Technical assistance for better access to justice




ADR Technical Assistance; Access to Justice


September 2007 – April 2009


In 2007, Turkey had access to justice issues, issues that plague many countries: Long trials, frequently postponed, together with major difficulties endured by many people (victims and civil parties, as well as defendants in civil cases) in getting a fair trial. These conditions persisted despite efforts at reform, including increases in the number of civil courts, reorganizations that affected many courthouses, and several successive new regimes for legal aid. The issue of the lack of access to justice also played a significant role in the country’s economic prosperity and progress.

ADR Center was awarded a project to improve access to legal aid and awareness of legal aid and ADR and also to significantly shorten the time required acquisition and processing of court system data. The overall objective of this project was to strengthen the rule of law in Turkey and guarantee all citizens access to justice in line with the EU acquis standard, by increasing the utilization of Legal Aid system, making ADR more applicable in the justice system and training Directorate General of Judicial Record and Statistics (DGJRS) professionals on IT.

The project included legal aid, ADR, training and nationwide survey components. The legal aid component was aimed at improving access to justice by increasing the utilization of the legal aid system in Turkey. The ADR component focused on making ADR more applicable in the justice system, strengthening the functioning of the judiciary, and increasing public awareness of ADR. The IT training component focused on the training of professionals from the Turkish Ministry of Justice on the technical infrastructure. Finally, a nationwide survey measured the success of the project.

The Consortium, led by ADR Center, worked closely with the beneficiary institutions in Turkey. The project covered the whole of Turkey with many activities taking place outside of Istanbul. The primary target group were citizens who required legal aid, ADR lawyers, Turkish judges, prosecutors, officials and other institutions responsible for practical implementation of the judicial acquis and for management of EU and other funded judicial infrastructure projects.


  • An extensive research study was carried out to identify the gaps and needs of the present legal aid system
  • Awareness materials such as posters and brochures on legal aid and ADR were developed and distributed among bar associations, judges and lawyers
  • Intensive train-the-trainer courses on legal aid and ADR were organized for lawyers
  • A nationwide survey was designed and conducted to measure the success of the project
  • Over 30,000 ADR demonstration CD’s with arbitration and mediation simulations were developed


  • Over 500 lawyers were trained in legal aid, increasing awareness of Legal Aid’s services and their importance, as well as increasing their communication skills when discussing legal aid
  • Two international symposia on ADR and legal aid were held with over 100 participants each
  • Completed 4 ADR awareness trainings for a total of 1000 lawyers resulting in an increased understanding of ADR methods and processes
  • Organized a six-day ADR study visit to the Netherlands for staff of the Ministry of Justice allowing for actual knowledge of best practices in ADR in appropriate EU countries and for effective transmission of that knowledge to other professionals in MOJ and Ankara Bar Association
  • Organized a 5-day IT study visit for DGJRS staff to Luxembourg and the Netherlands allowing for actual knowledge of best practices in judicial data management in appropriate EU countries; effective transmission of that knowledge to other professionals in DGJRS
  • As a result of the trainings and symposia, legal professionals in Turkey now have access access to all the materials they would require to extensively utilize ADR procedure


The Central Finance and Contracts Unit (Funded by The European Commission, EuropeAid Co-operation Office, Southern Mediterranean Middle East department)