Greek Cypriot Property Case to be referred to European Court of Justice
The Government of the Republic of Cyprus regards as positive the intention of Britain's Court of Appeal to refer points of substance, in a property case involving a Greek Cypriot refugee, Meletis Apostolides, and a British couple, David and Linda Orams, to the Court of Justice of the European Communities, in Luxembourg. When asked to comment on the case, Government Spokesman Vassilis Palmas said that “with any decisions referred to the Court of Justice of the European Communities, we usually have good results.”
Linda and David Orams were ordered by the Nicosia District Court in 2004 to demolish the house they had built in Apostolides’ land found in the northern occupied area of Cyprus, and pay compensation to him. Upon an appeal by the Orams the Court ruling was not enforced. In 2005, the Nicosia District Court upheld its previous decision.
In 2006, the British High Court said it could not enforce the 2004 ruling as EU legislation did not apply in the areas the government of Cyprus did not exercise effective control. The European Court of Human Rights ruled in December 1996 that Turkey, by virtue of its military presence in northern Cyprus, exercises effective control on that part of the island and is therefore responsible for what happens there. Furthermore, the internationally recognized government of Cyprus is prevented from exercising its jurisdiction in the northern part of the country because of the continuing Turkish occupation.
Nevertheless, the Court of Appeal recognized Apostolides’ true legal ownership of the land in dispute and the aforementioned appealed against the decision not to enforce the Nicosia Court ruling.
Britain’s Court of Appeal gave the opportunity to the attorneys of the two sides to deliberate and agree on the points to be referred to the Court of Justice of the European Communities.
Tom Baizley, attorney for Greek Cypriot Meletis Apostolides, raised objections concerning terms of political significance affecting the legal aspect of the case and suggested the use of alternative terms. He also requested that any mentioning of the Annan Plan should be avoided.