INTRODUCTION

The introduction of the Cremation Law in Cyprus is an important and long-awaited legal development. Despite the fact that the Law came into force in 2019, the process of cremation in Cyprus was not rendered possible considering the lack of a licenced crematorium on the island. However, the Ministry of Internal Affairs gave the green light and Cyprus’ first crematorium is expected to open its doors by 2024. As at today, Cyprus is among the 2 EU member countries that remain without a crematorium.

Fortunately, the inapplicability of the Law despite its enforceability is coming to an end, following the abovementioned development. Such change, would not only enable the Cypriot citizens / residents to exercise their right to be cremated in Cyprus, but also, the possibility of establishing a licenced crematorium is likely to draw prospective investors and enhance the economic landscape of Cyprus. 

THE LEGISLATION AND ITS PROVISIONS

The Law includes various provisions aiming to serve as guidance to the public regarding the process of cremation including:

  • the conditions for a lawful cremation;
  • details as to the application process; and 
  • licencing for the establishment of a crematorium.

LICENSING OF THE OPERATION OF CREMATION CENTERS

Part V of the Law sets out in details the conditions under which a crematorium may acquire its license, including the relevant documentation that needs to be submitted during the application process. 

More specifically, in order to establish a cremation centre (crematorium), the relevant licence needs to be obtained by the competent authority (defined as the Minister and includes any officer of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, authorized by the Minister to act as a competent authority under the provisions of this Law), following the relevant application form (as provided by the Appendix I of the Law) as well as supporting documentation including:

1. Copies of the urban planning permit and/or building permit and the relevant certificate of final approval of the building of the incineration centre

2. a copy of the gaseous waste emission permit issued pursuant to the provisions of the Atmospheric Pollution Control Law, as amended or replaced from time to time;

3. a copy of the fire safety certificate issued by the director of the Fire Service;

4. study and description of existing or planned mechanical equipment and facilities;

5. a list of the staff employed or to be employed at the centre. 

It is also worthwhile mentioning that: 

  • Applications are examined within 6 months, starting from the date of submission of all the documents. The fee for submission of the application is EURO 100.00 (One hundred). 
  • During the examination of the application, the Minister, may, in addition to the abovementioned, request the presentation of any other element or information that the authority deems necessary to complete the study of the application. 
  • The operating license, once the application is approved, is issued upon payment of the relevant fee EURO 10.00 (ten) and is posted in a prominent part of the incineration center building. 
  • The licence is valid for 2 years from the date of its issuance and may be renewed for further two-year periods, upon submission of a renewal application and issuance of a relevant certificate respectively, against payment of the relevant fee of EURO 80.00 (eighty) for the application and EURO 10.00 (ten) for the issuance of the certificate, unless the validity of the license has been previously cancelled or suspended for any reason which continues to exist. 

It is important to note that in order for the urban planning permit and/or building permit to be issued and therefore be considered as a supporting document in the application for obtaining the licence, the architectural drawings of the crematorium need to comply with all the requirements and specifications for cremation centres as stated within APPENDIX III of the Law, which sets out the dimensions of the specific rooms, the facilities, as well as the facility security requirements.

CONCLUSION

The enforcement of the Cremation Law is viewed as a promising development as it expands the spectrum of investment possibilities to prospective businessmen and enables them to become pioneers in a nish sector of the Cyprus Economy.