Wrong advice may cost Cyprus expats their property claims

Published:  30 Jul at 6 PM
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Hundreds of British expats with homes on Cyprus are risking the success of their mis-selling claims due to incorrect advice being given by Cypriot advisors.

Most of the mis-selling claims against Cypriot banks, property developers and sales agents involve off-plan purchases or mis-sold mortgages, with the majority of those affected taking collective action through the British courts. However, with thousands more homeowners undecided as to how to proceed, local advisors are pushing the alternative of the Cypriot court system.

A London law firm, already representing a wave of claims and preparing a second tranche, is advising that legal action on the island depends as much on the court to which the case is assigned as it does on a valid course of action and its representing lawyers. The firm is concerned that finer details of how the mis-selling occurred may not be taken into account by a Cypriot court, and advice to file in Cyprus even when a client is legally domiciled in the UK may lead to an unsuccessful outcome.

Filing in the UK is an entitlement for UK-domiciled clients due to EU consumer protection laws, which are taken more seriously in Britiain. Cost is a consideration, with legal charges in the UK admittedly more expensive than on the island, but joining with others in the same situation in a class action reduces individual costs considerably.

Cyprus disallows the filing of class actions, although separate cases can be cojoined later during court proceedings, and a class action in the UK can facilitate the hiring of a top QC better able to take on lawyers acting for a large company or an even larger bank. Advice given to the large number of expats being sued by Cypriot banks for non-payment of mis-sold mortgages is not to defend the case in Cyprus but to challenge the Cypriot court’s jurisdiction.
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