Cyprus Property News magazine for overseas buyers & real estate investors

Thursday 16th July 2020
Home Articles Well meaning or crooked lawyers?

Well meaning or crooked lawyers?

SO FAR lawyers in Cyprus have had it easy. We often hear in the media that such and such a developer, estate agent or other professional is “crooked”, but God forbid this being said about Cypriot lawyers.

We dared (!!!) mention this class of professionals a couple of years ago and, in our desperation at the ill goings on, we decided to set up a one-stop shop, advising clients on “correct” lawyers.

One accounting firm has decided to do the same for its own business (registration of companies, directorships etc), using in-house lawyers; but under pressure from the organised lawyers’ groups has changed its plans and its original department of 10 advocates is shrinking fast.

So, by extension, we decided, at least at this point of time, not to proceed with our “one-stop shop”.

But provocation has its limits. Examples are plentiful – but the prime locations of the wrong goings are in Paphos.

Having said that, we stress that we do not accuse all Paphos lawyers, but the town has an unusual high percentage of wrong doings by lawyers, in comparison to other cities in Cyprus.

  • A contract which was given by us to a lawyer to copy/prepare, was done without even changing the number of the apartment. We can understand this may have been a human error, but our client was charged €2,500 and we were annoyed.
  • We sold an apartment from a desperate owner (who was dying of cancer). The seller’s lawyer demanded full payment of the sales price prior to signing the contract. We were given the information” that this lawyer wants a cut”, to which we said no. The end result and after three months of waiting, the deal fell through. At the time we could not persuade the seller to change this lawyer, nor for the buyer to place the full purchase price in an escrow account held by a commonly acceptable reliable person (e.g. Bank Manager etc).
  • A most recent (this week) event was that we have concluded a sale of an apartment in Paphos for €60,000 and received €5,000 as a reservation fee paid to the lawyer. The lawyer of the seller asked for €1,000 extra over and above the agreed price. We communicated with the seller only to be told that he never asked for more money!! Money in the pocket of the Paphos lawyer??
  • A sales contract in some offices needs anything from 1-2 months to be prepared – a routine contract should not take more than 7 days.

Have you ever tried to find a way out in this sort of a situation? We doubt that you will get anywhere. How can you prove, for example, in the last instance that the extra €1,000 required by the lawyer would not have gone to the seller (if we report this to the Disciplinary Committee of the Lawyers, we stand to be sued for damagers for libel etc)?

A senior politician told me recently “Antonis have you not understood that this is a lawyer-run country”? He is absolutely right, whatever bill goes through the House there must be “something” to the benefit of the lawyers.

Suffice to say that a majority of our MPs are lawyers.

We are copying this article to the Disciplinary Committee of the Lawyers Association for whatever it is worth, but then without any concrete evidence we do not have a chance.

We are ending this article by adding that we must stress that there are numerous good offices in Paphos, which offer better quality of work than in other towns, but you must know who is who (with special regard to the foreign clients in particular this is very difficult).

By Antonis Loizou, FRICS
Antonis Loizou & Associates Ltd
Chartered Surveyors
Property Valuers – Project Managers

Copyright © Antonis Loizou & Associates 2010

Editor’s comments

The British High Commission in Nicosia publishes a list of English speaking lawyers, a copy of which may be found in the article ‘Lawyers, law firms and legal advice’. Anyone requiring “correct” legal advice, information or representation on any matter is urged to contact a lawyer on the High Commission’s list.

6 COMMENTS

  1. @Steve

    The British High Commission has completely revised their list – and you can find that list at ‘If you need a lawyer‘. Just click on the link to the right of the page ‘Lawyers South’.

    The British High Commission has also published a feedback form (available at the same location) for any comments you may wish to make.

  2. Some time ago I chose a lawyer from the High Commission’s list and after a number of warning signals, I pulled out rather than waste more money.

    I still have a copy of the British High Commission’s list from from 4 years ago and am surprised by how much it has changed, particularly in terms of how short it now is compared to then. I would advise anyone who needs to use a lawyer in Cyprus to be very thorough about it, for example, posing questions, in writing, to ascertain whether the lawyer is acting also for the other party and what the fees are, including any “commissions.” Also potentially useful are recommendations from local inhabitants who have had similar need for a lawyer.

    It has to be said that most lawyers get away with murder because their expat clients make it easy for them by not asking for critical aspects to be in writing and not following up on verbal assurances. Lawyers in Cyprus have to be treated with the suspicion that their general reputation deserves.

  3. It has to come out some time. Maybe they should bring over a plane load of British lawyers to sort them out.

  4. A sad state of affairs, Cyprus “Island of lies, corruption and deceit.”

    Reputation in tatters throughout the E.U. and beyond. Thanks to the greedy developers, lawyers, and banks, who have made a fool of buyers and the decent hard working Cypriot people.

    They should be ashamed of themselves.

  5. Having been in Cyprus for 12 years and involved in the property industry over those years, I have to say I have had my fair share of involvement with Solicitors on the island, both on a personal level and on behalf of clients.

    Coming from a respected business background in the UK where the justice system more often than not gives a greater representation of all parties, I was horrified at just how crooked the system was and still is here in Cyprus. I have first hand dealings of developers paying off Solicitors to ensure clients do not proceed to purchase so the developer can re-sell that same house to another waiting client at a higher price.

    I have seen deals been struck in the land registry between registrar and Solicitor and the client being charged a completely different amount and I have been asked to pay Solicitors fees in an open car park away from the office without paperwork. How on earth can a developers in-house legal representative (most of them call themselves Solicitors but are NOT qualified so just become legal advisors or runners) advice for the developer and the client at the same time and have the clients interest at heart.

    How can you then pass them on to the local Solicitor when they are so involved with the developer that should they NOT do as they are told, then work for them will dry up, so again the clients interests are NOTHING other than financially motivated by sharks pay cheques at the end of the month.

    The whole system needs to be exposed, Cyprus needs to wake up to the fact that it has a reputation many are not confident with and when local Solicitors are taking back handed bribes from agents and developers, then for me there just has to be something wrong.

    Zsacharias Webster
    Paphos

  6. Well written Mr Loizou,
    In reference to the enclosed paragraph

    “We are copying this article to the Disciplinary Committee of the Lawyers Association for whatever it is worth, but then without any concrete evidence we do not have a chance”

    Perhaps the clients or past clients should be able to write to a hopefully “independent unbiased authority” i.e.

    The European Legal Lords, to report the wrongdoers. Am I being too hopeful, are they there as well in great numbers? It seems to be that this crookedness is all too prevalent all over the globe with this person and that person being in each others pocket all in the name of making a fast Euro or whatever.

    The problem is not just over in the Paphos end either we have it badly in the Southeast of the island. My wife and I have experienced this firsthand with our lawyer who was on the list of the BHC, there was nothing we could do about it ourselves or anyone we could turn to.

Comments are closed.

WEATHER FORECAST

EXCHANGE RATES

EUR - Euro Member Countries
GBP
1.1016
RUB
0.0123
CNY
0.1251
CHF
0.9265

TOP STORIES

COVID-19 hits new homes in Cyprus

Permits for the construction of new homes in Cyprus fell by more than a half during April; the second month during which the COVID-19 containment measures continued to apply.

Cyprus’ largest ever housing project will help low-income families

Limassol municipality and the Land Development Corporation (KOAG) reached an official agreement on Thursday regarding the establishment of the largest housing project ever undertaken in Cyprus, worth €100 million.

Corrupt lawyers continue to plunder estates

Corrupt lawyersin Cyprus continue to plunder the estates of their deceased clients by calculating their fees for administering estates on the Cyprus Bar Association's 'Minimum Fee Regulations', which were abolished in 2018

Cyprus house price index up 2.5 per cent

The Cyprus house price index rose by an average of 2.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the previous quarter according to official figures from the Cyprus Statistical Service (CYSTAT)