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Interim Orders and Injunctions in the Cyprus legal system.
An interim order and injunction is simply a temporary Court Order that orders a party to do something or orders a party to refrain from doing something until an official decision on the case to be made.
Section 32 of the Court Justice Law confers power on the Cyprus’ Courts to grant interim orders and injunctions, with international effect.
The types of interim injunctions.
There is no standard list of interim orders and injunctions issued by the Courts in Cyprus. The reason, is because there are different types of injunctions and indeed, the wording of orders requested are adjust according to the particular facts of each case, decided judiciously on a subjective basis.
However, the two main and most common types of such orders are the prohibitory and the mandatory injunctions.
A prohibitory injunction prevents the respondent of doing specific acts, whereas a mandatory order obliges the respondent to do a specific act within a well-defined timeframe.
Among the main categories of interim orders and injunctions issued by Cyprus Courts are the followings:
1. Freezing Injunctions (Mareva Injunctions)
2. Discovery and Disclosure Order (Norwich Pharmacal Order)
3. Chabra Orders
4. Search Orders
5. Anti-Suit Injunction
6. Quia Timet Injunction
The most commonly discussed and issued by Courts are the two first types i.e. Freezing Injunctions and Norwich Pharmacal Order.
This is widely known as “Mareva” Injunctions due to the leading case of Mareva Compania Naviera SA v. International Bulk Carrier SA. The main purpose of the Mareva injunction is to ensure that the final decision will be satisfied and effectively enforced, by freezing the assets of the respondent or by preventing the respondent from secreting assets out of the Courts jurisdiction.
Therefore, a Mareva injunction is widely-used for the protection of assets, both movable and/or immovable property, situated in Cyprus or abroad. However, if the assets are not situated in Cyprus, then the respondent should be a permanent resident of the Republic of Cyprus, and be subject to the jurisdiction of Cyprus Courts.
Discovery and Disclosure Order.
This is widely known as “Norwich Pharmacal Order” due to the case Norwich Pharmacal Co. & Others v. Customs and Excise Commissioners. A Norwich Pharmacal is an Order which requires that a third party who is “mixed up” in the wrongdoing, albeit innocently, disclose information as to the identity of the wrongdoer.
The purpose of the Order is to allow a prospective Applicant to obtain the relevant information to take action against someone who is committing a wrongful act which infringes applicant’s legal rights.
To obtain a Norwich Pharmacal, according to Mitsui & Co Ltd v. Nexen Petroleum UK Ltd, the applicant must show:
a) a “wrong” has been carried out, or “arguably carried out” by a wrongdoer
b) the disclosure asked for must be needed to allow the applicant to bring legal proceedings or seek another form of redress for the wrongdoing
c) the respondent must:
i. have been involved in the wrongdoing in some way
ii. be able to provide the information necessary to enable the ultimate wrongdoer to be sued.
Conditions for granting interim order and injunctions.
Interim orders and injunctions are decided judiciously, and depend on the facts of each specific situations, case or instance.
Moreover, in the leading case of Odysseos Andreas v A Pieris Estates Ltd and Another, it was stated that “the justice and convenience of the case is not the sole consideration to which the Court should pay heed in the case of an interlocutory injunction, and no such injunction should be granted, unless the following conditions are satisfied:
a) A serious question arises to be tried at the hearing.
b) There appears to be “a probability” that plaintiff is entitled to relief and, lastly,
c) Unless it shall be difficult or impossible to do complete justice at a later stage without granting an interlocutory injunction”.
Procedure for applying interim orders and injunctions.
A fundamental pillar of any legal system is the right of any litigant to be heard before the court issues an order or judgment that effects his rights.
In the case of interim orders though, there is an exception. A Court may grant an interim order ex parte, that is without notification to the other side if the element of urgency is satisfied. After the issuance of an interim order ex – parte the other side will have the right to oppose it and eventually the Court will decide whether the interim order will remain in force till the end of the full trial or not.
It is important to understand that the interim orders and injunctions are issued as a form of protective measures for the interests of the parties involved in litigation or arbitration proceeding. Thus an interim order is based on facts that form the cause (or causes) of action in a case and cannot stand on its own.
In the vast majority of interim orders and injunctions are brought to block and preserve assets upon which a final Court award can be executed in order to satisfy the claim.
Another common use of the interim orders and injunctions is to trace up assets of when orders the respondents to disclose details of their assets and assets under their control.