P.O.Box 21255, Nicosia – 1505, Cyprus
Office phone number+357 22360000
Out of hours phone number+357 99360000 or +357 99623388
Mobile number+357 99360000 or +357 99623388
Fax number+357 22670670
Email address[email protected]
Website addresshttp://www.triantafyllides.com
Where qualifiedCyprus
Professional Association MembershipCyprus Bar Association
Areas of SpecialismCorporate Law and Litigation
Languages spokenEnglish and Greek

Name of LawyerLouise Zambartas
Partnership representedL. G Zambartas LLC
Address of PracticeEurohouse 1st floor, Spyrou Kyprianou 82, Limassol, 4042, Cyprus
Postal address: P.O.Box 56145, Limassol – 3101, Cyprus
Other Offices in Towns53 Nicolaou Nicolaide Avenue, Office 201, 2nd Floor, Paphos 8010
Office phone number:+357 25373734 (Limassol) +357 26220014 ( Paphos)
Out of hours phone number+357 99477193
Mobile number+357 99477193
Fax number+357 25725502 (Limassol), +357 26911619 (Paphos)
Email address[email protected]
Website addresshttp://www.zambartaslawoffices.com
Where qualifiedUnited Kingdom
Professional Association MembershipUnited Kingdom Law Society and Cyprus Bar Association
Areas of SpecialismPrivate client matters, Civil Litigation and Corporate and Shipping services
Languages spokenEnglish, Greek and Russian

For further information and advice, please visit the website of the British High Commission in Nicosia.

Readers' comments

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  • Eleni Papadopoulou says:

    @Mr. Gavin, I am sorry about your experience. I do not know if my (inside) conception of legal profession is “erroneous”. I did not say that the Cypriot lawyers are excellent; they are not. Particularly, I strongly believe that the most of the (older) property lawyers did not have much specialised education and theoretical knowledge on property matters; they probably obtained some empirical knowledge during the last decades; they learned on you. Why do you trust Cypriot lawyers who are “old” in age? Cypriots did not always have the opportunity to study, the history of Cyprus is known. I also believe that the property lawyers could be found negligent very easily by a court of justice, applying standard rules of law. The problem is that your comments touch all the lawyers of Paphos or even Cyprus…

    I know that there are not many successful disciplinary matters. I cannot offer any statistical report on this. However the reasons may be not because the Disciplinary Board “favours” the lawyers, even though it is composed of lawyers. The same suspicions reasonably exist or may exist as concerns the operation of any “tribunal”, either medical or legal or other (teachers, civil engineers etc), up to the point than the tribunals are composed by the colleagues of the defendant professionals and use their special knowledge to judge specific issues. Many of the claims filed to the Advocates’ Disciplinary Board are not “disciplinary offences” in the terms of law (=criminal offences which involve moral turpitude, or disgraceful, fraudulent or unprofessional conduct), or they may be interpreted in accordance with the whole situation in Cyprus. Of course the complainant (or a convicted advocate or the Attorney General) has the right to appeal against any decision of the Disciplinary Board. The Supreme Court has the jurisdiction to review the whole case and either to confirm the decision of the Disciplinary Board or to set it aside or to make such order as if may think fit. There is always the possibility for anyone to file a costly and risky court claim for professional negligence if this is the case.

  • Costas Apacket says:

    I have now read the article by LZ regards the Top Ten Clauses that should be in a contract of sale at http://www.news.cyprus-property-buyers.com/2008/03/12/top-10-property-contract-clauses/id=00334

    In the next week or so I am going to check this ‘Top Ten List’ with what is actually in my Contract of Sale, which was, incidentally, drawn up by one of the major companies shown on the BHC list above.

    I will hold any specific comments until I have completed my check, but just from memory I am pretty sure that a number of the ‘must have’ clauses are not in my CoS.

    More to come….

  • Gavin Jones says:

    Eleni Papadopoulou. (7th. September).

    I feel that I must put you right regarding your erroneous conception that the Cypriot legal profession is not that bad – and especially when comparing it to that in other countries.

    You state that “If we decided to invest here we have to respect this country, its laws…”.

    I have to inform you that the Cypriot legal ‘profession’ is nothing short of a disgrace and has long ago relinquished any respect held by Cypriots, let alone expatriates. Its regulatory authority, the Disciplinary Board of Advocates, is a toothless body which defends its members at the expense of the public. How many Cypriot lawyers have been struck off for negligent or fraudulent behaviour? NONE.

    What would you feel if your deceased mother’s lawyer obtained control of her assets by removing you as an executor of her will and submitting affidavits to the court stating that (a) you weren’t living in Cyprus when you had been for a long time, (b) stating that she’s died in England when this had occurred in Paphos and (c) backdated her death by 9 years from 2007 to 1998? The Disciplinary Board exonerated this Paphos lawyer by stating that his statements were “clerical errors” and he’s allowed to continue practising. You may well ask whether these facts are true or mere hearsay. I can assure you that they’re true because the above happened to me.

    Corruption and sleazy behaviour are endemic when it comes to your beloved Cypriot legal ‘profession’.

    (For the record, my mother was Cypriot).

    Also for the record, I gave one of the above mentioned law practices an important commission and yet after repeated phone calls, emails, etc. to monitor progress, I wasn’t afforded the courtesy of a reply and heard nothing more. Caveat emptor.

  • @andy – I published an article nearly four years ago on how to avoid the bad apples in the legal profession.

  • andyp says:

    @ Nigel. The trouble is Nigel that in my experience the lawyers have a tendency to, how shall I put it, lie. I spoke to 3 before I ended up with the Stigette. All well very plausible and none were involved with the selling developer according to them. How wrong was I? No answer required.

    To be perfectly frank the few bad apples in the Cyprus system have quite simply made it virtually impossible for the average Joe to trust any of them. Until the Cyprus Bar steps up to the plate and starts to clean house there will always be suspicion. If buyers are suspicious of lawyers no one buys and everyone in Cyprus loses, one way or another.

    @ Eleni. Your penultimate paragraph is wrong. In 2009 The Cyprus Supreme Court ruled that lawyers had failed in their duties where for example buyers ended up with a developers mortgage which they knew nothing about. I think we all know that a substantial number of buyers are affected by this therefore your lawyers have a lot to answer for. This just does not happen in the UK although I am sure there are a few crooks here too but nothing compared to the scale in Cyprus.

  • Alan Waring says:

    Regrettably, the Cyprus Bar Association which we should all be able to rely on is not really an independent professional regulatory body (unlike the UK Bar Association and the Law Society). The CBA and its Disciplinary Board of Advocates are together more like a trade protection guild to protect CBA members, not to protect clients and the public from the acts and omissions of individual members that are alleged to be negligent and/or corrupt. It is not for nothing that the CBA/DBA has become known as the ‘Black Hole of Nicosia’ – legitimate complaints go in but nothing comes out.

    @Eleni. As you say, Cyprus law and practice are different to the UK’s. Two problems with this. First, govt ministers, developers and even lawyers constantly tell everyone that Cyprus property law is almost identical to the UK’s and so buyers have nothing to worry about. They should stop peddling this lie. Second, Cyprus cannot ring-fence itself when it comes to standards, whether legal, commercial or whatever – not unless it wishes to continue to suffer in the marketplace and be seen by the EU as an embarrassment. If Cyprus wishes to continue to apply dumbed-down standards then it must be prepared to suffer the inevitable consequences.

  • @Andrew – my advice to anyone wishing to buy a property is to engage the services of a lawyer who is independent of anyone else involved in the transaction.

    This is precisely the way that you approach buying a property in the UK, so why should buying a property in Cyprus be any different?

    @Eleni – you mentioned the names of lawyers in your comments and I have removed these. I know for a fact that one of those lawyers works in close co-operation with the MD of a property development company in Paphos. They even share the same telephone number!!!

  • Andrew says:

    This could be amusing if it was not so so shameful.

    A conveyancing lawyer cannot be trusted when he or she is recommended by a developer or a real estate agent. Does this then mean that the same lawyer will be trustworthy if he or she is working for a client when not recommended by an agent or developer.

    Or to put it another way. Lawyers appear to adopt clear double standards. Because all of the lawyers listed will have been recommended by a developer or agent at some time or another.

    The Cyprus Bar Association should look long and hard.

  • Eleni Papadopoulou says:

    There is not any requirement for Cypriot lawyers to be registered with any UK body or organisation. None of the lawyers who are registered only with a UK organisation is considered to be qualified or sufficient if he/she does not satisfy the requirements set by the Cyprus Bar Association (passing the exams on Cyprus Laws – a course like a bar). Cyprus is not a British colony any more, it is an independent country with its own laws, which are based on English law for interpretation purposes, up to the point that Cyprus is a common law country. If we decided to be moved and invest here we have to respect this country, its laws and people, without expecting to bring our own country here! How many claims were made against those people who have promoted Cyprus as a perfect place for investments? They have probably misinformed you and urged you to make a false decision…

    Of course there are law firms that are not included to that list and offer very good services in Paphos. The firms that the High Commission suggests are good and offer perfect services, but they have so many cases, so many people and they also charge a lot of unnecessary fees in order to do the same work. One of them has office in Paphos with a very young female lawyer who is more experienced (and excellent) in litigation matters, but without experience in property matters; she could not help me and she was honest that the property matters are undertaken by her colleagues in other city.

    If the title deeds system in Cyprus is problematic, this does not mean that the lawyers are negligent, even though they could be so in UK with reference to UK situation and UK law.

    Why all the other buyers (Cypriots, Russians etc), who also bought their properties using developers and lawyers, do not make complaints about the lawyers? Why Cypriot lawyers should be pay for our lost dream to have a perfect life in Cyprus?

  • Alan Waring says:

    Please note that the fact that a particular lawyer is not on the list does not necessarily imply that he/she is somehow dodgy, defective or inefficient.

    For example, one of the law firms I have used for the past 7 years with satisfaction (for conveyancing and general) is not on the list, mainly I suspect because they do not see the pressing need since conveyancing is a relatively small part of their business. Based in Nicosia, the firm is one of the oldest and largest in Cyprus.

  • Andrew says:

    So there we have it. All the other lawyers registered with the Cyprus Bar are simply masquerading as professionals. Most of them knowingly misrepresent their trusting clients.

    There is no guarantee that a qualified (usually in the UK) lawyer in Cyprus will ever be held to account for misrepresenting their clients. We should also state, that if the facts were made known then most people who are without title deeds would never have paid for a home in Cyprus. Shame on Cyprus!

  • hector says:

    Who would want to buy a property in Cyprus these days?

  • JaneDoe says:

    @Mr.Frazer, Why would there be a problem if these firms have only branches in Paphos? It seems to be safer if the lawyers in Paphos are controlled by lawyers of another city.

  • @jon frazer – to answer your question about Paphos lawyer, you may find the article by Antonis Loizou at http://www.news.cyprus-property-buyers.com/2010/06/04/well-meaning-or-crooked-lawyers/id=005041 ‘illuminating’.

  • @Costas Apacket – There is a list of the ‘Top 10’ clauses that should be included in your contract of sale at http://www.news.cyprus-property-buyers.com/2008/03/12/top-10-property-contract-clauses/id=00334

    With the changes brought about by the new Specific Performance Law, buyers may now repay any developer’s loan to the bank (and deduct that figure from the amount they pay the developer).

    You may also find the article at http://www.cyprus-property-buyers.com/law/how-can-a-lawyer-help.htm useful.

  • jon frazer says:

    I would be interested in learning the criteria which the BHC employed when compiling the above list. I certainly do trust their advice, and am aware of the very good reputations of several of the listed lawyers. I note that all but a couple of the names in the list have no Paphos office, and are based in either Nicosia, Limassol or Larnaca. The exceptions only have branches in Paphos.

    Considering the extent of ex-pat property ownership (?) in the Paphos district, it seems a remarkable fact that the BHC has been unable to recommend a single firm with a head office in Paphos.

    Is there something about Paphos lawyers?

  • Costas Apacket says:

    This is good advice, however one of the companies on the BHC list, who drew up our contract of sale in 2005, was criticised by one of the other companies on the BHC list because they had left out some very important clauses which would have offered us better protection.

    Perhaps it would be useful if one of these solicitors ‘recommended’ in the BHC list could publish the key (generic) clauses that should be written into every contract of sale, so that any new Cypriot property purchasers, (if there are any left), could ensure that their contract of sale at least includes these ‘essential’ clauses to protect them.

    Surely this would be very easy to do?

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