JUDICIAL STRATEGY REFORM PACKAGE
Recently a Judicial Reform Strategy has been occupying Turkish news. With the last package being presented, the issue has yet another time came to the agenda. Although it is not possible to reach to an official document that provides the final text, it is still possible to observe some certain headings that have been made available by official authorities.
The package mainly contains headings that interest the judicial process in Turkey via promising; to strengthen the rule of law, protecting and promoting rights and freedoms more effectively, strengthening the independence of the judiciary and improving impartiality increasing the transparency of the system, simplifying judicial processes, facilitating access to justice, strengthening the right of defense and efficiently protecting the right to trial in a reasonable time.
It should be said that the clauses listed below are propositions. The strategy contains 9 aims, 63 objectives and 256 activities. The aims can be specified as:
1) Protection and improvement of rights and freedoms.
2) Improving independence, impartiality and transparency of the judiciary.
3) Increasing the quality and quantity of human resources.
4) Enhancement of performance and productivity.
5) Ensuring efficient use of the right to self- defense.
6) Ensuring access to justice and enhancing satisfaction from service.
7) Enhancing the efficiency of the criminal justice system.
8) Simplification and enhancement of the efficiency of civil and administrative trials.
9) Spreading of alternative dispute resolution methods.
According to the statements of the Ministry of Justice, it can be said that -in the reform document- Turkey underlines the importance it attaches to the European Union membership process. Said reform strategy is the 3rd strategy document regarding this matter. The supposed discussions on this matter will be held at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey following the opening ceremony which will be on the 1st of October. The entire reform will be divided in 4 groups for the parties to discuss.
Accordingly, the bill of law contains the following clauses;
1) Providing a mandatory exam in every field of law practice (which will be a novelty for attorneys since the written examination wasn’t necessary earlier.)
2) As of now, in order to be admitted and enrolled to the law schools in Turkey, the student must be among the first 190.000 (in the EA score type) in the University Entrance Exams. Should the judicial reform package be accepted, only the first 100.000 students would be admitted and enrolled to the law schools.
3) The value added tax rate regarding the legal services provided by attorneys (which is 18% now) will be reduced.
4) Certain real estate and leasing contracts will have to be supervised by an attorney.
5) In labor disputes, specifically within the mediation processes, an attorney will be appointed to the labor, if needed.
6) Recently, it’s not mandatory for law firms to provide either minimum wage or insurance to legal interns. With the acceptance of the Judicial Reform package, it will be mandatory to do so.
7) There will be new regulations regarding the rights and status of the attorneys working in governmental institutions.
8) Citizens will be provided with a legal patronage insurance.
9) The performance criteria in the judiciary will be redefined; a performance based monitoring system will be developed.
10) Interim decisions will be in force after the hearing through a new e-system.
11) Attorneys with seniority more than 15 years will have the right to apply for a green passport which eliminates the visa requirements for these lawyers.
12) It is foreseen to predetermine the certain time limits for the decisions taken by the regional courts of appeals, after appellate reviews conducted within the scope of the articles concerning the freedom of expression.
13) The system for the appointment, transfer and promotion of judges and public prosecutors will be developed under objective criteria based on merit.
14) Certain offences which were committed for the first time by minors under 15 years old, will be evaluated within the protective mechanisms specific to children without subjecting them to investigation and prosecution processes.
15) As of now, cases regarding custody of the child, law enforcement are led by enforcement offices. With the judicial reform, it will be ensured that this process will be led by professionals without any expenditure.
16) A new form of enforcement office model is envisioned, in virtue of this new virtual enforcement method, keeping track of sales of the goods and estates will be transparent.
17) It is stipulated to introduce the practice of trial prosecution in criminal courts of first instance due to the increasing number of public prosecutors.
18) Cadres will be created for assistant judge and public prosecutor.
19) Entrance exam for judges and public prosecutors will be held by a participatory committee, the appointment, transfer and permanent authorization will be subject to a schedule that is determined and announced in advance.
As a result, it is expected that the above-presented headlines will be in the agenda of society in the following days and as the legislative process continues, concrete results of the package would be expected to be seen.
The data shared here was received from the official website of the Ministry of Justice. For more information please see; http://www.yargireformu.com/images/YRS_TR.pdf