Law of the SBAs

  • Legislation applicable in the Sovereign Base Areas
  • Legislation applicable in the Sovereign Base Areas comprises:
    • Orders made under the royal prerogative applicable to the Sovereign Base Areas;
    • laws of Cyprus made before the independence of the Republic of Cyprus  in 1960 and inherited by the Sovereign Base Areas;
    • Ordinances and Public Instruments made under the authority of  the Administrator on or after 16 August 1960;
    • laws made by the Parliament of the United Kingdom applicable  to the Sovereign Base Areas, or which have been extended to the Areas by secondary legislation;
    • certain EU legislation directly applicable in the Sovereign Base Areas by virtue of the European Union (Protocol Measures) Ordinance 2004.
  • The laws of Cyprus were consolidated in 1959, immediately before the independence of the Republic of Cyprus, and the Sovereign Base Areas inherited most of this legislation. 
  • When the Republic of Cyprus became independent in 1960, the United Kingdom declared that the laws applicable to the Cypriot population of the Sovereign Base Areas would be as far as possible the same as the laws of the Republic, and the laws of the Republic form the basis of most of the law made in the Sovereign Base Areas.  Some laws of the Republic of Cyprus, primarily those relating to agriculture, excise duty and VAT are “adopted” as made by the Republic of Cyprus.  Adopted laws form part of the law of the Sovereign Base Areas without the need for new SBA legislation to be made when the law of the Republic of Cyprus changes. 
  • In the main, EU law does not apply in the Sovereign Base Areas but under the protocol agreed when the Republic of Cyprus joined the European Union in 2004, European Union law in areas such as customs, VAT, agriculture and fisheries applies in the Areas.
  • Some laws of the United Kingdom are also applicable to the Sovereign Base Areas or have been extended by Order in Council.  These laws are mainly in the field of external relations, such as giving legal effect to sanctions imposed by resolutions of the United Nations. 
  • All legislation is made in the English language.  Primary legislation in the Sovereign Base Areas is referred to as “ordinances” (differing slightly from the Republic of Cyprus, where such legislation is referred to as “Laws in the Republic of Cyprus”, and the UK, where it is referred to as Acts). Secondary legislation in the Sovereign Base Areas is called “public instruments”, as in the Republic of Cyprus (but different to the UK, where such legislation is referred to as “statutory instruments”)
  • How legislation is made
  • The Sovereign Base Areas does not have a representative legislature. The Administrator has the power, by reason of the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia Order in Council, 1960, to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Sovereign Base Areas, but subject in particular to:
    • - a right of the Crown through a Secretary of State to disallow, and
    • - the declaration made in 1960 by the UK government, referred to above.
  •  The Attorney General and Legal Adviser is responsible for advising the Administrator whether proposed legislation is compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.
  • Other sources of law
  • The courts of the Sovereign Base Areas, in civil and criminal cases, must not only apply the legislation of the Areas, but also, where a matter is not covered by an Ordinance, the common law of England and the doctrines of equity.
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