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Varnavas Playbell, founder/director

Varnavas Playbell, of the newly founded Varnavas Playbell & Co. LLC, adds a fresh and vibrant face to the legal industry.

What do you see as the main points that differentiate Varnavas Playbell & Co. LLC from your competitors?

Our main competitive advantage is drive! We are a newly founded corporate law firm with skilled and knowledgeable young lawyers, not entitled by any lineage, who are hungry to showcase their skills and establish themselves in the legal market. For that reason, we serve clients faster, better and we do more for less with just as much skill.

Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?

I anticipate that we will see a significant growth in “financial services” and particularly fund related work. This, on the one end, is due to the number of tax incentives and other more recent legislative proposals aimed at making Cyprus an attractive jurisdiction and, on the other end, due to the imminent changes in the financial services industry caused by the Brexit which may lead some clients to seek solutions in alternative jurisdictions within the EU outside the conventional ones, who are already saturated and quite expensive. Relevant to financial services, “compliance” is another area set to experience growth as a result of exponential changes to the applicable legal and regulatory framework including the OECD rules on automatic exchange of information. This can also lead to a rise in “corporate restructuring” and specifically trimming down on obsolete and complicated corporate structures. Finally, the return of the Cyprus economy to positive growth coupled with the very attractive, recently improved, naturalization by investment program will likely cause a continuous rise in property development and property transactions.

What's the main change you've made in the firm that will benefit clients?

As a newly founded firm we are building rather than changing our firm to benefit clients. The firm is built on solid foundations of prevailing best practices adopted by established industry leaders but at our core we have ingenuity and innovation in sight and we aspire to evolve the way legal services are provided to clients by, inter alia, utilizing the latest technological advancements and tools. For instance, from day 1 our firm is continuously building a high-tech, bespoke, sophisticated, knowledge management system which is, and will increasingly be, a vital tool for our lawyers in delivering on our premise of speed and quality of service for great value.

Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?

Absolutely! There is a saying that every business is a tech business. This may be true for legal services as well, even more so in this era of artificial intelligence, big data and other game changers. Our firm is built with technology at its core and it can be said that our office is practically anywhere with a laptop and internet service. With cloud based servers providing remote access anywhere, anytime, featured with industry leading cybersecurity, document management systems with versioning and shared view, state of the art knowledge management systems, e-libraries, internet phone lines, IM’s, and the use of many other technologies, widely adopted or bespoke, we achieve effective communication with clients, responsiveness, speed, efficiency and quality of service but also lower administrative costs and in turn more competitive fees, overall adding value to the client.

Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?

We pride ourselves for having creativity, commercial awareness and bespoke drafting skills and the following example is a testament to that. Our firm quite recently structured a multi-million Euro investment in a new entrepreneurial venture not through equity or finance but by through a bespoke form of long term licensing. This solution was suggested and originally created by our firm taking into account our client’s interests and preferences, counterparty parameters and relevant external factors. It is no overstatement that perhaps this deal would have not been feasible for our client and would have never reached fruition had it not been for our firm’s input.

Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms - where do you see the firm in three year's time?

Clients are more concerned with quality of service, promptness and costs however stability and strategic direction are certainly important attributes, especially valued by repeat clients and referrals who are business associates. In three years’ time, I see the firm on its way to becoming an established and reputable corporate law firm in the Cyprus legal market, with its own fresh, youthful and evolutionary character, having the personnel, client base and a professional network to match that of firms who have been operating in this industry for decades. My true vision is client commendations for services rendered and true value added. Growth will come as a result.

Legal Developments in Cyprus

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • Notional Interest deduction 11/17

  • Cyprus: Changes To The Inheritance Process Under European Succession Regulation 650/2012

    The growing importance of cross border successions within the European Union and the difficulties and complications resulting from the diversity of succession and private international law rules relating to succession, prompted the European Commission to examine the possibility of introducing a Regulation that would facilitate and streamline cross border successions.
  • A fight against corruption by the proposed introduction of Criminal Record Certificates for Companie

    Due to existing problems with regards to companies competing for the undertaking of public projects, on the 28 th  September 2015 the Cabinet decided to give an end to the scandals involving the squander of millions of public money by approving an amendment Bill, which would add to the conditions for public tenders, the requirement of providing a Criminal Record Certificate for legal entities. Until today, this was not required due to gaps and loopholes in the existing Law. Provided this Bill will be passed into Law by its publication at the Official Gazette of Cyprus, companies applying for public tender will be asked to produce a certificate that would show they have a clean criminal record.

    Lis Alibi pendens is Latin for "suit pending elsewhere" . Both Articles 27 and 28 of the EU Regulation 44/2001 regulate the existence of lis alibi pendens and related judicial actions. In particular it is a doctrine that regulates the jurisdictional relationship of courts hearing concurrent proceedings involving the same or related causes of action between the same parties pending in the courts of different Member States.
  • The new features under the Recast Regulation 1215/2012

    The significance of the EU Regulation 44/2001 is well known as its rules determine both the jurisdiction of courts in the EU in civil and commercial disputes and the conditions for the recognition and the enforcement of their judgments in other EU member States.

    Case C-28/26 - Examines the right of a holding company to deduct input VAT on services acquired in the interest of its subsidiaries where those services are offered to its subsidiaries with no consideration.
  • European Commission proposes new VAT rules to support e-commerce and online businesses in the EU

    On 1 December 2016, the European Commission has published proposals to improve the Value Added Tax (VAT) environment for e-commerce businesses in the EU. Particularly, the proposed changes, aiming to allow start-ups and SMEs, to buy and sell goods and services more easily online.
  • Unjust Banking Practices in Swiss Franc Loan Agreements

    The Cypriot banking system is currently being confronted with the issue of providing foreign loans and in particular Swiss francs to both locals and foreigners to cover their housing requirements. Of principle concern in Cypriot and European Courts are the banking practices used in attracting clients to these financial institutions. It seems that misinformation through the use of various means of bank notifications and practices point towards the use of the distortion and the concealment of essential information to borrowers. The Cypriot banking system (that is sanctioned by European banking) in the provision of Swiss Francs did not in most cases provide a complete and proper briefing of the risks involved in these types of loan contracts that also incorporated exchange and interest rate fluctuations.


    The European Court of Justice (‘ECJ’) in the Gazprom Case (2015) held that anti-suit injunctions issued by arbitral tribunals in relation to the pursuit of Court proceedings within the EU, are not incompatible with the Brussels Regulation. The ECJ held that the BrusselsRegulation does not prevent a Court in an EU Member State from recognizing and enforcing an award containing such an anti-suit injunction, either pursuant to national law, or the New York Convention.