In 2007, Turkey had access to justice issues, issues that plague many countries: Long trials, frequently postponed, together with major difficulties endured by many people (victims and civil parties, as well as defendants in civil cases) in getting a fair trial. These conditions persisted despite efforts at reform, including increases in the number of civil courts, reorganizations that affected many courthouses, and several successive new regimes for legal aid. The issue of the lack of access to justice also played a significant role in the country’s economic prosperity and progress.
ADR Center was awarded a project to improve access to legal aid and awareness of legal aid and ADR and also to significantly shorten the time required acquisition and processing of court system data. The overall objective of this project was to strengthen the rule of law in Turkey and guarantee all citizens access to justice in line with the EU acquis standard, by increasing the utilization of Legal Aid system, making ADR more applicable in the justice system and training Directorate General of Judicial Record and Statistics (DGJRS) professionals on IT.
The project included legal aid, ADR, training and nationwide survey components. The legal aid component was aimed at improving access to justice by increasing the utilization of the legal aid system in Turkey. The ADR component focused on making ADR more applicable in the justice system, strengthening the functioning of the judiciary, and increasing public awareness of ADR. The IT training component focused on the training of professionals from the Turkish Ministry of Justice on the technical infrastructure. Finally, a nationwide survey measured the success of the project.
The Consortium, led by ADR Center, worked closely with the beneficiary institutions in Turkey. The project covered the whole of Turkey with many activities taking place outside of Istanbul. The primary target group were citizens who required legal aid, ADR lawyers, Turkish judges, prosecutors, officials and other institutions responsible for practical implementation of the judicial acquis and for management of EU and other funded judicial infrastructure projects.
The Central Finance and Contracts Unit (Funded by The European Commission, EuropeAid Co-operation Office, Southern Mediterranean Middle East department)