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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

British Couple Must Demolish Cyprus Home, EU Top Court Says

(Bloomberg) -- A U.K. couple ordered by a Southern Cyprus court to demolish their holiday home in the northern part of the island, are bound by the ruling, the European Union’s highest court said.

The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg today said that a judgment from a judge in the Republic of Cyprus in the south must be recognized by EU countries even if it concerns land in the northern part of the island.

Linda and David Orams, a retired British couple have been entangled in litigation across Europe since the court’s 2004 order. Their dispute took a twist when London’s Court of Appeal in 2007 questioned whether the ruling could be enforced in Northern Cyprus, an area recognized only by Turkey and not part of the EU.

The ruling, which can’t be appealed and has to be followed by the U.K. court, has implications for thousands of Britons who own property in Northern Cyprus. The Orams, from Hove, England, said they invested 160,000 pounds ($230,000) in their holiday home in Lapithos, a region in the north occupied by Turkish troops in 1974.

The Cypriot court ordered the Orams to tear down their property in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, return the land and pay damages to Meletis Apostolides, an architect whose Greek Cypriot family originally owned the land.

Apostolides applied to have the judgment recognized in the U.K. which would allow him to seize the couple’s assets. He argued that since the U.K. and Cyprus were both EU member nations, the ruling was enforceable across the region.

The case is C-420/07 Apostolides v Orams.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent news. I was supporting the Greek owner even as a Brit because I thought the previous ruling so unfair. Property rights should be respected under all circumstances.

Of course I feel a bit sorry for the Orams; they are victims too (although they should have known better). The real culprits are those who stole the land.