Cyprus courts have an established power to issue interim orders and injunctive relief with an international effect, in all cases, in which it appears to the court, just and convenient to do so, provided that the following conditions are met by the applicant:
- a serious issue exists, that is to be tried in the main proceedings
- it appears that the applicant has a probability to obtain a favourable judgment in the main proceedings
- there is a substantial risk that, if the interim order is not granted, it will be difficult or impossible for Justice to be served at a later stage; and
- the balance of convenience is in favour of the applicant.
Ex party injunctive relief is available, where urgency can be established.
Additional requirements may apply depending on the precise interim relief sought. Such relief is in most cases accompanied by an order for the provision of a guarantee by the applicant, to secure any losses the respondent may suffer where the order is reversed at a later stage.
We set out below the types of interim orders and injunctive relief that Cyprus courts can issue:
Freezing injunctions over assets in any part of the world can be issued upon a successful application, including both tangible (immovable property only if situated in Cyprus) and intangible assets (i.e. funds, deposits, shares, goods).
Discovery and tracing orders
In the context of such applications, Cyprus Courts can issue orders:
- for disclosure of the location and value of assets
- for tracing purposes, leading to the disclosure of information and documents regarding assets so as to enable the person having suffered damage to pursue proceedings against the tortfeasors.
Injunctions preventing acts or events from taking place
Courts can issue orders preventing various acts or events, such as the performance of contractual obligations, the implementation of corporate resolutions or the convening of corporate General Meetings.
Appointment of Interim Receiver or Administrator
Cypriot courts may be seized and have jurisdiction to issue an order appointing an interim receiver or administrator of assets, in the form of ancillary relief in support of the protective regime imposed by a freezing order or any other interim order. The court would be expected to stipulate the powers, duties and rights of such receiver or administrator.
In issuing such orders, the court may instruct the applicant to secure by a bank guarantee the fees of the receiver to be appointed, in addition to a guarantee to secure any losses of the respondent where the order is reversed at a later stage.
Chabra or garnishee orders
Chabra (or garnishee) orders are injunctions issued by Cyprus Courts against a defendant other than the main defendant, where there are reasonable grounds to believe that such a co-defendant is in possession or control of assets that the principal defendant is entitled to.
Such an order is granted to prevent subsequent losses to the claimant applying for such order.
If the court is satisfied on a prima facie basis that such assets are in the possession or control of the co-defendant a Chabra order can be issued freezing or blocking the said assets held by the co-defendant as ancillary and incidental to the main claim against the principal defendant, despite there being no direct cause of action against such co-defendant.
Search (or Anton Piller) orders usually require the respondent to admit another party to its premises for the purpose of preserving evidence or property, which is or may become the subject matter of the main proceedings.
Among other grounds and situations, search orders may be pursued by a party so as to:
- allow the discovery and preservation of evidence in the possession of the respondent and likely to be concealed or destroyed by the latter
- prevent the respondent from causing others to destroy or conceal evidence
- unveil harm and damage the applicant may have suffered.
Orders in aid or support of international arbitration
Cyprus courts can issue orders in aid or support of international arbitration proceedings, wherever these arbitral proceedings are held.
Orders in aid or support of proceedings in other EU member states
Cyprus courts can issue interim relief in relation to judicial and arbitral proceedings pending in another EU member state.
Each case is factually and legally different and a feasibility assessment must take place prior to any application for injunctive or interim relief.