The British Court of Appeal (Civil Division) with its judgement in the Apostolides v Orams case (Case No: A2/2006/2114) on 19 January 2010 has created an unexpected new legal situation in the ongoing struggle in Cyprus between Greek-Cypriot owners of property who had been forced to flee in 1974 and whose land had been grabbed by the invading Turkish Army, and for the mostly foreign speculators who took control of those lands, building, at times, plush ‘holiday’ dwellings on them.

The judgement of the Appelant Court, which under UK law is final and cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court, is expected to be of intense interest not only to the owners of property whose lands were being exploited illegally by foreigners but also by the political groupings of both Turkish and Greek Cypriots who are in the midst of very sensitive negotiations attempting to find a solution to the division of the country and the continuing occupation of the northern part of the island by Turkey.

The ruling effectively nullifies the 1975 Turkish Cypriot absentee property law, which deprived Greek Cypriots of their properties and enabled foreigners to acquire their land and homes in the occupied area.

[15:41:51] Lili Skatavkata: Up to 5,000 British people who own homes in nothern Cyprus could be affected by the ruling

Up to 5,000 British people who own homes in occupied nothern Cyprus could be affected by the ruling

The judgment provides that the earlier Cyprus Court judgments, against whom the Orams appealed in the British Courts, and the European Court of Justice judgements in Luxembourg,(1) be registered and enforced in the UK. In particular, the Cyprus Court had ordered that the Orams should:

  • Cease trespassing on the land belonging to Mr. Apostolides;
  • Deliver up possession of the land to Mr. Apostolides;
  • Pay ‘mesne profits’ (effectively, rent) to Mr. Apostolides in respect of the period of their occupation;
  • Knock down the villa and fencing they had built on the land.

The Orams will also be ordered to pay the legal fees incurred by Mr. Apostolides, regarding the London and Luxembourg proceedings. It is significant that neither the Orams nor their barrister Cherie Blair were present in the Appelant Court when the decision was announced.

England and Wales Court of Appeal (Civil Division) Decision is available at http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2010/9.html

For more information on how it all started, visit:http://eurolink-bulgaria.com/eu-ruling-throws-northern-cyprus-property-market-into-chaos/