Legal assistance in temporary protection

Türkiye

Country Report: Legal assistance in temporary protection Last updated: 17/08/22

Author

Independent

Article 53 TPR guarantees the right to be represented by a lawyer in relation to matters of law and procedure vis-a-vis authorities. It also makes a reference to the provisions of state-funded legal aid (Adli Yardim) enshrined in the Law on Attorneys, which provides for state-funded legal assistance to persons who cannot afford to pay a lawyer.

In Türkiye, state-funded legal aid is delivered by bar associations, subject to considerations of “means” and “merits”. A project implemented by UNHCR and the Union of Bar Associations in Türkiye throughout 18 provinces funds bar associations specifically for international and temporary protection cases (see International Protection: Regular Procedure).

Another obstacle relates to the requirement of a notarised power of attorney (see International Protection: Regular Procedure). As per the Union of Notaries Circular 2016/3, the Temporary Protection Identification Document is included in the list of documents accepted by public notaries. However, some notaries remain reluctant to grant power of attorney on the basis of such documents.

Article 51 TPR guarantees persons concerned and their legal representatives’ access to file and documents, with the exception of “information and documents pertaining to national security, public order, protection of public security, prevention of crime and intelligence”. This excessively broad, blanket space of exception generates the risk that in certain situations lawyers representing persons seeking to challenge their treatment will be prevented from being able to access all relevant information. In the current regional context and security environment, with a heavy emphasis on the identification and prevention of persons with alleged links to terrorist groups, the restrictions allowed by Article 51 TPR on lawyers’ access to file is concerning.

Article 51 TPR also provides guarantees for the confidentiality of personal information and documents.

In 2021 there were some problems for Syrians accessing legal aid. The legal aid service does not look for a poverty certificate from the refugee applicant, but some courts do. If the applicant cannot submit a poverty certificate issued by the neighborhood authority (muhtar), the request is immediately rejected. The local authority in Esenler reportedly said that there was an instruction from the governorship and the Ministry of Interior Affairs to not give poverty certificates to Syrians. Family and civil courts of the first instance do not accept legal aid requests without this document. Even if the legal aid request is accepted, in cases where the client has to be heard before the court, the judge asks for a translator, and the client pays the translator fee. The legal aid budget should typically cover this cost.[1]

 

 

 

[1] Information provided by a stakeholder, May 2022.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of main changes since the previous report update
  • Introduction to the asylum context in Türkiye
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • Temporary Protection Regime
  • Content of Temporary Protection