Until recently, Turkish courts had differing practices as to the
amount of the court filing fee payable to enforce arbitral awards.
Some court clerks required payment of a nominal fixed fee, whereas
others required payment of a fee equal to a percentage of the
claim. Consequently, a creditor wishing to enforce an arbitral
award in Turkey was unable to predict the amount of the filing fee,
which was largely up to the clerk to decide. This was not an
insignificant issue: depending on the method used, for a USD 1
million award, the filing fee could be as little as USD 10 or as
much as USD 16,000.
Under the Law on Fees No. 492, a party wishing to enforce an
arbitral award in Turkish courts is required to pay a court filing
fee equal to one-quarter of the "judgment and writ fee"
(karar ve ilam harcı), including claims for enforcement of
arbitral awards.1 This fee is either a percentage of the
disputed amount (6.831%), payable where the court is to consider
the merits of the case and a monetary value can be attached to the
claim, or a nominal fixed fee (~TRY 28 (~USD 10)). Since the Law on
Fees does not make clear whether claims to enforce arbitral awards
require an examination of the merits (despite a contrary intention
expressed in arbitration law), uncertainty existed as to whether a
percentage or fixed fee was payable. Three consistent Court of
Appeal decisions have now resolved the issue.
In each of the three decisions,2 the Court of
Appeal3 held that claimants seeking to enforce an
arbitral award must pay a filing fee equal to 6.831% of the amount
sought, reversing lower court decisions where the fixed fee was
charged. The appellate courts noted that the payment of court fees
is an issue of public policy which the court must, therefore,
consider on its own initiative.
These separate but consistent decisions over the past year have
now settled an issue which had long been uncertain. Although
appellate decisions are only persuasive, but not binding,
authority, it is likely other courts will follow suit and require
the payment of proportionate court costs prior to determining
whether to order enforcement.
Please do not hesitate to contact our arbitration team if you
have any questions about arbitration and enforcement of arbitral
awards in Turkey.
1 Payment of the remaining three-quarters is determined
following conclusion of the case.
2 One on an ICC award and another on an International
Cotton Association award; the details of the third case are
3 15th Civil Division of the Court of Appeal, File No.
2015/385, Decision No. 2015/1303, March 18, 2015; 15th Civil
Division of the Court of Appeal, File No. 2015/1055, Decision No.
2015/1740, April 6, 2015; 19th Civil Division of the Court of
Appeal, File No. 2014/11188, Decision No. 2015/8132, June 2,
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