The power currently enjoyed by the Cyprus Bar Association to determine, inter alia, (the minimum and / or predetermined) fees of lawyers for out-of-court proceedings, such as interview meetings for the preparation of cases, has led to the EU Commission’s intervention.
The lawyer’s minimum wage is determined according to time spent and the location (in or out of the office) of these meetings. Lawyers may claim travel fees if these meetings take place outside the city where their law office is located.
The power currently enjoyed by the Cyprus Bar Association stems from the ‘Law for Lawyers’, the amendment of which has been demanded by the EU Commission with the justification that it affects competition.
The Ministry of Justice was forced to present a bill at the parliament in order to comply with the Commission’s requirements and to prevent the opening of a formal procedure against the Republic of Cyprus and a referral to the European Court of Justice. The bill abolishes the power of the Cyprus Bar Association to determine the (minimum and / or fixed) fees of lawyers for extrajudicial proceedings and replaces it with the power to regulate the manner and procedure for resolving any disputes arising with regard to lawyers’ fees for these proceedings.
The bill was submitted to the parliament with the request for it to be discussed in a plenary session as soon as possible, before the Commission proceeds by sending a letter of formal notice, the last stage before the Republic’s referral to the EU Court of Justice and the imposition of significant fines against the Cypriot state.