Provisions of the Civil Procedure Code regarding appeals were
amended in 2004 via the amendment Law no. 5236 published in the
Official Gazette no. 25606. With these changes, the former
single-degree Turkish appeal system now provides for two appeal
stages. Albeit the "Regional Courts of Justice"
– the first degree appeal courts - were established as
per the Ministry of Justice decision in 2007; these courts have not
started operating as their infrastructure has not been completed
and their judges are yet to be appointed. Chief public prosecutors
for Regional Courts of Justice have recently been appointed,
leading to the expectation that these courts will start operating
Similar to the former appeal
process, the first-degree appeal courts review and examine
decisions held by local courts; and suspend the finalization of
local court decisions during the course of this review. The
difference is that in the former appeal process (now the
second-degree appeal process) local court decisions may only be
subjected to a legal examination, meaning that the examination is
based on whether the local court decisions are
"correct" from a legal aspect but the facts and
evidence leading to such decision are not evaluated. While the
Supreme Court of Appeals deviates from this rule from time to time;
its actual purpose is to provide a legal examination only. With the
introduction of Regional Courts of Justice as first-degree appeal
courts conducting a thorough review of the local court decisions
including the evidence and facts, the Supreme Court of Appeals is
intended to return to its actual purpose. As such, the Supreme
Court's function as a high court that sets and combines
precedents, and thus improves the application of laws will be
highlighted. Regional Courts of Justice, however, would conduct an
examination including the facts and evidence as well as the
application of legal provisions to the case by the first degree
local courts. Once the Regional Courts of Justice start operating,
the "revision of decision" remedy under Turkish
law will also be abolished.
While the grounds for appealing the
local court decisions in first-degree appeal courts are not
exhaustively set out under the Civil Procedure Code, the provisions
generally provide that errors of the local court in its review of
facts or evidence, and/or in its application of legal provisions
are sufficient. These reasons must be clearly provided in the
first-degree appeal petition; as reasons that are not provided in
the petition will not be taken into consideration by Regional
Courts of Justice (except in violations of "public
order" that are per se considered by the courts). The
first-degree appeal must be filed within two weeks following
receipt of the reasoned decision of the local court.
If the Regional Court of Justice
finds the application valid and justified, then it may either
decide to (i) overrule the local court's decision and
render a new decision itself (if the local court proceeding does
not have to be repeated), or (ii) revoke the local court's
decision and return the case file to the local court for a new
proceeding and decision. Decisions rendered by Regional Courts of
Justice may be appealed in the Supreme Court of Appeals in
principle - except under the particular circumstances provided in
the Civil Procedure Code.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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