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Orams Case

The dispute over title deed to land on which a British couple (Mr. and Mrs. Oram) had purchased a villa in 2003 has been resolved in their favour by a British judge. This has had an immediate beneficial effect on property values in the north of the island.

The background to the dispute is that in 1974 the land was owned by a Greek Cypriot; following the conflict between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, the owner moved to the south of the island. Following the partition of the island, the administration in the north and south of the island each adopted positions regarding ownership and future use of land abandoned by people who had moved either north or south of the divide. These positions did not coincide and the problem remains unresolved largely, it has to be said, because of the intransigence of the Greek administration in the South.

The Orams have title deeds to their property authorised by the government of Northern Cyprus. However, in 2004, the family of the previous (Greek Cypriot) owner sought, via a court in southern Cyprus, to have his ownership of the land reaffirmed. Having obtained judgement in his favour in that court, he demanded that the land should be returned to his ownership, the villa demolished and compensation paid.

Unable to enforce these demands in Cyprus, following the accession of the Greek Republic of Cyprus to the EU in 2004 he invoked EU legislation which stated that judgement obtained in any one EU member state could be enforced in any other.

The case was entered and heard in the High Court in London where, for several reasons, the court held in favour of the defendants. The Orams’ defense team was led by Cherie Blair, wife of the British Prime Minister. Although Mrs. Blair is a practising lawyer and one of the leading experts on Human Rights, with her own legal chambers in London, the government in South Cyprus chose to regard her participation as “politically motivated.”

Following the judgement, lawyers fot the plaintiff announced their intention to appeal, and if still not successful, to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights (However, there is no more chance for Greek Cypriots to apply to ECHR with such cases any more. Please, refer to the article above).

Estate agents and developers reported an immediate upsurge in interest in buying property in the north of the island.

Many prospective buyers had been awaiting the outcome of the hearing before committing themselves to purchase. Many of them moved immediately following the judgement, in anticipation that prices will inevitable rise now that any uncertainty about title is resolved.

On more than one occasion we have drawn customers’ attention to the disparity between property prices in the south and north of the island. Prices are much cheaper in the north, and the facilities and benefits no less. There has never been a better time to buy. Furthermore, there remains considerable scope for further capital appreciation in the future, as and when the two halves of the island reach an accommodation, as they surely must.


Oram's layers



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