The Supremacy of European Union Law over the Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus

The Supremacy of European Union Law over the Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus

Cyprus was a British colony until 1960 and as such the Cyprus legal system was highly influenced by the English legal system and the principles of common law and equity were adopted by the legal system of Cyprus.

The Cypriot Courts apply the following laws:

  •  The Constitution of the Republic
  • The laws that remained in force under Article 188 of the Constitution
  •  The common law and the principles of equity
  •  Laws enacted by the Cyprus parliament.

At this point it should be noted that in order for a State to become a member of the European Union it must first recognize the supremacy of European Union Law over national (domestic) law. Therefore Cyprus prior to becoming a Member of the European Union in 2004 accepted that the European Union Law will prevail over the Cyprus domestic law.

However according to Article 179 of the Cyprus Constitution, the Constitution will be considered the supreme law of the Republic of Cyprus. This Article came into force in August 1960 when the independence of Cyprus was proclaimed. Thus, with the accession of Cyprus to the European Community concerns arose as to which provision will prevail in the case of a conflict between a European Union provision and a provision of the Constitution.

In order to discard the above concern a new law was enacted in 2006 amending the Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus for the 5th time, adding the Article 1A according to which: “No provision in the Constitution can be deemed as overriding any legislation, acts or measures enacted or taken by the Republic which are obligatory as a member state of the European Union, nor does it hinder Regulations, Directives or other binding provisions or measures of a legislative nature enacted by the European Union from having legal force in the Republic.”