Mediation in Turkey
Over the past 20 years, there has been a rise of alternative dispute resolution movement and restorative justice all over the world. The alternative dispute resolutions include negotiation, arbitration and mediation. For the first time in the history of Turkey, mediation will also be an option to solve legal matters between parties after the Parliament of Turkey has passed “The Law of Mediation for Civil Law Disputes” on 7 June 2012, law numbered 6325, entered into force on 22 June 2012.
Mediation allows disputing parties to reach an agreement, thanks to the participation of a neutral third party. In contrast to litigation and arbitration, the third party has no authoritative power over the parties and he/she cannot impose a decision on the parties. It is said that the decision proposed by the mediation is not binding on the parties unless otherwise agreed by the parties. Therefore, the mediation should only facilitate that parties can reach an amiable agreement that can put an end to their dispute.
One of the main reasons for its adoption is that mediation is an effective way of reducing the amount of work that the Turkish Civil Courts face every year. Mediation also offers an alternative to the lengthy litigation and arbitration processes for people and companies that are willing to resolve their issues as soon as possible.
As the outcome of mediation is an out-of-court agreement, one of the potential benefits of this alternative remedy to disputes is the increase of the efficiency of courts that have to deal with fewer disputes. The use of mediation can also cut down the expenses of the government on the justice system.
In certain countries, mediation is sometimes considered as the first stage of the solution of a dispute. This conception of mediation can also be applied in Turkey if it is stated in the contract of the parties. Instead of filing a lawsuit in the first instance, mediation provides parties an opportunity to bring about a settlement of the case in a more agreeable environment. Then, if parties are not able to reach an agreement with the help of the third neutral party, they will file a lawsuit to resolve their disagreement. However, mediation is not considered as a mandatory first stage dispute resolution method in Turkey.
In addition to above mentioned benefit, another main aspect of mediation is that it provides people and companies more confidentiality in their legal issues. While the lawsuit file is soon available to public, mediation is strictly confidential unless the parties agree otherwise. Moreover, pursuant to Article 4 and 33 of Turkish Mediation Law, 6325, any mediator, who discloses or publicize the confidential documents, decisions and orders and other notifications delivered to him by virtue of mediation, is punished with imprisonment to six (6) months.
We also believe that the implementation of mediation will reduce dispute resolution costs of the parties. Instead of paying the court filing fee in most of the cases based on quantification of the case(which is currently 6,831%), parties just need to bear the cost of the private mediation at first. Therefore, it is believed that mediation will be a way of cutting the cost for the parties.