International Commercial Arbitration  

Cyprus incorporates all the characteristics, which make a country an attractive) venue for international arbitration.

Choosing a place of arbitration is a particularly difficult decision. On the one hand, the jurisdiction must be neutral; on the other hand, parties must be sure that no legal obstacle will jeopardise the conduct of the arbitration and that, once the award has been made, the successful party will be able to secure its legal enforcement in the country or countries where the other side has assets.

Cyprus will be a neutral venue in most cases. Because of its history and geopolitical location, it is considered to be both part of Europe and close to the Middle East. The Cyprus law on arbitration in Cyprus has been based for years on the English 1950 Arbitration Act. Due to the several drawbacks of this law (which had to be amended in England in 1979), Cyprus proceeded to amend the same in 1987 by adopting the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration of 21 June 1985.

This law, which meets the needs of practitioners in international arbitration, applies to any international arbitration taking place in Cyprus. It limits the intervention of the Courts in the cases which are expressly provided for in the law, and in the few cases where the international community (as represented by UNCITRAL) considers the support or the control of the Courts necessary.

The parties are free to agree on the language or languages to be used in the arbitral proceedings and, failing such an agreement, the arbitrators determine the language to be used. The parties are also free to agree on the procedure to be followed in the conduct of the proceedings and on the rules of law to be applied to the substance of the dispute. Failing such an agreement, the decision is again left to the arbitrators. Thus, a tailor-made arbitration can be organised in Cyprus, according to the needs and the various legal traditions of the parties in each case.

Cyprus is a member of the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards of 10 June 1958. Therefore, an award made in Cyprus by an international arbitration tribunal can be enforced on the basis of this convention in the many countries which have also ratified it.