Personal Statement (required under Section 9 of the application form)
I am a practising advocate in Cyprus I qualified as an advocate in September 2004 after completing a one year compulsory pupillage with the Cypriot firm Andreas Neocleous & Co of 199 Archbishop Makarios Avenue, Limassol, and passing the Cyprus Bar Examinations in June 2004. Immediately after qualifying, I joined my father's practice and have taken it over after his retirement. Honouring my father who started the practice, my office continues to be run under the name “ Stelios Stylianides & Co ”.
I run a general practice, like the vast majority of Cypriot advocates, but I would say that my main practice areas are general civil litigation, with more activity in the areas of contract, banking, debt collection, negligence, personal injury, employment disputes and rent control, and secondly Corporate Law, especially company registration, management and legal consulting on practically all kinds of commercial activity.
Being a general practitioner, I wish to follow this course on European Union Law hoping that I will gain a good overview of the current position in a variety of sectors and the course units as described in the course brochure do relate to my practice. Although knowledge does indeed come from work experience and research conducted on cases handled by a practitioner, in my opinion a general course significantly accelerates this knowledge acquisition process. By following a taught course, I hope to quickly acquire the basic knowledge that is necessary as more or less of a starting point for further research on cases that I will come to handle in the future. I also hope this basic knowledge will allow me to follow subsequent developments easily.
To the aforesaid effects, I also believe in the value of having a written examination as a means of assessment, because this form of assessment forces someone to become able to apply his knowledge under time constraints, something which is necessary in everyday practice. The preparation process for an examination also forces someone to memorise and, in my opinion, better acquire what forms the basic knowledge on a subject. There is additionally the chance on this course to pursue a further year of more specialised research on an area in order gain a Master of Arts degree and so enjoy the best of both worlds, general study and specialised study by research, under the guidance of a university faculty of the highest reputation and standard.
Despite the fact that knowledge of European Law is an absolute necessity in my practice following the accession of Cyprus in May 2004, this has also always been one of my interests.
I had the opportunity to attend a conference on Litigation before the Community Courts organised by the Academy of European Law in Trier in September 2006, which included a visit to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg and attending a hearing. I also attended a conference on Competition Law and Economics which was organised by the Portuguese Competition Authority in Lisbon in November 2007, and recently a conference on Litigation before the European Court of Human Rights which was organised by the Academy of European Law in Strasbourg in June 2007.
I have been a self employed sole practitioner since September 2004, so I have asked a more experienced advocate with whom I have worked extensively in litigating cases in the past to write a reference for me in support of my application.
I have not included a copy of a practising certificate as the Cyprus Bar Association issues these in the form of a license to practise for a particular year by having paid the applicable fee. These licenses are issued in Greek and having found out about the course around 14/8/2008, I did not have the time to get one officially translated by the Governmental Press and Information Office. I am of course listed as a practising advocate on the website of the Cyprus Bar Association at www.cyprusbarassociation.org.
I do not have a recent English Language qualification but I have lived and studied in England for nearly four (4) years, from September 1999 to July 2003. I was admitted to the University of Sheffield and granted a Millennium Anniversary Scholarship which covered half my fees based on GCE A' Level performance and an award of a GCE O' Level in English Language, Grade B, which I achieved in May 1995. I have successfully completed my undergraduate degree and the Bar Vocational Course which obviously requires fluency in English. I am often instructed by English speaking clients and have also been instructed by a firm of British solicitors to draft reports on the Law related to negligence as applied in Cyprus for use in English Courts on three (3) occasions so far. English continues to be my second working language and I believe I have adequate written and oral fluency to successfully complete this course.
I would like to thank you for considering my application.