Legal alterations are inevitable in individual applications: Top judge

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The implementation of an individual applications practice was “the biggest reform in Turkey’s judiciary,” as some 190,000 applications have been resolved since 2012, yet some legal changes are still needed in the matter, Turkey’s top judge said on July 25.

“Since the right to individual applications has been granted, the top court has resolved 190,000 applications out of 236,000. Yet, at the point we have reached, some legal changes are inevitable,” Zühtü Arslan, the head of Turkey’s Constitutional Court, said.

Arslan’s remarks came during his speech at the swearing-in ceremony of Selahattin Menteş, the new member of the top court, in the capital Ankara.

“The number of pending applications is around 46,000. The number of applications made to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), from 47 countries, is about 56,000. We can truly comprehend the dimensions of the workload the Constitutional Court has, when compared [with the ECHR],” he added.

Arslan also said that there is no other top court in the world that can overcome the workload of Turkey’s Constitutional Court.

“Taking notice of the individual applications [made to the top court] will easily display that no other Constitutional Court in the world has the capacity to cope with this,” he said.

The number of individual applications, on a yearly basis, has reached to 45,000, henceforth, new measures have been taken to handle these, Arslan conveyed.

“As you see, dealing with this workload is not only a task that the Constitutional Court can do, and it should not only be the duty of it as well,” he said.

He added that the individual applications practice is “one of the most significant” implementations that will be passed to future generations.

“It is everybody’s duty to continue this as a means to seek rights in an efficient way,” he added.

“Our seven years of experience have showed us that some legal changes are inevitable concerning the process of individual applications,” he said.

In this regard, the notice top court gives to the applicants on incomplete elements in their applications, need to be removed, according to the top judge.

“This notice causes the court to lose its time and effort,” he added.

The court also needs to adopt the principle of “inadmissibility” in order to spend more time on cases with “constitutional importance,” Arslan conveyed.

“If we want to eradicate the source of violations, firstly, we must understand what the Constitutional Court is saying in its ruling. Sometimes our [local] courts wait for new individual applications in order to settle the dispute before them,” he said.

“However, if the Constitutional Court has ruled a violation on a similar matter, our [local] courts can make decisions by evaluating the principles there without waiting for a new application. This prevents new violations and thus new individual applications,” he added.

Hurriyet Daily News

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