On March 23, 2020, The Union of Turkish Bar Association submitted a letter to the Ministry of Justice to address problems accruing in the judiciary due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Following this call, the deadlines for proceedings were temporarily suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic by the judgment adopted on 25 March 2020. A number of regulations have been made to prevent the loss of rights in the judiciary.
According to the judgment taken by Ministry of Justice, all periods regarding to the originate, use or termination of a right, including litigation, execution proceedings, application, complaint, objection, notice, notification, submission and statute of limitations, reduction of rights and mandatory administrative application periods and the periods determined by the parties in the Code of Administrative Procedure, Code of Criminal Procedure Law and Code of Civil Procedure Law and other legislations regarding procedural provisions, and other periods determined by judgments as well as the periods regarding mediation and arbitration institutions are suspended from 13 March 2020 until 30 April 2020.
On March 22nd, 2020; The Presidency of Republic of Turkey published 2279 No. decree in the 31076 No. Official Gazette and stated that; In accordance with the Article 330 of the Enforcement and Bankruptcy Law, enforcement proceedings were suspended until April 30, 2020. In additionally, The Union of Turkish Bar Association has announced that no new enforcement proceedings will be opened until 30.04.2020.
The period determined in the Execution and Bankruptcy Law and other laws related to the pursuance law and within this scope the periods determined by the judge or the Execution and Bankruptcy departments, all Execution and Bankruptcy pursuance, except for the execution pursuance for alimony receivables, party and pursuance transactions, the receipt of new execution and Bankruptcy requests, transactions related to the execution and execution of injunction orders are suspended from 22 March 2020 until 30 April 2020.
Above mentioned periods will begin to run from the day following the expiration of the stoppage period. As of the beginning of the stop period, periods of 15 days and less will be considered to have been extended by 15 days starting from the day following the end of the stop period. If the outbreak continues and still poses a danger to the country, The Presidency of Republic of Turkey will be able to extend the stoppage period once, not more than six months, and can narrow the scope for that period.
It should be noted that;
• With the timeout periods set out in the laws for Crime and Punishment, Misdemeanours and Administrative Sanctions, Disciplinary Prison and Compulsion Prison
• The periods regarding the protection measures regulated in the Criminal Procedure Code and,
• The deadlines for the procedures that complete the precautionary measure regulated in the Code of Civil Procedure Law excluded by The Presidency of Republic of Turkey.
If the day of sale declared by the Execution and Bankruptcy offices under the Execution and Bankruptcy Law and other laws related to the pursuance law remains within the stop period, the day of sale shall be given by the Execution and Bankruptcy offices without seeking a new claim after the stop period for these goods or rights. In this case, the sales announcement will only be made electronically and there will be no charge for the announcement.
Payments made consensually during the stoppage period shall be accepted and one of the parties may request that transactions in favour of the other party be carried out. The consequences of the concordats respite in terms of creditor and debtor will continue for the duration of the stoppage. Other measures will be taken to ensure enforcement and insolvency services are not disrupted.
All other measures to be taken during the suspension, including the postponement of hearings and negotiations, as well as the procedures and principles related to this shall be determined by the board of presidents concerned with respect to the Supreme Court and the Council of State. The Board of Judges and Prosecutors will determine the measures and procedures and principles regarding the first-degree judicial and administrative judicial authorities and regional courts and regional administrative courts. The Ministry of justice will determine the necessary measures and arrangements for the Justice Services.
In addition to the suspension of legal periods, it was decided to switch to the seizure system in the courthouses and Regional Courts of Justice, in which judicial services would be carried out with a sufficient number of judges and prosecutors. The board of judges and prosecutors has put into effect the practice it has previously carried out on administrative leave and on holidays. Apart from detainees and rushed jobs, a flexible working period has been initiated until further notice.
By Ali Guden, Partner, and Sena Koc, Trainee Lawyer, Guden