In a recent judgment, the Nicosia District Court decided that an affidavit was inadmissible due to the fact that the jurat was not in one of Cyprus's two official languages (ie, Greek or Turkish).(1)

Facts

Following the issuance of a compulsory winding-up order against them, the applicants applied for a court order terminating the liquidator's appointment and rescinding and overturning certain decisions and actions taken by him. The application was supported by an affidavit in Russian accompanied by a translation into English, which the liquidator opposed.

One of the grounds on which the liquidator's objection was based was that the jurat at the foot of the affidavit was invalid because it was in Russian, which is not an official language of Cyprus. He contended that an affidavit without a valid jurat should be held inadmissible.

Although it was accepted that evidence (eg, an affidavit) in a foreign language can and should be allowed and admitted in court under the Official Languages of the Republic Law,(2) it was argued that a jurat cannot be considered as evidence, since it is not part of the affidavit that it purports to validate, but something separate.

Decision

In considering the importance of a jurat and Article 0.39, Rule 10 of the Civil Procedure Rules,(3) the court concluded that a proper jurat is a compulsory requirement for an admissible affidavit.

The court then discussed whether a jurat could be considered as 'evidence' within the meaning of the Official Languages of the Republic Law. In such a case, it could be accepted even in a foreign language.

Taking into account Articles O.39, Rule 7 and O.39, Rule 10 of the Civil Procedure Rules,(4) it was held that a jurat, being a validation of an affidavit, is part of the judicial proceedings (or at least the quasi-judicial proceedings) and is therefore wholly separate from the affidavit itself. Accordingly, a jurat, unlike an affidavit, must always be in one of Cyprus's two official languages.

In view of the above, the court held that the jurat, being in Russian, was inadmissible and consequently did not accept the affidavit due to the absence of the necessary validation.

Comment

Considering that it has been common practice among lawyers to ensure that a jurat is in the same language as the affidavit that it purports to validate, the decision is somewhat unexpected. It will be interesting to see how other courts will react in similar cases, at least until the Supreme Court provides guidance on the issue.

For further information on this topic please contact Sotos Kasinos at Elias Neocleous & Co LLC by telephone (+357 25 110 110) or email (sotos.kasinos@neo.law). The Elias Neocleous & Co LLC website can be accessed at www.neo.law.

Endnotes

(1) A jurat is the clause at the foot of an affidavit showing when, where and before whom the oath was sworn or the affirmation was made.

(2) Law 67(I)/1988.

(3) "The person taking the affidavit shall note immediately at the foot thereof, towards the left side of the paper, the time when and the place where the affidavit is taken, and that the affidavit was sworn and signed before him; he shall sign the jurat and describe his office (Form 35)".

(4) "An affidavit may be sworn before a Judge or Registrar of any Court".

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