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APOSTOLIDES (2009) FACTS The reference was made in the course of proceedings between Mr Apostolides, a Cypriot national, and Mr and Mrs Orams, a British married couple ('the Orams'), concerning the recognition and enforcement in the United Kingdom, under Regulation No 44/2001, of two judgments given by the Eparkhiako Dikastirio tis Lefkosias (District Court, Nicosia) (Cyprus). The land is situated at Lapithos, in the district of Kyrenia, which is in the northern area. It belonged to Mr Apostolides' family, which occupied it before the invasion of Cyprus by the Turkish army in
1974. As members of the Greek Cypriot community, Mr Apostolides' family was forced to abandon their house and take up residence in the area of the island effectively controlled by the Cypriot Government ('the Government-controlled area'). The Orams claim to have purchased the land in 2002 in good faith from a third party, the latter having himself acquired it from the authorities of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, an entity which, to this day, has not been recognised by any State except the Republic of Turkey. The successive acquisitions were in accordance with the laws of that entity. The Orams built a villa and frequently occupy the property as their holiday home. Proceedings before Cyprus courts by Apostolides: On 26 October 2004, the Eparkhiako Dikastirio tis Lefkosias, a Cypriot court established in the Government-controlled area, issued the documents instituting proceedings in the action brought by Mr Apostolides against the Orams. On the same day, those documents, one for each spouse, were served at the property on the land by a process server from that court. The documents were both served by being handed in person to Mrs Orams who refused to sign for them. The process server did not inform Mrs Orams that he was a process server or of the nature of the documents served by him, the documents being written in Greek, which the Orams do not understand. However, Mrs Orams understood that those documents were legal and official in nature. On 9 November 2004, as no one had entered an appearance for the Orams, the Eparkhiako Dikastirio tis Lefkosias gave a default judgment on Mr Apostolides' claim. On the same day, the court refused the authority presented by Mrs Orams' lawyer because it was written in English and not in Greek or Turkish. Application by Orams to have the judgment set aside: On 15 November 2004, the Orams applied to have the judgment set aside. After hearing evidence and arguments from the Orams and
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