Hove couple back in court to fight for holiday home

Posted On 13 Nov 2009 at 11:59 pm

A couple from Hove have argued their case in court again as they to try to hang on to the holiday villa they built in Northern Cyprus.

The long-running dispute involving David and Linda Orams won’t be over just yet though.

Three judges in the Court of Appeal in London have reserved judgment but they didn’t say when they will set out their decision.

The latest twist in the case, which has been before the courts for four years, was played out at a hearing yesterday and today.

It involves a claim that the most senior judge in the European Court of Justice (ECJ), who ruled against the couple in April, could be biased.

Nicholas Green, representing the Orams, told the Court of Appeal that Judge Vassilios Skouris, President of the ECJ in Luxembourg, had had a top honour bestowed on him by Cyprus.

Mr Green also pointed out that just weeks before the ECJ judgment, the Greek judge had had a meeting with senior Greek Cypriot politicians.

Mr Green said that a final ruling against the Orams could benefit those politicians.

The Orams legal opponent, Meletios Apostolides, is also a Greek Cypriot.

The contested land is in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

Mr Apostolides, 58, claims that the land was confiscated from his family after the Turkish invasion which divided the Mediterranean island in July 1974.

His barrister, Tom Beazley, said that the bias claim was without merit and that the British courts had no choice but to uphold the ECJ ruling in favour of Mr Apostolides.

Mr Orams, 65, and Mrs Orams, 62, bought the contested plot of land in Cyprus for £50,000 seven years ago. They spent £160,000 building a villa and swimming pool.

But it is not just their holiday home in Cyprus that is at stake.

If the couple lose the case, they may also lose their home in Hill Drive, Hove. It could be swallowed up by the seven-figure legal costs. As well as Mr Green, the couple’s legal team includes Cherie Blair.

Nor are the Orams the only people who will be affected by the outcome of their epic legal battle.

The wider implications were pointed out two years ago by the President of the Supreme Court, Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, who was then Lord Chief Justice.

He said: “The principal issues in the case affect some 1,400 people who claim to own houses in Northern Cyprus and also Greek Cypriots who lay rival claims to ownership of these houses.”

The case has already dented property prices in Northern Cyprus and some Cypriots have expressed concern that it could also affect the peace process there.

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