By Marina Vassiliou
New laws entering into force in July included significant changes to the Advocates Law, which regulates the legal profession in Cyprus, and to the law which regulates the Housing Finance Corporation.
Amendment of the Advocates Law
The Advocates Law has recently been amended to provide for registration of members of the Cyprus Bar Association who practise in other member states of the EU.
The Advocates (Amendment) Law of 2017, Law 92(Ι)/2017, amends the Advocates Law to enable registered advocates who wish to practise law in another member state with the professional title of the Republic of Cyprus to be enrolled in a special section of the register.
Registered advocates practising in another member state under these arrangements do not need to meet the requirements of permanent residence in Cyprus that generally apply to registered lawyers.
Amendment of the law governing the Housing Finance Corporation
In addition, Law 43/1980, which establishes the Housing Finance Corporation (HFC) and regulates its operations, has been amended to clarify the functions of the organisation, and to add new functions.
The Housing Finance Organization (Amendment) Law of 2017, Law 96(Ι)/2017 amends the original law to provide that the primary purpose of the HFC is to provide, with priority to persons with medium or low income, mortgages and other types of property loans and facilities.
Recognising that the HFC is the main provider of financial services to people on low or medium incomes, the amendments empower the HFC to provide new services and facilities.
The section of the law dealing with the functions of the HFC has been expanded to allow it to grant secured loans for the purchase of a residential plot, for residential equipment and upgrading domestic energy systems, and for a number of other purposes, including tuition fees or other costs directly related to academic studies and medical coverage.
In addition, the HFC is now empowered to provide secured overdraft facilities and guarantees, and to issue debit and credit cards and provide payment services in accordance with the Payment Services Law.
Marina Vassiliou is Advocate / Associate in the Litigation Department of ELIAS NEOCLEOUS & CO LLC www.neo.law