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UK jurisdiction granted in High Court ruling

The jurisdiction hearing at the High Court in London has concluded that Brits who purchased property in Cyprus can have their cases against their developer heard and decided by the UK court.

THE jurisdiction hearing in the High Court in London has been decided in favour of the claimants; Brits who purchased off-plan property in Cyprus from Alpha Panareti and its agents.

Lawyers acting on behalf of the claimants had brought a case of negligent misrepresentation and breach of contract against the defendant Alpha Panareti in the High Court. However, the defendant challenged the jurisdiction of the Court arguing that the rightful jurisdiction was Cyprus.

Master Whitaker, who heard the case, rejected the defendant’s arguments and concluded that actions against Alpha Panareti, brought by lawyers acting on behalf of the claimants could be heard and decided in the UK, including claimants from Scotland.

The defendant may seek leave to appeal the decision once a written judgement has been handed down.

Messages flooded into Facebook once the ruling was announced congratulating the claimants and Dr Katherine Alexander-Theodotou and the Highgate Hill team who argued their case successfully in the High Court. Others spoke of the sense relief that filled the court room when Master Whittaker gave his judgement.

We understand that the ruling only applies to a narrow band of consumers; specifically to those who signed contracts in the UK to purchase property in Cyprus.


In April 2011, MEP David Martin raised a question in the European Parliament concerning Alpha Panareti in which he referred to a “fraudulent property scheme” that “continues to affect thousands of EU citizens”.

In October 2011, BBC Inside Out North East and Cumbria broadcast an investigation into a 500 million pound property investment scheme involving Alpha Panareti and why advice given by a Teesside estate agent may not add up.

We understand that the Police are continuing their investigations.

Readers' comments

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  • @Janner – The written judgement is a few weeks away, but I hope to have some more information soon.

    The defendants may not be given the right to seek an appeal.

  • Janner says:

    When can we expect to see the written judgement? This, potentially, has huge impact for all purchasers. The flood gates may be open! I wonder how long the appeal will take?

  • Denton Mackrell says:

    @mharpen. That is most interesting and I await to see what Nigel makes of the written judgement. However, the statement that you quote does not actually say what you claim: it refers to ‘the claimants’ not ‘claimants’ or ‘any claimant on any claim’. I could be wrong and end up eating my hat again, of course!

    Nigel, over to you!

  • @mharpen – That’s great news – I haven’t seen the written judgement – can you please send me a copy via the Contact page.


  • mharpen says:

    Actually this doesn’t apply to a narrow band of consumers. The High Court stated the following:
    ‘As consumers, the claimants are entitled to sue in their place of domicile. It is a perfectly legitimate exercise in this jurisdiction.’

    So even if you signed all the paperwork in Cyprus, you still have the right to sue in your PLACE of domicile. It applies to all, irrelevant who you bought through.

  • Denton Mackrell says:

    As Nigel’s piece states, this is not a blanket declaration covering all properties in Cyprus bought by foreigners, only those where buyers were allegedly mis-sold to by Alpha Panareti’s various agents in the UK. If other developers are alleged to have been doing something similar in the UK, presumably this declaration may make it easier for plaintiffs to also get a UK jurisdiction declaration.

    I can’t see such jurisdiction being granted where there is no part of the sales process taking place in the UK. More’s the pity!

  • @Costas Apacket – Before taking any form of action through the UK courts, they would need to have jurisdiction granted in the UK.

    This is what the Alpha Panareti buyers have achieved – they have been granted the right to have their cases of negligent misrepresentation and breach of contract heard in the UK.

    If those cases are decided in their favour by the UK court, they can then seek to have that decision enforced in Cyprus via a European Enforcement Order.

  • Costas Apacket says:

    Nigel – So are you saying that if a group of UK citizens, who bought Cypriot property, decided to take joint action through the UK Courts about non issue of Title Deeds after a reasonable length of time then this could be a route forwards?

  • Ann Othervictim says:

    Hopefully this now gives hope for victims of other rip-off developers in Cyprus too. Maybe light at the end of the long black tunnel?

  • @Costas Apacket – Have you won an uncontested claim in the UK for the non-delivery of your Title Deeds in court? If so, you can seek to have that decision enforced in Cyprus via a European Enforcement Order.

  • Costas Apacket says:

    OK Nigel, good link, now here’s a question for you.

    Compare these:

    1st the example given in the EEO document:

    Example: I ordered and paid for a washing machine from France, but the washing machine never arrived. I took my case to the local county court and obtained a default judgment. I now want to enforce the judgment. I will apply to the local county court for the judgment to be certified as an EEO and once it is certified I will enforce it using the French enforcement procedures.

    Vs My Example: I ordered and paid for a house in Cyprus, but I’m still not the legal owner over 5 years later. Even though I paid the Developer in full for my property, they have still not issued me with a Legal Title Deed for my property………..

    What do you think my chances are?

  • Conor O'Dwyer says:

    I attended the hearing at the High Court, London and took notes for others which I’ll post online. I am having my lawyer Yiannos Georgiades look over my work before I upload. It is important that I’m accurate with the cases cited etc.

    There are many developments in Cyprus built on misrepresentations of golf courses, marinas and false rental income. These investments were to be holiday homes and pension plans for hard working people. Of course the ramifications of this judgement may not stop at the buy to let investors. Those who intended to move or retired to Cyprus based on misrepresentations in the UK may also have a strong claim. These misrepresentations range from having title deeds to having basics like mains electricity supplied. If these buyers are now domicile in the UK and they can anchor the misrepresentation to a sales pitch here, then this judgement may also be relevant. It may matter little that the contract was signed in Cyprus especially if that was on a buying trip. Also, terms binding contracts to the laws of Cyprus were also dismissed in this judgement. The misrepresentations given preceded such terms and these clumsy attempts of jurisdiction appear outdated by the EU consumer regulations. I guess the Cyprus Mail did not cover this on Sunday as they also want clarification today from the legal teams involved. These are my thoughts and observations so far but the next few days will be telling.

    Please note: This judgement does not directly help my family’s situation. I am waiting judgement in my main case. Among various tasks I am chasing the criminal appeals against Karayiannas for the unlawful selling of my house and the second assault. I spoke to the prosecutor for the second assault last week and he too is disgusted with the delays. A High Court order has been issued for the documents held at the district court. My cases were lengthy and Cyprus does not use court stenographers. I am waiting for documents in four cases now for various reason. I’ll do a full update soon and have a lot to upload to my website.

  • @Peter & @Stuart

    The process of getting a court judgement issued in one EU member state enforced in another is by way of a ‘European Enforcement Order’ (Regulation (EC) No 805/2004) for uncontested claims.

    Her Majesty’s Courts Service has produced a leaflet that explains how to apply for an order, etc. You may find it at European Enforcement Order (EEO).

  • Peter G Davis says:

    @Stuart.. Not all contracts contain this condition, mine didn’t. But once judgement is given in another EU country a request can be forwarded for Cyprus to enforce judgement and there is nothing Cyprus can do to block it, regardless of the Cypriot Governments feelings.

  • Nick Charalambous says:

    Lets not jump the gun. All that’s been ruled so far is jurisdiction. The bigger battle is ahead.

  • Maxwell Hannah says:

    At last, looks like something could be done about Titles and other wrongs done

  • Costas Apacket says:

    I feel that the timing of this, and other likely actions to come, will start to have an effect on the systems in Cyprus, but not without a concerted effort by all concerned.

    The snake is bound to wriggle furiously.

  • Denton Mackrell says:

    Well done! I am currently eating my hat, as I doubted that the court would allow the scope to include the developer in Cyprus, only the agents in the UK.

  • Martyn says:

    A good First Step in the right direction, it’ll intensify the focus on Cyprus itself, and Yes the upcoming Cyprus EU Presidency – assuming the country doesn’t exit with Greece before its over! – will help turn bigger brighter spotlights on many of the shameful things that have been going on for far too long in/around the property, construction and legal industries/professions (?) in this country.

  • Stuart says:

    UK contracts normally state within their Terms and Conditions which country’s laws apply in the event of a legal dispute arising. English law is the most common.

    As in all civil court actions, obtaining judgement against the Defendant does not necessarily mean the Complainant gets the compensation he or she seeks.

    Enforcement proceedings may have to be commenced with no guarantee of success as a determined Defendant can often defeat all attempts to seize goods, property or money.

    It will be interesting to see what happens next.

  • Nick - Larnaca, Cyprus says:

    Excellent news for the affected owners – and a timely reminder to the authorities in Cyprus that the world will be their stage from 1st July.

    No hiding place from the disgraceful truth about the corruption in the property market. Who knows, maybe justice will eventually prevail?

  • andyp says:

    No doubt good news for all those involved even if the action is somewhat limited to those signing in UK.

    At least the public will hear from the court what actually goes on in the ROC and will hopefully be reported in the press as a warning to others.

    Good luck folks.

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