Turkey has recently restructured its commercial courts. Certain cases will now be handled by three-judge panels, rather than a single judge. While the new law is intended to speed up proceedings, in the short term pending cases are experiencing significant delays while case files are being reassigned to new courts.
What the law says
Previously, all commercial disputes cases were handled by a single judge. Now, certain types of cases will be reassigned to three-judge panels:
claims of more than TRY 300,000 (approx. USD 140,000);
bankruptcy; postponement, rescission and closing of bankruptcy; and company restructuring actions;
actions to cancel general assembly resolutions, and against corporate boards of directors and supervisory boards; and
actions to enforce foreign arbitral awards.
Panels will also consider requests for interim injunctions in these types of cases.
The creation of three-judge panels has resulted in an overall decrease in the number of commercial courts, with many courts closed as of September 15, 2014. Cases pending before the now-closed courts are being transferred to the remaining courts and, upon transfer, new case file numbers will be assigned. During this transition period, litigants should expect postponed hearings and further delays.
Actions to consider
Company in-house counsel should be aware of the new structure, follow up on changes to case file numbers and new court hearing schedules, and ensure that external counsel closely follow these changes.