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Legal market overview
Cyprus was engulfed in financial woe in 2012, having previously been viewed as something of a safe harbour against the global economic crisis. In June, the country sought financial aid and support, and entered negotiations with the IMF, the European Commission and the European Central Bank. However, Cyprus remains attractive as an international business hub, due to both its strategic location and tax incentives. The country recently introduced another new tax incentive relating to IP rights.
Many existing corporate, M&A and finance instructions pertain to international investments via Cyprus, using the jurisdiction as a base from which to invest in other markets. The country has many links to Russia and former Soviet Union countries, and increasingly has clients from the US and Hong Kong.
A significant, positive development came in the form of the recent discovery of gas deposits offshore. All exploration activity remains at an early stage, but this evidently presents an opportunity and will increase interest in the jurisdiction.
The legal market remains dominated by family-owned legal practices with teams providing comprehensive general commercial and investment advice. Specialisation within practices remains the exception rather than the norm, but international lawyers are ‘impressed with the level of expertise on this small island’.