Justitia 4.0 – the pros and cons of digital court proceedings and notarial records in Turkey

Since the Turkish courts have postponed court hearings completely over a longer period of time, and in order to keep the judicial system capable of action during the Covid-19-Pandemic, the possibility of digital court proceedings has been introduced so that court hearings can now take place by videoconference. Digital court hearings are permissible in all court proceedings in civil matters. This also includes proceedings before the commercial, family and enforcement courts. Notarial records can also be carried out digitally if the client has a qualified electronic signature. However, this does not include notarial records in which a declaration of intent is submitted to the notary, and notarial certifications. In these cases, the personal appearance of the party/parties is required.

Court hearings can be held by court order or by videoconference at the request of one of the parties. If the court grants the application, the applicant party can participate in the court hearing by video chat, i.e. both sound and image must be transmitted, facial expressions, gestures, posture, other behaviour and emotions must be clearly recognisable and the voice must be well heard. Witnesses, technical experts and other experts can also be connected and heard via video chat. The parties and their lawyers can be connected from any location, unless they are questioned or sworn. In this case participation by videoconference as well as in the case of witnesses, technical experts and other experts is only permitted by the court of their place of residence or a prison. For age or health reasons, participation in the hearing may be approved from another location.

In Turkey, we have not had any engagement-related experience with digital court hearings/notarial acts. The digitalisation of court hearings is, however, one of the most important innovations of the judicial framework carried out in 2020. By May 2021, a total of 10,324 digital hearings were conducted in Turkey at 679 courts. This has contributed significantly to the functioning of the justice system in the Covid-19-Pandemic.

Autor: Zeynep Kafa