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On Law, Legal Elites and the Legal Profession in a (Biggish) Small State: Cyprus

  • Nikitas E. Hatzimihail
Chapter
Part of the The World of Small States book series (WSS, volume 1)

Abstract

This essay is intended as a contribution to the scholarly discussion about small states’ governance, by using the place and function(s) of law and lawyers in Cyprus as a case study. Cyprus is an island in the Eastern Mediterranean, an EU Member State facing acute geo-political challenges since obtaining independence from the British Empire. It possesses a unique kind of a mixed legal system, where “core” private law, as well as criminal law and procedural law across the board follow the English common law, whereas public law (and certain private-law enclaves) is strongly oriented towards continental models.

The legal profession has been instrumental in promoting this mixity. On the one hand, the organization of the Bar and even the judiciary has deviated from the common-law stereotype. On the other hand, the legal profession—or at least parts of it—have been instrumental both in safeguarding the strong common-law elements of Cyprus law and in facilitating the transformation of what was once a “pure” common-law colonial jurisdiction into a hybrid legal system. The dynamics between the different groups constituting the legal profession—the allocation of power, the dividing lines between judges and advocates but also divisions on the basis of age or divisions rooted in their respective legal education.

The chapter consists of three parts. The first part provides an introduction to the institutions of Cyprus law, with an emphasis on the court system and the legal profession. The second part examines certain legal fields that have either remained closer to their common-law or Continental origins or have mutated. The third part examines the role and composition of the principal groups within the legal establishment—and their role in shaping and managing the post-colonial status quo. The goal of this chapter is to contribute to the scholarly discussion about small states’ governance, by using the place and function(s) of law, and lawyers, in Cyprus as a case study. Cyprus is an island in the Eastern Mediterranean, an EU Member State facing acute geo-political challenges since obtaining independence from the British Empire. It possesses a unique kind of a mixed legal system, where “core” private law, as well as criminal law and procedural law across the board follow the English common law, whereas public law (and certain private-law enclaves) is strongly oriented towards continental models.

Keywords

Attorney General Legal Profession Family Court Legal Officer Supreme Court Justice 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of LawUniversity of CyprusNicosiaCyprus

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