In a ground-breaking decision, the Paphos District Court recently ruled on a case involving a house collapse in the village of Armou, Paphos District, due to subsidence. The court awarded the plaintiffs €256,000, covering the purchase price of the house, along with interest and costs.
The case, handled by Michael Kyprianou & Co LLC, is considered unprecedented in Cyprus. The judge clarified the state’s responsibility, emphasizing the duty of care by its public officials in their supervisory role. The decision underscores the need for system improvement and strengthened control in construction and licensing.
According to a report by PhileNews, the British couple, who purchased the house in 2008, sued the construction company and the Republic of Cyprus. The Attorney General, under Article 172 of the Constitution, is held liable for wrongful acts or omissions by officials. Officials from the Planning and Zoning Department and Paphos District Administration were attributed liability.
The court found negligence on the part of both public authorities. The Planning and Zoning Department failed to propose restrictions on residential development despite geological issues, while the Paphos District Administration neglected due diligence and failed to include necessary conditions in the building permit.
The court concluded that both authorities were negligent, breaching duties under relevant legislation. Based on Article 172 of the Constitution, the Republic of Cyprus is held liable for damagingly unjust acts or omissions by its officials. The judgment highlights the responsibility of public authorities in ensuring safety and upholding their obligations, setting a precedent for future cases in Cyprus.
First published in Knews, the English edition of Kathimerini Cyprus