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Turkey: The mandatory mediation procedure in Turkish law - labour law and commercial law suits

Background
Justified by the goal of solving legal disputes in a fast and economical manner without filing lawsuits and thus relieving the overloaded Turkish courts, a mediation procedure is implemented as a mandatory pre-condition for filing a lawsuit according to Turkish labour and commercial law. The filing of labour law or commercial law suits is therefore permitted only if a mediation procedure has already been initiated prior to the filing of the suit and no amicable agreement was reached.

The mandatory mediation procedure was initially envisaged with the Labour Court Act introduced in 2017 for labour law suits. In accordance with this, a mediation procedure is mandatory for all employee claims for damages and reinstatement.

With an article inserted into the Turkish Commercial Code in 2018, the mandatory mediation procedure was also introduced for commercial law suits. In accordance with this, the parties must first turn to mediation for all commercial disputes that relate to claims for debt and damages and anticipate payment of a monetary amount. 

Practical application

In practice, the party who is affected by one of the above-mentioned labour law or commercial law disputes initially completes the registration form for a mediation procedure and specifies the subject matter of the dispute, the type and/or amount of their claim and name and contact information of the opposing party. The registration form is then submitted to the registration offices for the mediation procedures of the Turkish courts. The registration office assigns the conflict to an available mediator, who contacts the parties and agrees to a hearing date. Mediators are attorneys who are approved after completing the corresponding training for this work.

The parties must appear on the agreed date and the mediator attempts to produce an agreement between the parties. If an agreement is reached, a corresponding agreement protocol is signed. This protocol is officially enforceable after obtaining an enforceability memorandum at a civil court. If the attorneys of the parties sign the protocol, this is immediately enforceable without obtaining the aforementioned memorandum.

If the parties do not come to a positive or negative result during the hearing, the mediator can set additional hearing dates.

If no agreement is reached, a protocol is prepared and signed by the parties. The applicant can then file an action under submission of this protocol.

Author: Melis Paula Aydın