The “National Case Law Forum” was held on 23-24 June 2022 at the Court of Cassation premises in Ankara under the Joint Project on “Strengthening the Institutional Capacity of Court of Cassation”. First President Mehmet Akarca, Chief Public Prosecutor Bekir Şahin, First Vice Presidents Eyup Yeşil and Adem Albayrak, Secretary General Fevzi Yıldırım, chamber presidents, bench members, rapporteur judges and public prosecutors of the Court of Cassation, representatives from the Turkish Constitutional Court, Council of State, Minister of Justice, Council of Judges and Prosecutors and Justice Academy of Türkiye, national academicians as well as presidents of regional courts of appeal attended the two-day event where group works and plenary sessions were held.
In his opening remarks, Mehmet Akarca, President of the Court of Cassation, stated that the regional case law fora held in Ankara, Istanbul, Antalya, and Gaziantep, respectively, had offered a holistic perspective to the judicial system and allowed to identify problems in a detailed manner, while also pointing out that the case law forum would increase the awareness of this issue. Noting that judicial services should have a quality standard like every service provided to the society, Akarca highlighted the role of quality standards: “The success of judges should be measured and evaluated according to the standards defined equally for all judges.” Christophe Poirel, Director of Human Rights of the Council of Europe, emphasised the importance of courts of cassation: “Their duty is not limited anymore to reviewing the legality of judgments. They play a key role in ensuring legal security and foreseeability, improving case law consistency, guaranteeing efficiency and safety of document management, and preventing unreasonable delays in judicial reviews as well.” Poirel also stated that the Presidency of Court of Cassation devoted great efforts to restructure some of its systems and processes, especially with a view to improving case law unity across the country.
Bekir Bozdağ, Minister of Justice of Türkiye, noted in his opening speech that the Court of Cassation and high courts had vital duties such as resolving disputes, establishing the right and extending it to the right holder in a proper way, increasing the rate of accurate judgments, ensuring that justice manifests itself in a fair way and creating consistent case law guiding the judiciary. Indicating that the Court of Cassation is a “high court creating case law”, Bozdağ emphasised that this case law played an essential role in ensuring legal security. Cristian Urse, Head of the Council of Europe Programme Office in Ankara, made an opening speech, and Fevzi Yıldırım, Secretary General of the Court of Cassation, made a presentation on “Evaluation of Conclusions of the Regional Case Law Fora” following the opening remarks.
On the first day of the event, Nina Betetto, Former President of the Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE) and Judge at the Slovenian Supreme Court, made a presentation on “Filtering Mechanisms in Slovenia”, Assoc. Prof. Ali Ersoy Kontacı, Council of Europe Consultant and Faculty Member at the Faculty of Law of Ankara University, on “A Comparison Between Council of Europe Standards and the Turkish Judicial System in Terms of Ensuring Case Law Unity”, and Dr Mustafa Saldırım, Deputy Secretary General of the Court of Cassation, on “Methods to Be Followed in Group Works and the Function of the ‘Monitoring Working Group’”.
On the second day of the event, in the sessions moderated by Eyup Yeşil, First Vice President and Head of the General Assembly of Criminal Chambers, and Adem Albayrak, First Vice President and Head of the General Assembly of Civil Chambers of the Court of Cassation, the results obtained from the group work on the following points were evaluated: legislation, training, private law: abuses of the right to individual application and issues related to ensuring case law unity in law of civil procedures and substantive law, criminal law: abuses of the right to individual application and issues related to ensuring case law unity in procedural law and substantive law, working procedures on the prevention of case law inconsistencies and issues related to the functioning of the system, and issues on the improvement of the Case Law Centre of the Court of Cassation.
The Joint Project on “Strengthening the Institutional Capacity of Court of Cassation” is co-funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe and the Court of Cassation of Turkey is the end beneficiary of the Project.