E-Hearing period in judicial proceedings has started

With the Covid-19 outbreak, rapid developments were occured in the transition to electronic hearing within the scope of the measures taken in courthouses. The e-Hearing system, which was developed by the Ministry of Justice and provides the opportunity to participate in the hearings with video conferencing, was a big step in terms of reducing the judicial costs as well as protecting the parties from coronavirus.

The recent developments in the National Judiciary Informatics System ("UYAP"), the increase in the use of UYAP, the integration of many other public institutions into this system, and finally the introduction of the e-Hearing facility  has accelerated the digitalization process in the judicial proceedings.

Accordingly, it is expected that with the widespread use of the e-Hearing system, labor and time will be saved, thus costs will be reduced and trials will be concluded in a shorter time.

How to apply for e-Hearing?

Firstly, it should be noted that holding the hearing electronically depends on the approval of the judge. Lawyers can submit their justified e-Hearing requests to the relevant court up to 24 hours before the relevant hearing on the UYAP Lawyer Portal. This request is evaluated by the court judge and if accepted, the hearing will be held electronically.

What issues need to be considered while using the e-Hearing system?

There is no difference between the conditions of the physical hearings held so far and the conditions of the e-Hearing. Since “the obligation to attend the hearings with a gown", regulated in Article 49 of the Legal Profession Act No. 1136, does not bring an exception in terms of e-Hearing, lawyers must also attend e-Hearings with a gown.

The use of any audio or video recording device is prohibited during the e-Hearing as in the courtrooms.

The hearing will begin after the judge confirms the information and photograph of the lawyer through the UYAP system by authenticating via mobile or e-signature.

In addition, it was stated that in order to conduct the e-Hearing without any interruption in image and sound, it is necessary to have an Internet speed of at least 8 Mbit and that the Internet connection should not be a common connection open to the public.

What is the legal basis of the e-Hearing system?

In accordance with Article 149 of the Code of Civil Procedure No. 6100 ("HMK"), which entered into force in 2011, it has been made possible to carry out hearing procedures by means of audio and video transmission.

However, in accordance with this provision, in order for the hearings to be held electronically, the plaintiff party and the defendant party must agree and submit a joint request in this direction.

With Law No. 7251, which entered into force on 28 July 2020, “HMK” Art. 149 has been amended and the obligation of the parties to agree on this issue has been removed.

Although the request of one of the parties is sufficient in terms of the e-Hearing system that became widespread after this change, this regulation did not remove the power of discretion of the judge. As we have explained above, in order for the hearing to be held electronically, one of the parties must make a request via UYAP and this request must be accepted by the court judge.

Who will be able to benefit from the e-Hearing system?

Especially lawyers, principal plaintiff, principal defendant and experts will be able to benefit from the e-Hearing system.

Autor: Elif Tütüncü
Autor: Naz Köstem