The Law of Torts in The Republic of Cyprus
As almost every introductory article written about torts would tell you, a tort is explained in the simplest way to essentially be a civil wrong. Breaking up the two-worded definition provides all that there’s to know for a quick introduction to the subject. A tort is a wrongful act done by a person (or a legal entity) against another which even though isn’t criminally punishable but still makes the wrongdoer liable for their illegitimate and wrongful actions which have caused damage to the affected person. This applies exclusively only where the wrongdoer had an essential duty to not cause such harm to the affected person.
Tort, one of the oldest practiced forms of law, relies heavily on common sense in the day to day reactions of the world and assumes a person’s rights continue only as long as they are not infringing the legitimate rights of any other.
Cyprus, as a result of its intertwined history with England, has a legal system based on the common law thereby inheriting all its basic doctrines and structure. Tort Law in Cyprus like in almost all other legal jurisdictions makes for the broadest and the most active category in civil law and one of the most subscribed overall. A tort is always pursued in civil courts for civil actions but in certain cases like those of defamation, trespass or assault a criminal prosecution is just as available.
Prerequisites to constitute a tort
For a plaintiff to the court to succeed in his claim under tort law, three main things need to be established without a doubt.
- The act or omission committed was wrongful in nature, i.e., in violation of the law.
- The person approaching the court suffered an injury due to the wrongful act.
- There can clearly be established the existence of a duty of care on part of the person committing the tort (tortfeasor) towards the plaintiff and that this duty was breached by the accused.
For a person on the receiving end of a tort, there are two main remedies to be accessed through the court. The most practiced form is of damages or monetary compensation for the rights violated. If the wrongful actions against the plaintiff are still continuing they can also plead to the court for an injunction which is an order to immediately stop the wrongful act for the time being or permanently.
Torts by the nature of the fault involved are identified within three broad categories intentional torts, negligence, and torts under strict-liability. As in all matters dealing with establishing liability or guilt, intent plays a significant part in this. Torts committed with full knowledge of the injury they might cause to the plaintiff or their protected rights are called as intentional torts. Whereas the wrongful acts committed due to a careless approach or negligent behavior, in general, leading to an injury to the plaintiff are classified as negligence under tort law. When the tortfeasor is neither intentionally causing harm nor is negligent they can still be liable by strict liability. In cases where their duty to care is so important, due to the inherently dangerous nature of the act or substance being dealt with, that any injury to the plaintiff even with all proper care exercised on the accused’s part and no mala fide intention still results in liability.
The damages awarded after establishing liability under torts are proportional to the extent of the injury suffered by the plaintiff, and are done with the intention of reconstituting the position of the plaintiff to where they were before the tort was committed to them. The special damages awarded are specific to the exact monetary loss incurred and the general damages are for losses which are often hard to calculate with exactitude. The courts can also award punitive or exemplary damages as a punitive measure towards the tortfeasor or to set an example and deter the commission of similar torts, respectively. The punitive and exemplary damages when awarded are significantly larger for the sake of creating a deterrent effect.
Defenses against torts
The plaintiff doesn’t get any relief from the court against the claim of torts if they undertook a reasonably foreseeable risk by their own consent or if there was carelessness on the part of the plaintiff contributing to the injury.
Liability of Occupiers and Employers
An employer has a duty to pursue reasonable care to keep their employees safe at all times while in pursuance of their work for the employer. This duty only exists to the extent that a reasonable amount of care has been taken and is not said to be violated if the injury to the employees is caused due to some unforeseen circumstances.
Much like an employer, an occupier of any premises holds a duty to all lawful visitors, and in some ways to the trespassers, to ensure their safety while on the premises in all reasonably foreseeable ways.
We Can Help With All Matters Relating To Torts
Simon Zenios & Co has extensive experience coupled with expertise in dealing with a spectrum of civil cases including tort law. We make sure to provide assistance keeping in mind the exact needs of the client and the specific details of the case. The facts of the case matter a lot in tort cases and thus we pay enormous attention to the minutest of details and leave no stone unturned to prepare a water-tight case for you.
How to know if your injury qualifies for action under Torts
Cyprus law isn’t just restricted to injuries to a person’s body and property but also includes psychological and mental injuries. One of the essential components to qualify for action in most cases is negligent behavior and the smart choice is to get in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible to discuss the specifics and know what category your injury qualifies under. We can help you understand the exact nature of the duty of care owed to you or owed by you in case of an injury occurring. We can also assist you to decide whether your action should be initiated in criminal or civil courts in case it qualifies as an offence in both.
A few of the matters for which you can contact us right away are –
- Defective Product – Injury due to breach in duty for priding safe-to-use products
- Employer’s Liability
- Occupier’s Liability – Injury due to occupier’s fault or carelessness at their premises
- Personal Injury
- Psychological Injury
- Injury by possession of dangerous objects
- Liability for Fire
- Monetary loss by a wrongful act
If you have any questions about an injury caused, the extent of your rights, or for any other civil matters in general, we are always here to answer all your queries.