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Covid-19

Operations of the court systems

All of the Courthouses are open and continue to provide services as of this date. Additionally, it is possible to submit petitions and file lawsuits online through National Judiciary Informatics System (UYAP). However, within the context of the measures taken for combating COVID-19, certain administrative decisions were taken in order to minimize the risks posed in the public institutions by the outbreak:

  • According to the decision issued by the Directorate of Administrative Affairs of the Presidency dated 13 March 2020 and numbered 66836956-010.07.01-E.12362, the public employees who are pregnant, taking breastfeeding leave, disabled, over 60 years old (except managers), or those having a chronic disease, will be deemed on administrative leave as of 16 March 2020, for 12 days. In addition to that, annual leave requests of female employees having a child at preschool or elementary school age will be granted, and those who are not entitled to annual leave will be granted compassionate leave.
  • A Presidential Circular numbered 2020/4 has been published in the Repeated Official Gazette dated 22 March 2020 and numbered 31076. As per this Circular, it has been decided that flexible working methods such as remote/shift working will be implemented for public employees in order to have minimum number of personnel in the public institution.

Moreover, after some courthouse personnel tested positive for COVID-19, it has been decided that the chief, member judges and personnel who had close contact with the relevant court personnel to be put on administrative leave and the relevant departments be locked down.

In light of the above, we could say that the number of employees serving actively in the courthouse will significantly decrease within this time frame and several courts will not operate for a certain time span.

 

Furthermore, with the Law no. 7226 judicial terms that are listed below have been suspended from 13 March 2020 (inclusive), until 30 April 2020 (inclusive) in order to prevent any loss of right during this process:

  • Any and all terms regarding acquisition, use or extinction of a right, including the terms for filing lawsuits, enforcement proceedings, applications, objections, notices, notifications, submission periods, prescription periods and statutory limitations, along with the mandatory administrative application terms,
  • Terms determined under the Administrative Procedure Code,
  • Terms determined under the Criminal Procedure Code,
  • Terms determined under the Civil Procedure Code,
  • Terms determined in other laws containing procedural provisions,
  • Terms determined by the judges,
  • Terms for mediation and conciliation facilities.

The suspended terms will resume as of 1 May 2020. If there are 15 or less days for the expiry of a term as of the beginning of the suspension period, that term will be deemed extended for further 15 days starting from the day following the end of the suspension period.

Prescription periods for offenses and punishments, misdemeanours and administrative sanctions, and disciplinary detention and preventive detentions; terms for protection measures stipulated under the Criminal Procedure Code, and the terms related to the procedures complementing the preliminary injunction stipulated under the Civil Procedure Code are excluded from the suspension period.

In terms of the scheduled hearings, with its decision dated 13 March 2020 the Council of Judges and Prosecutors (“HSK”) recommended the courts at all levels to suspend the hearings and site examinations, other than those related to arrestee-involved investigations and trials and urgent matters, relying on the World Health Organization’s announcements and the advices of Coronavirus Science Committee established under the body of the Ministry of Health. Although it is not a binding decision at this stage, many courts have ex officio decided to postpone the hearings that are due or in near term, in scope of the COVID-19 measures. The courts that have not issued such suspension decisions ex officio, on the other hand, have accepted the attorneys’ excuses not to attend the hearings on the ground of COVID-19 outbreak and the HSK’s decision, and suspended the hearings accordingly without taking any other action on the file.