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Cyprus Bar Association fails to deliver justice

Although the Bar Association’s Disciplinary Board ordered a Paphos-based lawyer to repay her client €7,500, it appears that the Board is either unable or unwilling to enforce the order.

WITH considerable interest, I recently read an article on your website headed: no chance to complain about Cyprus lawyers.

I must be one of the ‘lucky’ ones who had my complaint heard and upheld by the (Cyprus Bar Association’s) disciplinary board. I made a formal complaint against a Paphos-based advocate on April 20, 2009 and I was present at a meeting of the disciplinary board on December 1, 2010, presided over and chaired by the president of the Bar Association Doros Ioannides.

The board upheld my complaint and ordered the lawyer to repay €7,500 within 90 days from the date of the hearing. Needless to say, I did not receive the money, and having informed Mr Ioannides that the amount remained unpaid, he subsequently confirmed to me that the lawyer had been ordered to reappear at a further disciplinary hearing on March 30, 2011.

I subsequently phoned Mr Ioannides to establish the outcome of the second hearing at the lawyer was asked to explain why she had not made the payment to me. He told me that he was not at liberty to disclose the findings of the hearing but that I was in a similar position to many other clients of the same lawyer.

To this day, I have never again heard from anybody within the disciplinary board or the Cyprus Bar Association. Mr Ioannides continues as president and the lawyer continues as an advocate in her Paphos practice. So much for Cypriot justice.

Thomas Murphy, Paphos

Readers' comments

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  • Andrew says:

    “Through me you pass into the city of woe:
    Through me you pass into eternal pain:
    Through me among the people lost for aye.
    Justice the founder of my fabric moved:
    To rear me was the task of Power divine,
    Supremest Wisdom, and primeval Love.
    Before me things create were none, save things
    Eternal, and eternal I endure.
    Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

    For this is Cyprus.

  • Denton Mackrell says:

    Following Odd-Job, the religious binding in Cyprus (govt controlled areas) is the Greek Orthodox religion and the Greek Orthodox Church too is not into change. The status quo fits in so well with running breweries etc.

    I too cannot foresee radical change for the better here. So, Cyprus will continue to lurch from one crisis to another and ‘getting by’. They will, no doubt, conjure up yet more scams to fleece unsuspecting foreigners but at least for now their property scam has more or less had its day (although the victims have not gone away and the toxic legacy will grumble on to the continuing detriment of Cyprus’s reputation and property market).

  • Odd_Job_Bob says:

    With the greatest respect, to compare the Middle East situation to Cyprus demonstrates a profound misunderstanding of this lovely island. In the Middle East, religious conviction is the thing that permeates every level of society. Here, no such conviction exists.

    However, let’s have a look over the sea (say Egypt?). Over a year after the fall of Mubarrak, the military tried to cling to power but were replaced at the ballot box by a Muslim Brotherhood (stated goal, “the Qur’an and Sunnah as the “sole reference point for …ordering the life of the Muslim family, individual, community … and state”), President, Mohammed Morsi who, during his election campaign, told supporters he would enforce sharia law and conquer Jerusalem.

    Or do you mean Syria (descending into civil war) where we’ve suddenly realised that the good guys – well, the one’s we’re supporting, the Free Syrian Army, just MAY have links with Islamic extremists.

    All over the Middle East, people are willing to resort to violent armed struggle in order to pursue change and free themselves from an intolerable situation (no freedoms, secret police beatings etc) and we in the West are happily giving them weapons to do so.

    There is no such extreme hardship in Cyprus. Some people are disadvantaged, but they don’t bemoan the system, they are mostly upset because they are not well enough connected as if you know the right people, life in Cyprus is significantly easier than many other places. The only people calling out for change are those right at the bottom of the social pile i.e. US, Mr and Mrs Gullible Foreigner: the least well-connected of the lot!

    As turkeys normally are not in the habit of voting for Christmas, the people in the position to change the legal profession and everything else in Cyprus are the ones who would lose out the most in any change (the illustrious Rusfetti). So they won’t instigate change.

    No outside power nor extremist movement would be allowed to upset the pomegranate-cart as Cyprus is too strategically important for NATO and the West (unless of course the existence of the Sovereign Base Areas is threatened, hence 1974 and all that). However, the present administration may just be dumb enough to do that (even I doubt that though).

    So, change is only hoped and pleaded and begged for by the guys at the bottom and we have NO power to do anything about it, apart from maybe depriving the regime of our money, (but the EU will do the opposite, knowing them).

    If you don’t believe me, heed the deafening chorus of the Enlightened and Educated Cypriot Classes crying out for change!

    No, I can’t hear it either…

  • Andrew says:

    The description of the status quo in Cyprus is well explained , but change can happen and does happen. Look over the sea and you will see.

    Yes “this is Cyprus” but that does not mean that we should not hope to make it a better, more fair Cyprus.

  • Costas Apacket says:

    O_J_B – never a truer word was said!

    I suppose the only thing I could add to what you have already written is:

    “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” (Edmund Burke)

  • Odd_Job_Bob says:

    Fighting for Justice, everything you say is true and is the way it SHOULD go (and does in virtually every society I’ve known).

    However, it just doesn’t happen like that in Cyprus.

    Have you any idea what would happen to a lawyer who went to the police to report another for doing something that the vast majority of them do? The police would laugh, then if the lawyer persisted, they would tell the other lawyer and the complainer would get a visit from other law society members telling him to stop being silly. If he continued, the word would go out that he couldn’t be trusted and he would lose clients, financial backers etc. The finger of guilt would be pointed directly at HIM and not the offending solicitor and there wouldn’t be a chocolate teapot in hell’s chance of getting a conviction.

    If he STILL persisted though, he wouldn’t be struck off (as no Cyprus solicitors ever are, irrespective of what they’ve done), but threats against his person and bombs are likely to follow. Any Cyprus solicitor with any sense knows this and either uses it to their benefit, tries to continue to ply their trade as well as they can without being too naughty or ships out. So yes, those who stay in Cyprus, even the good ones, are tacitly complicit.

    One of the problems of foreigners who buy in Cyprus is that we tend to judge it on normal rules. Normal rules simply don’t apply.

  • Fighting For Justice says:

    @Odd Job Bob and Mike, I’m sorry I just don’t agree with you on the ‘good lawyers’ that you speak of. If you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the problem. They learn their law under a strict code of morals and ethics of what the law stands for then immediately they return to Cyprus they seem to become part of the mobsters, part of a wholly immoral bunch whose only aim is to first and foremost protect each others back.

    As soon as one lawyer becomes aware of another who is committing what in the UK would be a criminal offence eg. the keeping of client’s money in a separate account, they should be on to the police. Those who give the lawyer a further 3 months to come up with these funds are as much responsible for the next person to fall victim as the first crooked lawyer themselves.

  • Ann Othervictim says:

    No surprises there then.

  • andyp says:

    Stuart. I have no idea if the fine was ever paid.

    The guilty verdict is also supposed to be logged by the Court Registrar in “The Naughty Book”. Whether such a book has ever been opened we will never know as I understand that the A.G. keeps possession of same and is not a public document.

    The only way I was able to get CM and others to publish her name without legal action being taken by the guilty against any publishers was to get the verdict officially in writing.

  • Andrew says:

    Universities in the UK should be regularly informed of the way Cyprus Lawyers act towards their paying clients. If enough was done to expose these Cypriot legal charlatans then UK universities would have to consider refusing them places in which to study. The Cyprus legal system uses and hides behind the good name of the UK legal profession.

    If Cyprus lawyers would have informed buyers about developer mortgages there would have been very few sales of new build property in the last 20 years. Now that people are aware of these developer mortgages, the construction industry is in free fall.

  • Odd_Job_Bob says:

    I’m sorry Fighting For Justice, but Cyprus is EXACTLY RIGHT for the EU. If you don’t believe me, just wait to see all the EU fudges that will be made over the next few weeks in order to accommodate the state of Cyprus and its ridiculous banks.

    Also Simon Edwards, no good lawyer (and they DO exist in Cyprus, but, I’m afraid, lawyers are like kids or rugby players: they are as good or as bad as they are ALLOWED to be) will ever stick his head above the parapet and denounce as he will be ostracised.

    Staying part of the club is much more important than simple notions of justice and fairness, irrespective as to what he may feel personally.

  • James L. Baron says:

    Mr Thomas Murphy. I am appalled at your situation but cannot say I am surprised. I suppose to name the Lawyer is impossible but if you could it would certainly help others for the future. James L. Baron

  • Stuart says:

    Andyp is absolutely correct in suggesting that this should not come as a surprise considering the general levels of reported corruption that pervades the so-called Cyprus justice system.

    We all remember the case of the “Paphos-based lawyer” who was jailed for a month for her persistent disqualified driving but released by the Attorney General after only one day when most of the legal fraternity protested to him that: “Cyprus lawyers are never sent to prison”.

    Everyone knows who she is but there seems to be an irrational fear of naming and shaming lawyers who ‘show conduct contrary to the advocates profession’ and therefore continue to practice regardless.

    Do we know whether the paltry fine of €1,000 imposed on her in March this year was ever paid?

  • Mike says:

    If anyone ever needed any further evidence that the Cyprus legal system and its advocates are just not fit for purpose and an affront to every other citizen in the EU then this must be it.

    The good lawyers, of which there are a handful, are being dragged down into the gutter with the antics of their compatriot cowboys.

    To call them lawyers is an insult to the legal profession as known in the civilised and ethical world.

    Anarchy will reign and will be well deserved.

    Couple the incompetence of the CBA together with lawyers and advocates, add in deceitful developers, unethical banks, apathetic, irrelevant and self serving deputies and you have the recipe for disaster known as Cyprus. To call it a Banana Republic would be an insult to Bananas. It would seem the only individuals with any credibility are the local Mukhtars and their committees generally who at least do their best with limited resources as a general rule.

  • Fighting For Justice says:

    I am nearing the point where I do abandon hope of an fairness, equity or justice in Cyprus.

    I attended the protest at the High Commission in London last week and our theme, CYPRUS – UNFIT FOR THE EU was just about spot on.

  • Simon Edwards says:

    Surely it’s time for the good lawyers to protect their profession and denounce all this mess ?

  • Simon Edwards says:

    This needs coverage and exposure the CBA is impotent a farce and an insult to my intelligence. Non compliance in any form means being disbarred period. Fresh off the plane people never expect to be betrayed by someone employed to protect their interests. UNBELIEVABLE

  • Road Warrior says:

    If The Bar can’t or will not enforce their own fines or police their members, where does one go for justice. Cyprus never fails to disappoint, just when you think you have heard about the lowest, most despicable and reprehensible behaviour attributed to a member of the bar, they “lower” the bar and prove you wrong.

  • andyp says:

    No surprise really as my case against Emily Lemoniati, who was found guilty by The CBA, as reported in Cyprus Mail, was only fined €1,000.

    Notwithstanding the paltry fine complaints should be pursued through the CBA against any offending lawyer.

    Frustrating as it may be we need to keep banging the drum that the actions of certain Lawyers in Cyprus is totally unacceptable until they get the message. If we say nothing then nothing will change.

    Having just returned from Alcatraz, for many people, I noticed the road signs by developers are now largely in Russian and Chinese. Whilst cold comfort I hope they will learn from the devious practices we have been able to expose.

  • Gavin Jones says:

    This is a topic which is up there with the best of them and is dear to many of our hearts as we’ve suffered similar treatment.

    Mr. Murphy’s catalogue of spin and downright degeneracy is yet another disgraceful example which confirms that the hallowed word ‘Justice’ is but a figment of the imagination in Cyprus.

    Never so apt is the following phrase:

    ‘Abandon hope all ye who enter here.’

  • Costas Apacket says:


    It is very clear to me that by failing to police their own members in the legal ‘profession’ and failing to uphold even basic vestiges of justice, the Bar Association is inviting the type of lawlessness that we see reported every week in Cyprus, where shops, cars, buses, etc are burned or bombed and even more violent crimes are perpetrated against individuals as a result of unresolved disputes.

    Perhaps the perpetrators of these crimes already knew that Justice in Cyprus is hard to come by and therefore decided to take the law into their own hands?

    Is this what the Bar Association wants?

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