Development of Preventive Justice Programs for Legally Empowered Citizens and Increased Access to Justice for All in Turkey

What is the project about?

The project aims to support the endeavors of the Government of Turkey within the scope of the justice reform in the country for legally empowered citizens who have enhanced access to justice. The Project will achieve this through upstream level activities for institutional and individual capacity assessment in the justice sector and ii) downstream level activities for public awareness on legal rights. In that respect the project is expected to address the needs and gaps with regard preventive justice for better access to justice; contribute to increased legal awareness and enhanced efficiency of the justice system in Turkey.

What is the situation?

Judicial reform is one of the high priority issues for Turkey. As a candidate country for the EU, in recent years the Government of Turkey has undertaken comprehensive constitutional and legal changes. Turkey’s strong commitment to judicial reforms is expressed in various national policy framework documents such as the 9th Development Plan, 2008 National Programme of Turkey and the recently adopted Judicial Reform Strategy.

The Judicial Reform Strategy, which was finalized in September 2009 indicated the commitment of Turkey in full-fledged implementation of the justice reform in line with EU standards. In the Screening Report of the European Commission, opening benchmarks were identified for the Chapter 23: Judiciary and Fundamental Rights. One of these benchmarks is the Judicial Reform Strategy to be developed for strengthening the independence, impartiality and efficiency of the judiciary. Therefore, the Strategy was emerged as a need for continuation of reform initiatives under a framework of a plan and principle of envisioning.

In addition to the Judicial Reform Strategy, there are also some other strategies and plans of relevance to the justice system in Turkey. In 2008 National Programme of Turkey, which is the framework document used during the negotiations for EU membership, the priority 23.1 focuses on “Increasing the Efficiency, Efficacy and Functionality of the Judiciary”, emphasizing the framework of judicial reform, enabling possibility for the trials in a faster, simpler, effective way and with a minimum cost, and resolution of certain disputes through non-contentious jurisdiction, compromise and conciliation instead of contentious jurisdiction. Moreover, measure 268 of 2010 National Programme of Turkey also emphasizes the need of simplifying the procedures for legal aid and developing law manuals for vulnerable groups for better access to justice in the country.

Similarly, the 9th National Development Plan which represents a new philosophy and methodology of state planning in Turkey, takes a holistic and integrated approach to different sectors and public service areas instead of institutional stand alone approach for each area. The Plan is based on certain principles that speak well in democratic governance and human development such as social dialogue and participation, human-focused development and management, effective public administration and democratic civil society, transparency, accountability, efficiency and citizen satisfaction.

In line with the above mentioned national documents, Ministry of Justice has been implementing several projects with European Union, UNDP and some other donors. Some of the projects that has been developed and implemented by the Ministry of Justice in the field of access to justice are Technical Assistance for Better Access to Justice Project aiming to strengthen the rule of law in Turkey and guarantee all citizens’ access to justice in line with EU acquis standards and Development of Practice of Mediation in Turkey Project as a first step towards a new and quite bold legal procedure and method in the Turkish justice system, with the objective of ensuring better access to justice for all.

What is our mission?



UNDP’s special niche in the field of access to justice and strengthening of the rule of law in Turkey is to provide technical assistance on institutional capacity-building based on its global experience and technical expertise in providing country experiences in judicial systems restructuring for strengthening the rule of law, as well as capacity to embed human rights-based approaches to all fields of service delivery and acts of duty bearers. This provides the upstream level activities for judicial actors aiming to enhance institutional and individual capacity to coach reform efforts in the field. In addition, in order to increase public awareness to have sufficient understanding of the legal arrangements and its proper application in daily life, UNDP also focuses on downstream activities in its own programming in the field of access to justice and strengthening of the rule of law in Turkey. Based on such holistic approach, this project addresses gaps and needs in preventive justice for better access to justice in Turkey, focusing on both upstream level activities for institutional and individual capacity assessment in the justice sector and downstream level activities for public awareness on legal rights.

How are we doing this?

The project at hand aims to support the endeavors of the Government of Turkey within the scope of the justice reform in the country for legally empowered citizens who have enhanced access to justice. The activities to be carried out in this regards can be listed as conducting a mapping on the current status of preventive justice by the realized situation analysis, raising individual and institutional awareness through different means and mechanisms addressed particularly to vulnerable groups, establishing institutional ground for the preventive justice of the students at primary and high school level by the drafted and launched curriculum of “Introduction to Law Course” and initiating different approaches of preventive justice through pilot practices and exchange of experiences.

In this process, the project will benefit from the overall results of the Technical Assistance for Better Access to Justice Project of Ministry of Justice, particularly in the field of legal awareness and legal aid; Development of Practice of Mediation in Turkey Project, regarding the pilot mediation practices in 6 provinces and the awareness raising campaign to be conducted on mediation and the outputs of the Initiation Plan being implemented from December 2009, specifically to contribute to the achievement of the mapping study on current status of preventive justice.

How will Turkey benefit?

Under the light of the impressive and sophisticated strategy of the Turkish Government, the project at hand will support the Government and the Justice Sector Institutions to face the challenges in the process of restructuring the justice system and strengthening the capacity of its institutions. The findings of the situation analysis and the survey, will not only create an opportunity to discuss the further needs and measures for better access to justice for all, but can also set forth the policy framework required for the Judicial Reform Strategy in Turkey. Developing and publishing law manuals for different vulnerable groups, launching an holistic public awareness strategy on preventive justice for the judicial actors in Turkey, a countrywide legal awareness campaign and a preventive justice website will provide the citizens the opportunity to reach basic knowledge about their legal rights and functioning of the justice system in Turkey. Furthermore, within the perspective of the above referred strategy, the implementation of pilot preventive justice initiatives is expected to serve the vulnerable groups of women, children and youth who have limited access to justice and knowledge about their individual rights and proceedings of law, through informing them on their rights, duties and legal procedures before public institutions. Consequently, all these efforts will bear great importance since they constitute centre-pieces of the EU accession process and its requirements particularly those responding to the Copenhagen political criteria.

What has been achieved so far?

  • UNDP supported the development of Law and Justice education program and the curriculum of Law and Justice Course was approved by the Ministry of National Education in early June 2013. The referred program was developed jointly by Ministry of Justice, Ministry of National Education and UNDP. 
  • With participation of the international expert of the Programme a training book is being developed and will be deployed as the core teaching material for the referred Course on Law and Justice starting from 2013-2014 education year.
  • Activities for the outcome of the Law and Justice Education Program such as the establishment of mort trials are being designed in line with other country experiences. Besides, interactive websites and TV-spots are being developed in order to increase the awareness of the students and partners on the program.    
  • While access to justice is not still fully developed institutionally and  legal empowerment and legal aid programs remain on ad hoc basis, the remaining period of the Programme will be dedicated to endavours which help institutionalize greater access to justice for all.
PRESS CLIPPINGS
Project Overview
Focus area:
Democratic Governance
Project number:
00075796
Status:
Ongoing
Project start date:
2010
Estimated end date:
31 December 2013
Budget:
USD 475.000
Project funding:
Government Cost Sharing and UNDP TRAC
Delivery in previous fiscal years:
N/A
Amount contributed per year by each project funder
N/A
Location:
Ankara
UN/National executing agencies:
Ministry of Justice
UN/National/NGO implementing partners:
UNDP Turkey
MDG:
N/A
Contact Details

Leyla Sen, PhD
Programme Manager
Tel: +90 312 454 11 19
E-mail: leyla.sen@undp.org
 
Seher Alacaci
Programme Associate
Tel: +90 312 454 11 67
E-mail: seher.alacaci@undp.org
 
Pınar Arıkan
Projects Assistant
Tel: +90 312 454 11 84
E-mail: pinar.arikan@undp.org

Project Documents
  • Official Project Document English
  • Judicial Reform Strategy of Turkey English
  • Judicial Reform Strategy Action Plan of Turkey English
  • Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)7 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the Council of Europe Charter on Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education English
  • Recommendation Rec(2004)4 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the European Convention on Human Rights in university education and professional training English
  • Recommendation Rec(2003)8 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the promotion and recognition of non-formal education/learning of young people English
  • Recommendation Rec (2002)12 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on education for democratic citizenship English