Law via Internet Conference, Florence, Italy, 11-12 October 2018
A former British colony and an EU Member State since 2004, the Republic of Cyprus is a mixed legal system, in comparative-law terms. English law dominates most of private law, including contracts, commercial and company law, criminal law and procedural law across the board and the judiciary has a common-law mentality. At the same time, Cypriot family law and public law is strongly oriented towards the Continental legal tradition. The effective bilingualism of the legal system, with Greek as the official language and the language of the population and English as the original language of many legal sources and much of legal practice, adds to the mix.
For a long time, access to legal information was restricted to a privileged few (in a system moreover where case law constitutes a source of law), but Cyprus has been recently moving dynamically to open-access legal information.
The paper discusses the challenges of implementing ECLI in Cyprus – the first common-law or mixed jurisdiction to do so, with the help of an EU-funded project, CyECLI, which concludes in 2019. After presenting the state of play with regard to access and organization of legal information prior to the implementation process, the paper examines the policy and technical choices made in ECLI implementation in Cyprus and considers lessons to be drawn for other common-law jurisdictions. The paper also considers the relationship between ECLI and the neutral citation systems of common-law jurisdictions, the role of court reports (another common-law institution) in an era of online registries and automated access to information, and the potential impact of ECLI 2.0 for Cyprus.