The case is referred to the competent court if it has jurisdiction.
The choice of the court in which the case is brought depends on its jurisdiction, and in the absence of jurisdiction, the court may stay the proceedings and refer the case to the competent court for consideration.
The Court of Special Jurisdiction hears specific matters determined by law, such as the Rent Control Court, the Labor Tribunal, or the Family Court, and the District Court does not have jurisdiction to hear such cases.
Relevant is Article 64A of the Law on the Courts, L.14/1960, which provides that if an action, petition or matter within the jurisdiction of a court of special jurisdiction is brought before a district court, the district court shall suspend the proceedings and refer the matter to the competent court of special jurisdiction. It also provides that any court of special jurisdiction, if it finds that it lacks substantive jurisdiction to hear an action, application or case brought before it, suspends the proceedings and refers the case to the competent district court or any other court of special jurisdiction.
This issue was raised before the President of the Rent Control Court, who ruled on 16 March and dismissed the main application and the transfer application due to lack of court and district court jurisdiction. In particular, the owner of the apartment applied for a rent increase and in the process discovered that his property did not meet the requirements for a “property” within the meaning of the Rent Control Act because it was not completed before 2000.He filed an application for the transfer of the case to the district court for consideration. The tenant filed an objection arguing that the matter concerned a special proceeding in which the only competent court was the Rent Control Court (RCC) and therefore the case could not be taken to the district court.
The court agreed with the tenant and determined the legal framework, referred it to its jurisdiction and proceedings in the RCC. He stated that the jurisdiction of the RCC derives from section 4(1) of the law, is defined in section 2 and extends to any matter relating to a protected relationship between a landlord and a tenant. Section 8(1) of the law provides that no increase in rent for residential premises or shops may be imposed on a legitimate tenant, except as provided by law, i.e. certain conditions must be met, such as the existence of a statutory right to lease, the expiration of two years from the date the tenant took possession of the property, or from the last increase or decrease in rent. The procedure in the RCC is specific and includes an investigation conducted by the court,
The Court concluded that Article 8 dealt with enforcement that took precedence over those agreed by the parties privately. The applicant’s right of action rested solely on Article 8, a matter within the exclusive jurisdiction of the RPC.The purpose of applying the procedure under section 64 A is to preserve, through the mechanism of transfer, civil actions brought in a court without jurisdiction, and not to make the court competent or to establish concurrent jurisdiction of district courts and special courts, which something that would be unacceptable.
George Coucunis is a lawyer practicing in Larnaca and founder of George Coucounis LLC, Advocates & Legal Consultants