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Reactions to the Orams ruling

In the past few days the Cyprus press has reported comments and reactions to the Court of Appeal’s ruling on the Orams case, which has far-reaching implications for those living in the divided island.

THE decision of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, together with the ruling of the European Court of Justice in April last year, mean that the rights of displaced Cypriots to their properties in the occupied areas of the Island are safeguarded and can now be enforced throughout the European Union.

The Cyprus Foreign Affairs Minister, Markos Kyprianou, said the Court of Appeal was especially important for Cyprus, and assured that the government would be following developments concerning the execution of the Court’s decision.

He also dismissed Turkey position that the ruling would complicate the talks for a solution of the Cyprus problem.

The Lobby for Cyprus and the President of the National Federation of Cypriots, Peter Droussiotis, have welcomed the Court of Appeal’s ruling.

We have all known for a long time on which side justice should be in this case. This has now been confirmed by every court which has considered this matter at a national as well as a European level. The Cypriot courts found in Mr Apostolides’ favour and this was subsequently affirmed by the European Court of Justice. The British Court of Appeal has now drawn a line under this matter by handing down a clear judgment upholding Mr Aposolides’ legal rights,” Droussiotis said in a statement.

According to reports, the property market in the north has gone into freefall. One estate agent dealing in properties at Salamis and Famagusta, was reported to be offering brand new apartments for just £20,000, but insisted that payments must be in sterling cash.

The same agent also had luxury apartments normally priced at £49,000 but would sell them for just £25,000 each – again only for cash.

It is believed that around 8,000 Brits live in the north along with many other EU nationals and they have been shocked by the Court ruling.

It’s very bad news for everyone… What can they do, pack up and leave? ” asked Marian Stokes, who lives in Kyrenia.

Tuesday’s ruling came as “a great shock,” said Stokes. “The foreigners have done nothing wrong,” she added. “They’ve done everything by the rules. They went to a lawyer and got advice; the title deeds were stamped by the government.

A Briton with a house in the north criticized the greed of the property agencies and the ignorance of the buyers. “Most expats are not aware of the property problem in Cyprus and are not interested in finding out,” he said, adding that they just accept what the estate agents tell them.

It has also been reported that Greek Cypriots have submitted around 1,500 property claims to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, according to Greek Cypriot lawyer Achilleas Demetriades.

Readers' comments

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  • Greg Gregory says:

    In confirming the enforcement of this Cyprus judgment, the Court of Appeal could almost have been quoting the words of Socrates as recorded by Plato when he said “do you imagine that a city can continue to exist and not be turned upside down, if the legal judgments which are pronounced in it have no force but are nullified by private persons?”

  • Greg Gregory says:

    I received 2 calls today from Turkish Cypriot friends who asked my opinion on the way forward and what would now happen to people that had bought or built houses on originally Greek owned land.

    It would seem that as a result of the ruling, that any person who owns assets within an EU country can have those assets liquidated to meet the judgment who precedent has been set this week paving the way for many hundred of Greek Cypriots to lodge similar claims against people who they believe have assets in the U.K or other EU countries and be paid compensation.

    Both the individuals that called are catching flights to the U.K this week and to cut a long story short and reading between the lines, given the context of the conversation and knowing they own property here in the U.K it would come as no surprise that they are now putting these assets up for sale thus avoiding future claims and seizure to pay judgements. Although they would not admit it to me, (I’m of Greek Cypriot origin) I am aware that they own property in a part of Kyrenia that was predominantly Greek.

    You can judge for yourselves the shenanigans that will be going on in the next few months as a result of this ruling.

  • Constantinos says:

    To Marian Stokes comment:
    Of course the foreigners have done something wrong. It is the same as buying a stolen mobile phone worth EUR600 for just EUR150 from a thief. Before carrying out one of the biggest trasnactions in their lifetime (i.e. buying a house) every foreigner should at least google about the place they are planning to retire to. I personally do not feel sorry for any foreigner that will lose “their properties” here. Their ignorance is a crime and is a heart stabbing to all those who really own those properties. If any foreign buyer did not know that the Occupied area of Cyprus is only a recognised entity by Turkey, then…you should know better!

  • Susan Playfair says:

    I would like to buy in the North but only if I have a bomb proof title. Is there such a thing?

  • Chambers says:

    Marian Stokes from Kyrenia has nicely summed up the situation in the North of Cyprus “they’ve done everything by the rules. They went ot a lawyer and got advice; the title deeds were stamped by the government.”. Which governement would that be? Not the government of Cyprus I bet.

  • Greg Gregory says:

    The ruling is good news for displaced Greek Cypriots only if enforcement of the judgment is on property within the EU or Britain. I don’t see the so called TRNC allowing enforcement in the north. Where ex pats still have property or assets in the U.K, these are now in very real danger of being seized and liquidated to meet the judgement. Ignorance of the law has never been accepted as an excuse nor will it now so I have little sympathy for British ex pats that wanted more value for money by buying in the North compared to prices in the South. As the saying goes ‘pay half pay twice’!

  • Brian says:

    I can’t see what the problem is.
    If you buy stolen goods of any description and the rightfull owner claims his property back then thats what happens. He gets it….
    If you were burgled and the police found your property you would not expect tthe courts to award the stolen good to the perpetrator woukd you?

  • julie donnelly says:

    i would like 2 say that if you going 2 bye in cyprus i would go in 2 it very carefully and make sure you hav a good lawer and not a cyprus one , get one of the list from this magazine .also i would not go 2 the north as you dont no if the lane is free from others , if you go cheap thats what you get . my hus and i hav a vills in paphos and we went 2 a good name laptos i think they are ok , but i still think cyprus hav a lot 2 learn . julie donnelly p.s thanks for this mag its great

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