The court experts system has long been plagued by a myriad of problems stemming from the courts’ application and lack of organizational structure. The widespread tendency among the courts of resorting to expert opinion in legal matters requiring court assessment, despite the prohibition in the Code of Civil Procedure, has long been a matter of concern. Targeting these problems, the Parliament approved the Law No. 6754 on Court Experts (the “Law”) and gathered the existing regulations on court experts under a single legislation. The law was published on the Official Gazette and entered into force on November 24, 2016.
The Content of the Law
The Law regulates the appointment of experts in an organized manner by establishing supervisory institutions, and cites the credentials that the experts should possess. In line with the Code of Civil Procedure, the Law emphasizes that the courts cannot seek expert opinion on issues that must be assessed through legal knowledge, which all judges are assumed to have as a standard.
The ethical principles and rules for the court experts system previously existed under different regulations; the Law has gathered these principles under one roof. Accordingly, the court experts: must be independent and objective in their examinations; cannot advise on legal issues that must be considered by courts; cannot assign their duties to third persons; and must ensure confidentiality regarding the facts learned during the examination of any documents entrusted to them.
Highlights from the Law
- Previously, special regulations allowed for legal persons to act as court experts, such as real estate appraisers, expert companies used by the banks and insurance companies, and translation offices. The Law generally allows for the establishment of new companies to act as experts.
- The new court experts system introduces a quota system to ensure the fair annual distribution of the cases, and states that the court experts will not be assigned by judges, but rather be automatically assigned by the National Judiciary Informatics System according to their area of expertise.
- The courts can decide not to render a payment to the experts who do not submit their report within due time of the criminal proceedings without prejudice to the provisions regarding civil and criminal liability.
- The reasons for which experts can be dismissed are listed under the Law. Some of the striking examples include the avoidance of duty with no legal grounds; failure to submit the expert report in due time; acting with conduct conflicting with the ethical principles and rules of the expert system; and incompetency in performance.
The Law aims to increase the trust in the judicial system and establish an efficient structure for the court expert system under a separate legislation. The regulations setting forth the Law’s application will be published within six months following the Law’s publication on the Official Gazette.