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Thursday 29th October 2020
Home Legal Matters Cyprus Bar Association board has failed

Cyprus Bar Association board has failed

The Cyprus Bar Association’s disciplinary board has failed in its mission, chairman Doros Ioannides conceded on Wednesday, as he urged parliament to look into changing the way it operated.

“The disciplinary board and ethics are also for the benefit of the citizens and not just us lawyers,” Ioannides told the House legal affairs committee. “I am the president for 15 years and I preside over the disciplinary board and I am telling you we have failed.”

Ioannides said the board has 2,000 cases pending before it.

His comments before the committee were made during discussion of an amendment to the law on lawyers, which modernises provisions and regulates the general meetings of district bar associations and the Pancyprian Bar Association.

Ioannides urged MPs to examine the issue of the disciplinary board which “for many reasons and because of the many cases could not operate as you and we would like.”

The outgoing bar association chairman said the board should not be elected by lawyers.

“A lawyer cannot go around asking for a vote to be elected to the disciplinary board,” he said.

Ioannides said he agreed with a proposal to have a board that is appointed by the attorney-general and the Bar Association’s board.

He also suggested increasing the board’s members.

The association’s disciplinary board is made up of seven members and is headed by the attorney-general. The bar association chairman is also a member.

4 COMMENTS

  1. There is a 68 euros fee for investigating complaints. 68 x 2000 = 13,600 of fees paid to investigate complaints which have not been investigated, going back goodness knows how long. This is considered acceptable in Cyprus. Nice work if you can get it.

  2. This is not just a failure of service. The Cyprus Bar Association is likely as not breaking consumer protection law, and is in breach of the Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus and the Charter of Fundamental Human Rights. I registered two complaints against lawyers, one in 2009 (resubmitted in 2018) and another in 2018.

    The 2018 complaints included accusations of alleged fraud, price fixing, unlawful restriction on trade. You cannot switch solicitors in Cyprus unless the solicitor “releases you”. You must pay any fees claimed whether they are legitimate or not (price-fixing is not legitimate, nor is claiming unearned fees with no evidence of any work done).

    I also believe that placing an unlawful restriction of monopoly legal services is contrary to European Law. Fees were taken by the Cyprus Bar Association and no communications since, despite numerous requests for updates (copied into the Attorney General). I wonder if my case from 2009 is in the 2000 outstanding complaints! Why do consumers have to pay fees to investigate complaints against solicitors when they don’t have to pay fees to investigate other traders at the CCPS?

    Why are the fines against other traders allowed to be up to 500K euros when the fines levied against solicitors remain unchanged on the Cyprus Bar Association website at maximum £CYP1K!!!!! Perhaps this is the last time that the Cyprus Bar Association levied a fine (2008!) Is this not discrimination and contrary to EU Law? The Cyprus Bar Association’s previous efforts to reduce the number of complaints was to disallow payment by SEPA payment (electronic transfer) and only allow fees to be paid by cash or cheque, which is not possible if you don’t live in Cyprus.

    Unfortunately the Directorate General of the European Commission intervened to make the Cyprus Bar Association accept the payment (because to refuse to do so is unlawful) and now I am down on the fees and have never received the service paid for (nor is there any likelihood of receiving the service paid for from what I read here).

    Wouldn’t it have been refreshing if the Cyprus Bar Association just said we can’t accept your fee because we don’t have the capacity to investigate your complaints. This was a contract at a distance and I have no terms and conditions governing the service and seemingly no right of cancellation. I have asked for a refund (and received no response). This is an association of lawyers for goodness sake – what message are you sending out? I am not a lawyer, so I am sure a lawyer can tell me what laws have been broken here by an association of lawyers (and its members) but who is going to hold it (and its members) accountable? We know from this excellent online resource that “Naughty” solicitors are not held to account and they are rarely struck off.

    We also know that solicitors are unlikely to take solicitors to court and that a case (especially for a foreigner can take anything from 7-15 years) in the broken judicial system. It really isn’t worth paying the fee (and losing more money and hope on top of the tens of thousands you have probably already lost due to the negligence (wilful or otherwise) and /or fraud of the solicitor you are complaining about).

    The EU has been conducting a 7 year long investigation into Cyprus’ failure to recognise the rights of consumers and in July 2019 wrote to Cyprus saying that Solicitors appear to be exempt from consumer regulation. It appears to me, that solicitors are exempt from all regulation! Of course this could just be a deliberate strategy to make sure any complaint against a solicitor is statute barred (3 years).

    If the outgoing president knows about the 2,000 complaints and has not informed the complainants who have paid their fees and are waiting patiently in the queue for a paid for service that is unlikely to be delivered doesn’t this count as an unfair commercial practice (or something worse) and isn’t that a quasi-criminal offence? Doesn’t refusing to reply to correspondence count as an unfair commercial practice?

    The Constitution of Cyprus and the European Charter of Human rights guarantees a high level of consumer protection which the Cyprus Bar Association does not recognise and is failing to enforce. What message does it send to everyone else when the Cyprus Bar Association and its members considers itself above the law? What is the Attorney General going to do about it?

  3. Isn’t it incredible that someone who’s been Chairman of an organisation has the gall to announce that it’s failed only when he relinquishes responsibility and is just about to walk away! Moreover, he adds insult to injury by rolling out some recommendations which he had ample time to implement when he was in office.

    Such behaviour says more about an individual than words can ever say.

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