The Court of Appeal does not review its decisions

The Court of Appeal does not review its decisions

by George Coucounis

“Jurisprudence confirms the finality of the decisions of the Court of Appeal”

The powers vested in the Court of Appeal by the Law and the Constitution do not give it jurisdiction to review its decisions or orders, except in rare cases, where in exercise of its inherent power it can set aside a decision issued against the principles of natural justice. Order 25 rule 6 of the Civil Procedure Rules provides the possibility for any Court, including the Court of Appeal, to amend a decision, which however, concerns the correction of a grammatical error. The recourse to article 32 of the Courts of Justice Law, L.14/60, which provides for the issuance of an interim order and that the Court may, at any time and after proof of reasonable cause, cancel or modify an order, under conditions it may grant to the Court of Appeal such possibility too, if and as long as the interest of the administration of justice so requires.

The Rent Control Court issued an order for the eviction of a statutory tenant from a property, in order for the owner to regain its possession with a view to demolish it and construct a new building. The Court issuing the order, suspended its execution from month to month for a period of 7 months, on the condition that the tenant would pay to the landlord on the 1st day of every month, with 7 days grace period, a certain amount as mesne profits. The tenant appealed the decision and filed to the Court an application seeking an order staying the eviction order pending a decision on the appeal. The Court did not accept his application and dismissed it.

The tenant, invoking the provisions of Order 35 rule 19 of the Civil Procedure Rules, filed an application to the Supreme Court and requested a suspension of the execution of the order to recover possession of the property until a decision is issued on the appeal. The Court in the exercise of its discretion issued the order and ordered a stay of execution of the eviction order pending a decision on the appeal, provided that the tenant would continue to pay the landlord on the 1st day of every month, with 7 days grace period, the amount determined by the trial Court as mesne profits.

The landlord then applied to the Supreme Court seeking review of the stay of execution of the eviction order and setting it aside. He claimed that the property was mortgaged to a banking institution and that a credit acquisition company took over the mortgage loan as non-performing and proceeded selling the property by sending the relevant notices based on the Immovable Property (Transfer and Mortgage) Law, 9/1965. The property was put up for sale by public auction, but was not sold because there was no interested buyer. The owner in his application argued that if he is allowed to take possession of the property and use it, then the process of forced sale of the property will stop, while further delay in using it will have disastrous consequences for him.

Referring to the above facts, the Supreme Court examined the application of the landlord and dismissed it, deciding that it lacks any legislative, jurisdictional and constitutional basis. In its decision in Civil Appeal 105/2020, dated 26.10.2022, it referred to the authorities confirming the finality of the decisions of the Court of Appeal. As pointed out in Civil Appeal 260/2011, dated 21.12.2018, the Court’s inherent jurisdiction applies where it appears that a decision, even at the level of the Court of Appeal, is invalid due to a violation of the rules of natural justice, such as conducting a trial in the absence of a party’s notice of the proceedings. Only in such cases it is possible to re-open the case and restore justice.

The Supreme Court held that article 32 of Law 14/1960, which deals with the amendment of issued interim orders and under conditions, provides such a possibility, but is not applicable in the case under consideration. It emphasized that every Court, including the Court of Appeal, has the jurisdiction to correct its decision if the correction concerns a grammatical error in accordance with Order 25 rule 6. It concluded that what the landlord was essentially seeking was to intervene in a decision of the Court of Appeal by calling on the Court of Appeal to exercise jurisdiction, which is not provided for in our legal system and therefore dismissed his application.