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Will e-justice finally reach Cyprus?

Whereas in various European countries, such as England, the development of e-justice allowed the seamless continuance of Justice during the last month, Cyprus Justice has been undoubtedly one of the biggest victims of COVID-19, mainly because of the absence of any national regulations providing for the use of technology means for the accomplishment of a more effective Justice that could be of major assistance in light of the Supreme Court announcement of 16.03.2020 re the partial suspension of the Cyprus Courts operations, thus resulting to the suffocation of Justice in Cyprus.

Despite the absence of such regulations, our system has failed even after a month to incorporate any practical solutions, at least for the attainment and completion of hearings of Interlocutory Applications that are most of the times effected by the submission of written addresses and do form approximately half of the District Courts workload, by simply allowing such written submissions to be filed via the use of electronic mail.

After a month of paralysis of the Cyprus Judicial system, it seems that a small step will be taken after the meeting of the Committee of Legal Affairs of 24.04.2020, whereby the suggestion of e-filing was on the table and may be implemented within the next 5-6 weeks and will form a temporary arrangement until the full implementation of e-justice system. Although such development is pleasant, it doesn’t seem to work as a ‘life-saver’ of a debilitated Judicial system and therefore more practical – even temporary- measures should be suggested and implemented by the competent authorities.

COVID-19 should be faced as a great opportunity for the restart of Cyprus Justice, for the cessation of the outdated practice of stamping of voluminous bundles and for the successful completion of legal proceedings within shorter period, by the implementation of a practical and easily accessible e-justice system; such opportunity should be seized and not let to be missed.