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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 September 2006, 13:54 GMT 14:54 UK
Couple win court fight over villa
David and Linda Orams
The Orams bought the plot for their villa with savings of 160,000
A Sussex couple seeking to keep their dream holiday villa in northern Cyprus have won their High Court battle.

Linda and David Orams, from Hove, built their property in Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus four years ago after buying the plot with retirement funds.

They were taken to court by Meletios Apostolides, who said his family owned the land, near Kyrenia, in the 1970s.

He had insisted that either the villa was knocked down or the Orams handed their property in Sussex over to him.

Mr Orams, 61, and his wife, 59, spent their 160,000 savings on buying the plot and building the villa and pool.

They bought the land from the registered owner in accordance with the laws and land registry system of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) - which was declared after Turkish troops invaded the area in 1974.

We feel we've never done anything wrong and we are very happy with the result
Linda Orams
But Mr Apostolides, a Greek Cypriot, insisted the land was rightfully his because his family had been uprooted from it by the Turkish invasion.

Speaking outside the court, he said: "I was 24 when I left the land and that particular place, and you have people that are claiming it's their own now."

A statement issued on behalf of the couple said the judgment was a "total vindication" of their position.

It said: "It is a substantial victory in a battle by them to maintain and retain their retirement home and their home in England.

"The judgment allows others in the same position to invest in TRNC without the threat of enforcement of judgments rendered in the Republic of Cyprus in the EU."

The villa in Cyprus
Meletios Apostolides had insisted the plot of land was rightfully his

Their counsel, Cherie Booth QC, had argued that the case raised a matter of fundamental importance for people who lived in the Turkish-controlled region in relation to property dealings.

Mr Justice Jack's ruling that a judgement obtained against the retired couple in Nicosia was not enforceable in the English courts followed a four-day hearing at the High Court in London in July.

The judge gave Mr Apostolides permission to appeal.

He also ordered that he should pay 75% of the Orams' 863,000 costs, with an interim payment of 150,000 - although 75,000 of that will be stayed, pending appeal.

The remaining 75,000 has to be paid within 28 days.

Speaking outside the court Mrs Orams said the couple were very happy.

"It's been two years and a hard struggle. We feel we've never done anything wrong and we are very happy with the result," she said.

"We have every faith in English justice and the EU.

"We realise it's not the end. It's just the beginning of the long road but we have every confidence that we will win the second appeal."




SEE ALSO
Couple await judgement on villa
21 Jul 06 |  Southern Counties

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