The Limitation rules in Cyprus have undergone a significant change, with the passing by the Parliament of Cyprus of the new Limitation Law (N. 66(I)/2012). The implementation of the law has been delayed by virtue of an amendment (N. 159(I)/2013)) to the said law until 31 December 2014, however it is not anticipated that the implementation will be delayed any further.
The new Law introduces certain time-limits for the filing of civil claims and time starts to run on the day upon which the cause of action arises.
Under the Law, no civil claim may be filed after the passing of 10 years under any circumstances.
In addition, the following are the limitation periods for the most widely-encountered civil claims:
1) A claim related to mortgages or pledges cannot be filed after the passing of the 12 years from the date on which the cause of action is completed.
2) The default limitation period for Tort claims is 6 years from the date on which the cause of action is completed. However, in the case of damages for negligence, nuisance, and breach of statutory duty the limitation period is 3 years. The time period is calculated from the time the cause of action is completed.
3) As the law has not yet been implemented, no time limit can expire under the above provisions before 31 December 2014.
However, after that date, any claim which has not been commenced and in respect of which the limitation period has passed, will be statute barred.
As this firm specialises in property law, it is worth specifically mentioning how these time limits apply if you have a property in Cyprus and a loan with the Cyprus bank.
As actions against the bank are likely to be based on misrepresentation/miss-selling, these are claims for negligence and the time limit is therefore 3 years from the signing of the loan documentation. Claims against developers are often for negligent building at the time of construction therefore this is also a claim based in negligence with a time limit of 3 years, with a time limit of 6 years in addition to a claim for breach of contract.
In accordance with the Cyprus Limitation law, the limitation periods apply not only to law suits but also to counter-claims. The effect of this is that the bank has 12 years to proceed in respect of a mortgage/loan default, however a counter-claim to such an action will potentially be statute owing to the much shorter time period applicable.
As a firm, we have made arrangements to ensure that we can issue protective proceedings for any of our clients in danger of being statute barred. As the practice will be very busy between now and the introduction of the time limits, we do ask you to contact us urgently if you believe you are affected by the limitation periods and would like us to take action on your behalf. Specifically, we are seeking instructions by the end of October in order to guarantee that we can issue in time for all of our clients.
It goes without saying that we are also available to advise further regarding the limitation periods and their application to your position.