The Supreme Court has set new restrictions on Judges when they have lawyers who are members of their family appearing before them.
The new regulation provides that a judge will not act alone or as a member of a court or any jurisdiction, in case where the attorney appearing is a member of the ‘family of the judge’.
The term “family of the judge” includes parents, spouse, children, spouses of his/her children, siblings, nephews/nieces and siblings’ spouses, persons with whom the judge maintains a relationship of father/mother-in-law and son/daughter in law or in-laws and and persons with whom he/she may have spiritual relation
The term “spouse of a judge” includes a partner of the judge or any other person in such a close personal relationship with the judge. It should be noted that this court practice does not apply in cases of typical/non formal appearances.
In cases where the appearing lawyers are employers or employees or partners or have a professional relationship with lawyers-who are members of the judge’s family (including trainee lawyers), the judge will have to inform the parties by exposing the relevant facts. If an objection is raised, the Judge shall decide whether or not to exclude himself in the light of relevant case law. If there is no objection and the Judge does not consider that there is a reason to exclude himself, he is free to proceed with the case.
This new regulation has emerged due to a recent decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), in which the court justified a former pilot of Cyprus Airways in his appeal against the Republic for violation of his right to a fair trial.