THE EUROPEAN Commission decided today to close infringement proceedings against Cyprus concerning a minimum fee scale for out-of-court legal work, such as the drawing up of wills, contracts, the administration of estates and the registration of companies.
EU law requires Member States to refrain from encouraging undertakings or associations of undertakings to favour or encourage anti-competitive behaviour that would breach Article 101 of the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union.
In April 2018, the Commission raised concerns with the Cypriot authorities that certain legislative provisions, by empowering the Cyprus Bar Association to adopt a minimum fee scale for out-of-court work, encouraged behaviour that could prevent, restrict or distort competition within the EU’s Single Market.
In response to the concerns raised, Cyprus has amended its law. The Commission welcomes the new legislation, which removes the specific provision empowering the Cyprus Bar Association to set these fees.
In parallel, the Commission today also closed an antitrust investigation into the minimum fee scale adopted by the Cyprus Bar Association, based on the empowerment contained in the national legislation.
The Commission welcomes the decision of the Cyprus Bar Association to abrogate this minimum fee scale after the Commission raised concerns that these rules were not compatible with Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU.
The Commission’s intervention means that lawyers can now freely determine their fees when providing out-of-court legal services and that citizens will benefit from more competitive prices in this sector.