Solicitors governing body: Cyprus Bar Association
Competition authority: Commission for the Protection of Competition
Financial regulator: Central Bank of Cyprus
IFLR1000 ranking categories for this jurisdiction:
The Cypriot legal system, though still codified like a civil law system, is largely based on English common law. As a EU state, much of the country’s legislation is line with EU legal principles.
In line with most EU states, EU, EEA and Swiss nationals may practice law in Cyprus, though they can only practice local law in association with a Cypriot lawyer. Foreign law firms may open an office in the country if they are from an EEA country, but must have the name of their local law partner in the firm’s title.
The market is largely made up of domestic firms, an exception is Harneys Aristodemou Loizides Yiolitis that maintains a link with offshore firm Harneys. The size of the market is largely responsible for this situation.
Cyprus has established itself as a low tax jurisdiction, and like similar centres the country benefits from the re-domiciling of assets and capital. Because of the country’s double tax treaties, historically a lot of this activity has come from Russia and the Ukraine, though the former has stepped up a campaign in recent years to get its citizens and companies to move their assets back to the home nation. Interest from abroad has also allowed the country’s real estate sector to thrive.
Lawyers are often generalists, but many are specialised in the setting up of Cyprus investment structures and funds for the reasons mentioned above.
AG Erotocritou is a relatively young firm having been set up in 2013 by former Chrysses Demetriades & Co lawyer Alexis Erotocritou.
Although best known for its dispute resolution practice the firm has been active in financial and corporate space having advised on financing, fund formation matters, real estate in the tourism sector, restructurings and corporate relocations.
“The firm is always up to date in its daily work and has a deep understanding of the markets and finance in general, which contributes to its top-class level of performance. Attention to detail and thoroughness of the firm is worth noting.” – Banking and finance, M&A
“They are very motivated and know well the Cyprus law industry and have good experience, also they have very talented lawyers within the firm.” – Banking and finance
“AG Erotocritou has proved to be a reliable legal adviser with a high level of expertise. They always respond in a timely fashion, provide clear and sufficient explanations.” – Restructuring and insolvency
“This law firm has very good experience in the corporate and finance sector with experienced and professional legal advisers. They are very cooperative and try to provide their client with the utmost assistant and at the same time their fees are very reasonable.” - Corporate
“They are responsive with a good knowledge of legal issues.” - Regulatory
“No notable weakness as the firm was punctual with deadlines. In addition the firm was very responsive to communications and this leads to effective and efficient communication for the fulfilment of many of our projects together.” – Banking and finance
“Alexis is an extremely knowledgeable strategic-thinker who always handles projects in a very professional manner. At the same time he is really accessible and communicative.”
“Alexis is a young talented and very motivated lawyer, he is a great communicator and hard worker.”
“Fully satisfied with the lawyer's work. The lawyer is knowledgeable in both finance and corporate issues. Very quick responses to our requests.”
“He is an excellent legal adviser with very good corporate and finance experience, he is so friendly and cooperative with his clients to the extreme.”
“He is responsive, easy to access with a good knowledge of various legal issues and an ability to provide advice very quickly.”
“Very responsive, efficient and knowledgeable in many areas.”
Antoniou McCollum & Co is the former legal partner of EY in Cyprus but now acts as an independent firm.
Much of the firm’s work is confidential but public matters include two projects working alongside Clifford Chance including acting on the setup and acquisition of an NPL platform.
The firm has also acted for the likes of Apollo Fund and Vistra.
Dr K Chrysostomides & Co is a well-established firm in the Cyprus market active across financial and corporate.
The firm has focused on corporate and financial restructurings and financings during the research period. A notable deal highlighting this was the firm’s work on a debt restructuring of DME Group. The firm also picked up the local Cyprus on some notable international M&A transactions.
Staffing changes include the addition of associate Marie Thomas.
Key clients include Alpha Bank Cyprus, Ford, Gazprombank, Rio Tinto, Société Générale and USB Bank.
“Very good skills, very good service and prompt attention, no specific weakness.” – M&A
“Anna Rossides, Artemis Amalia Metaxa and Christia-Lydia Kastellani mainly handled this matter. Compared with the counterparty’s Cypriot law firm they are responsive, more experienced in M&A and have sufficient legal knowledge and practice for these type of transactions. Their advice was pragmatic and very helpful in smoothly closing the deal.” – M&A
“The firm always provide high-quality services leveraging to the full its team of solid professionals who have thorough sector knowledge, business agility, considerable expertise in transaction support and commitment to the best practices in the area.” – Restructuring and insolvency
“We value and highly appreciate our liaisons with the firm’s lawyers handling our requests. The partner Pavlos Symeonides provides high-quality and solutions-oriented consultancy services.”
Elias Neocleous is the largest firm in Cyprus and has undergone a rebranding this year having previously been known as Andrea Neocleous & Co.
During the research period the firm has been particularly active on real estate finance matters and deals in the energy and shipping sectors. It also picked up work on a rare bond issue in Cyprus advising on a Eurobond issue by O1 Properties Finance.
Key clients include Bank of China, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Hudson Advisors and VTB Bank.
“This is one of the best law firms I worked with in Cyprus. Very responsive, very quick, very qualified, very client-oriented.” – Banking and finance, M&A
“They are an exceptionally professional law firm that compares well with the top global players. In our view, they are the top Cyprus firm. Extremely responsive, well connected, acting on international standards, attentive to detail. The work product and service they deliver is impeccable. We see no need to use any other firm in Cyprus.” – Banking and finance, M&A
“The firm Elias Neocleous & Co acts as a general counsel so they advise on all Cypriot related issues (corporate, legal and tax) regarding the holding entity and its subsidiaries. We are so far very satisfied with the services, the law firm provides professional, easy-to-understand and prompt responses.” – Banking and finance, M&A
“Detail orientated, knowledge and understanding of client’s goals and needs, business thinking.” – Banking and finance, M&A
“A very large law firm with specialisation and expertise in all fields. No need to look further for any legal issues.” – Restructuring and insolvency
“Excellent English language, approachable and responsive.”
“Excellent, a top lawyer, extremely professional, international standard, great person.”
“Knowledgeable, serious, punctual and has good experience.”
Harneys Aristodemou Loizides Yiolitis is the Cypriot branch of the wider Harney’s network, which has offices across the Caribbean, in financial centres such as London, Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai and more unique locations including Brazil, Mauritius and Uruguay.
The firm has been active on capital markets matters during the research period, advising on bond issues by the likes of Aroundtown Property Holdings, Camposol and Kernel. The firm has also been active on financing and refinancings.
The only staffing change during the research period was the departure of partner Margarita Hadjitofi.
Key clients include Advent International, Clearstream, Lukoil, Rosneft and UBS Asset Management,
The firm launched a fiduciary business in Cyprus in 2017. This is a model sometimes adopted by offshore firms allowing them to offer clients more than just legal advice.
"Responsive and sensitive to the deadlines we frequently work towards. Working with them is, in many ways, similar to working with one of our smaller overseas offices. I have my "go to" lawyers in the team.” – M&A
“He is technically strong.”
Ioannides Demetriou is active across the financial and corporate space, perhaps with more of a focus on corporate work.
The firm has been active on projects and real estate matters during the research period. Notable examples include advising on the Limassol port project, the redevelopment of Larnaca port and the privatisation of the Larnaca and Paphos airports. Elsewhere the firm had a role on the Bank of Cyprus IPO on the LSE.
Key clients include the likes of Commerzbank, The Cyprus Stock Exchange, Hermes Airports and the Cypriot Ministry of Communications and Works.
Kaimakliotis is a young firm established in 2016 by former Linklaters lawyer Pavlos Kaimakliotis. The firm is focused on M&A work.
Highlights from the research period include advising a bidder on a bid for National Bank of Greece’s Cyprus subsidiary. The firm also worked on matters linked to Poland and Ukraine.
M Economides Kranos & Co is focused mainly on dispute resolution but does work on financial and corporate matters as well.
Much of the firm’s work in Cyprus is confidential but it can be said that the firm acted on financial and shareholder restructurings
“I am impressed by Mr Michalis Economides knowledge, punctuality, perfectionism and methodical handling of my cases outside court and especially in court. Overall, M Economides Kranos has a great team. Each and every person is polite, friendly, punctual and eager to assist their clients. No weaknesses. I trust them with my life.” – Corporate
“Methodical, knowledgeable, very smart and a perfectionist in everything.”
All of Michael Damianos & Co’s work is confidential but it can be said that it has advised on restructurings, disputes and some M&A and joint ventures.
"Michael Damianos is highly compassionate, helpful and attentive to our client’s legal needs. He is very quick to respond to our inquiries and always provides multiple options of solid advice and counsel. We are of the strong opinion that Michael Damianos & Co is among the best law firms in the area. Before engaging Michael Damianos we were collaborating with a number of law firms and individual practitioners in Cyprus, which is not the case after we started to use his professional services. He is a very detailed and committed attorney who is always on top of the situation and very informative of how to handle any problems as they arise. Michael’s solid experience and deep knowledge of the UK law is extremely important and allowed us to successfully complete a number of complex multijurisdictional matters for our clients. In short we can say that Michael and his team are very committed to providing their clients with the highest quality legal service.”
Michael Kyprianou & Co has been active across financings and M&A during the research period, though client names and details are confidential.
The firm has picked up a number of deals with a Russian element during the research period in the energy, real estate and shipping sectors.
Staffing changes include the addition of associates Nefeli Zimboulaki, Stavros Ioannou and Kyriacos Constantinou.
"The banking and finance team of Michael Kyprianou & Co is very accessible, has very good commercial understanding and great knowledge. Very good value for money.” – Banking and finance, project development
“Michael Kyprianou & Co is highly professional and provides services at the highest level. We were particularly impressed with the prompt responses, in-depth legal knowledge and business orientated approach.” – M&A
“Extensive experience and knowledge, clearness, promptness and attention to details satisfying every angle of the required undertakings.” – M&A
“Excellent team that meets clients' expectations. Pro-active and scrutinised advice. You feel safe in their hands” – M&A
“Lorena is able to provide very pointed advice under enormous time pressure.”
“Tonia Antoniou is a very responsive, highly motivated and hard-working expert.”
“Extensive knowledge of the local and international financial markets, speedy response to urgent matters, friendly approach with attention to detail and good value for money. Great mind.”
Papantoniou & Papantoniou has been active on projects in the past year including advising a Chinese shipping company on the construction of a new west pier at the Port of Piraeus. In the real estate sector the firm also took on work on the renovation of a hotel in Aya Napa.
Staffing changes include the addition of associate Andreas Xenofontos.
Patrikios Pavlou & Associates is best known for banking and finance and capital markets work and has advised on a range of financings and share transfers during the research period, often with a Russian element.
The firm has added two new senior finance lawyers to its rankings during the research period in the forms of Giannis Potsis and Nasia Papakonstantinou.
A key client is Gazprombank, who the firm has advised on a range of financings and restructurings.
“Thorough, responsive and good attention to detail.” – Banking and finance, M&A
Lia Iordanou Theodoulou
“Excellent, very responsive and very good attention to detail.”
Soteris Pittas & Co has been primarily involved in general corporate structuring and shareholder agreements during the research period. Most of the firm’s work has been connected to Russia or the United Kingdom.
Key clients include the likes of A1, Aero Group and PrimeCap.
“Soteris Pittas & Co provides very good services in the areas where they have got enough experience. Always clear and within the reasonable timeframe.” – Regulatory, restructuring and insolvency
“A modern, dynamic firm housing some talented individuals. An impressive offering from Limassol with a very professional and effective management team. Regardless of our queries there is always someone with the relevant area of expertise and nothing is too much trouble.” – Regulatory
“Soteris Pittas & Co is a very strong team of high-qualified lawyers and legal experts.” – M&A, real estate finance
“The main strength is the very deep knowledge of Cypriot legal and court system.” – Restructuring and insolvency
“Professional with an excellent depth of knowledge, clearly reliable, responsive and knows exactly what she is talking about.”
“She proved to be highly professional.”
“We have cooperated over a number of cases, he is very good.”
Stelios Americanos & Co has put a focus on real estate during the research period acting on both financings and acquisitions.
The firm has added a number of new lawyers to its practice during the research period including Thanos Fiakas, Kyriaki Christofi, Andreas Parpas, Chrysanthi Epifaniou and Xenia Kalogirou. On the other side Fanie Leontiades and George Andreou departed the firm.
Key clients include Alfa Bank, Immofinanz, PAO and VTB Bank.
“Long-time relationships with the team and its members add value to the legal support of separate deals and closing complex transactions. This significantly increases speed, quality and the effectiveness of the whole process.” – Capital markets, M&A
“The firm is highly professional, yet at the same time is very responsive and willing to accommodate the clients' needs and desires to the full extent possible.” – Banking and finance, M&A
“Quick turnaround times, clear advice, accessible and cooperative.” – Banking and finance, M&A
“Excellent! Extremely knowledgeable, supportive and fast.”
“Highly professional, responsive and available with a solid proactive approach to clients and excellent commercial understanding of the clients' needs.”
“Reliable advice, very commercial.”