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Landmark Court Case in Cyprus - Paphos Lawyer Sued for Professional Negligence

by: Patricia Winter

During the last twenty years the property market in Cyprus, and especially Paphos, has developed rapidly and thousands of expats have purchased properties, either for permanent residence or for holidays. Many of the buyers have been trapped in a system where not only was there no clear law as to the responsibilities of the professionals in the legal profession, but they were further more trapped in the inadequate legal system covering the developers responsibilities and duties.

However, on the 21 April 2010 the Appeal Court in Nicosia found that the Paphos lawyer, Nikos Papakleovoulou, had been professionally negligent when acting on behalf of Muriel Beaumont and Clifford G.J. Sims.

Reliable legal sources in Paphos confirmed the following:

“On the 21 March 2007 a claim for negligence by Muriel Beaumont and Clifford G. J. Sims against their Paphos lawyer, Nikos Papakleovoulou, was dismissed in the District Court of Paphos.

The District Court judgement decided that the couple had failed to establish the framework of obligations imposed by law and practice, as an expressed or implied duty, and had also not fully established that they had suffered any damages.

The case was taken to the Appeal Court in Nicosia where the above judgement was cancelled on the 21 April 2010, as it was found that the Paphos Lawyer, Nikos Papakleovoulou, was professionally negligent. Based on this Appeal Court judgement Muriel Beaumont and Clifford G.J. Sims were awarded all funds they had paid, rental payments for a period of time plus their legal fees.

According to case law, there is an implied contractual term that once you apply for professional advice in relation to the purchase of a property, there is a duty of care which covers all relevant and necessary actions in order to protect the interests of the potential buyers. This duty of care covers, the necessity of a search at the Lands Office to make certain that there is a valid and clear deed without any impediments. This duty of care is further extended – the lawyer must also warn the potential buyers regarding the financial position of the seller.

In the case brought against the lawyer, Nikos Papakleovoulou, a property was to be purchased and a house built. Contracts were to be prepared by Mr. Papakleovoulou and signed with the building company concerned. It was discovered much later (after contracts had been signed and substantial monies had been paid out) that the property purchased was already mortgaged and no building permit had been applied for. The building company involved, G & E  Philippou Estates Ltd., was closed down and the owner and director of the company were declared bankrupt. All building works were halted.”

This is clearly an important case and also a landmark case in the Cypriot legal system. It is actually the first time historically that the Appeal Court has set up a frame of the legal responsibilities and duties of a professional in the law practice.

The Appeal Court ruling of the 21 April 2010 seems to be a step in the right direction.

Mr Nikos Papakleovoulou, expressed his intention to lodge an appeal against this outcome to the European  Rights Court, claiming that he did not have a fair trial.

The Pancyprian Bar Association chairman, Mr Doros Ioannides, in statements made to the press, acknowledged that this is the first case of its kind and as such the Bar Association will discuss it in a coming meeting, at which Mr Nikos Papakleovoulou will be asked to express his opinion.

Property for sale in Paphos Cyprus

 

Published Friday, May 07, 2010 4:08 PM by Cleo Shahateet

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Cyprus Property is Hot! Now more than ever. There are over 20 million northern Europeans (European baby boomers) that have retired in the last few years which is a great number and many will be British. Many have been waiting for the financial crisis to past before they make the move to Cyprus. With warm weather, low crime rate, low cost of living in Cyprus and English speaking population, do you think Cyprus will have enough properties for every one?

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