Mediation in Turkey
Mediation was developed as a much cheaper and faster alternative to going to court. It was very seldom used in Turkey. However, lawyers with over five years’ experience are now taking compulsory courses, followed by an exam, and becoming a qualified mediator registered with the Ministry of Justice. In some court cases, parties will be obliged to apply for mediation before proceeding with a court case. This is to save both time and money. The system is still under development!
In mediation, the parties agree to an independent person being appointed to help them find a solution to their problem. The objective is the same as when you and the person have a face-to-face meeting, but you’re helped by someone who has a lot of experience in bringing people together, bridging gaps and finding workable solutions to problems. They can also help by explaining the legal background to the parties so that they can understand the likely consequences of not reaching a settlement.
The mediator has no legal powers and cannot force either party to accept any solution. The effort will either work or it will not work! Whichever is the outcome, it will have been fast and (relatively) inexpensive. The cost and timescale involved will depend upon the seriousness of the dispute and the value involved.
The mediator will be a lawyer who has received special training in these skills, as explained above. Expect to pay about €1,000 for a half-day mediation meeting, including the preparatory work that the mediator must do to understand your dispute. For a complex dispute, involving many documents, it could be a lot more.
The process will often involve separate meetings with the two parties before bringing them together for the mediation meeting itself. If the parties agree, a percentage of the amount of dispute will be paid to the mediator separately by way of his or her fees.
You cannot force the other party to agree to mediation.
In Turkey, the Bar Association will give you preliminary advice about how to go about arranging mediation – it is, after all, specially licenced lawyers who can provide this service – and whether it is likely to be suitable in your case.
This is a recent development, but it’s going to be more common: it is a requirement that, for some types of court case, you must first try mediation. Examples include employment and minor criminal cases.
Arbitration in Turkey
Arbitration can also be seen as a less formal, more flexible, cheaper, and faster alternative to a court case.
It can follow on from a failed mediation.
The main difference between mediation and arbitration is that arbitration can be legally binding upon the parties.
Arbitration is not common in Turkey, except in the case of disputes with insurance companies and major construction contracts.
Because of this I will not deal with it further here.