HC Deb 05 May 1881 vol 260 cc1817-8

asked the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether instructions have been given to Her Majesty's Administrator in Cyprus to permit the introduction of the Greek language into the courts of justice in that island?


I regret, Sir, that it will be necessary to reply to this Question at somewhat greater length than to that of my hon. Friend the Member for Burnley (Mr. Rylands). Proceedings in the Courts of Cyprus are usually commenced by petitions, which are written either in Greek or in Turkish, according to the pleasure of the litigant, and the litigant or his advocate usually argues before the Courts in one or other of these languages, which are on a perfect equality. In the Nicosia district five-eighths of the cases are argued in Greek. Other languages are not excluded, but are not encouraged. Summonses and the like are made out in Greek, Turkish, and English. In most of the Courts a majority, in all some, of the Judges speak Greek fluently. Judgments are recorded in English and Turkish, these being the languages chiefly spoken by the officers of the Courts who have to execute them. The re-organization of the Courts of Cyprus is under consideration, and the importance of these language questions will not be overlooked.