In a recently published decision, the Constitutional Court held that an applicant’s right to a fair trial was breached when the court of first instance failed to consider some of the applicant’s arguments on a particular topic. Accordingly, the Constitutional Court held that the applicant’s right to receive a justified decision had been violated and the court of first instance should re-examine the lawsuit. The higher court also awarded non-pecuniary damages as compensation for a violation of the applicant’s right to receive trial within a reasonable time.

The applicant sought re-examination of the initial lawsuit and compensation for damages on the basis that her right to a fair trial was breached because she claimed:

  • The statute of limitations provisions were misapplied.
  • The court did not respond to the applicant’s objections about the statute of limitations.
  • The trial was not conducted within a reasonable time period.

The Constitutional Court noted that it is not bound to strictly consider the specific violations alleged by parties. In line with this discretion, the court considered the applicant’s right to a fair trial, particularly focusing on her right to receive a justified decision and have a trial within a reasonable time.

The Constitutional Court commented that the requirement to present justified decisions must be considered taking into account the characteristics of each decision. Accordingly, the court emphasized that, the court of first instance’s failure to consider the applicant’s complaints in relation to their appeal of substantial issues which have not been discussed by the court of first instance would be considered to be a breach of an applicant’s right to receive a justified decision. Accordingly, the Constitutional Court held that the Supreme Court decision had not discussed the essential terms of the applicant’s complaint, raised before the court of first instance. Therefore, the Constitutional Court found a violation of the applicant’s right to receive a justified decision.

Although the Constitutional Court acknowledged the trial process was complicated, it held that an unreasonable delay occurred. Accordingly, it held the applicant’s right to trial within a reasonable time had also been violated.

Overall, the Constitutional Court ruled that the applicant’s right to a fair trial has been breached and the court of first instance should re-examine the lawsuit.

Since the lawsuit would be re-examined, the Constitutional Court rejected the applicant’s claim for monetary damages. However, it awarded compensation for non-pecuniary damages arising from violation of the applicant’s right to receive trial within a reasonable time.

The full text of a Constitutional Court decision (2014/4106, dated 10 June 2015) was published in Official Gazette number 29479 on 18 September 2015 and can be found at this link (only available in Turkish).