Muhittin Kaya ve Muhittin Kaya İnşaat Taahhüt Madencilik Gıda Turizm Pazarlama Sanayi ve Ticaret Ltd. Şti. Başvurusu
Muhittin Kaya and Muhittin Kaya İnşaat Taahhüt Madencilik Gıda Turizm Pazarlama Sanayi ve Ticaret Ltd. Şti., Application No: 2013/1213, 4 December 2013 [Right to a Reasoned Decision – Article 36 of the Turkish Constitution – Inadmissible – Manifestly Ill-Founded]
A ) Facts
An execution proceedings were commenced against the applicants as regards to a cheque worth of TRY 500,000 and dated 11 June 2007. The applicants started a negative declaratory action as regards to the mentioned cheque, which was refused by the local court on 9 June 2011. This judgment was upheld by the Court of Appeal on 26 March 2012 and the request of revision of decision was also refused. The applicants applied to the Constitutional Court by arguing that the said check was issued for guarantee purposes only and in spite of this fact, their negative declaratory action was dismissed since the nature and content of the cheque have not been accurately considered by the trial courts and the proceedings as regards to the dispute was lasted more than five years and therefore claiming that their rights guaranteed under Articles 35, 36, 38, 40, 41 and 48 of the Constitution were violated.
B) Judgment and Reasoning of the Court
The court considered the claims towards the inaccurate assessment of the nature and content of the cheque by the trial courts under the title of “claim against the fairness of the proceedings” and stated that the claim towards imbalanced and unjust evidence should be examined in the light of the entirety of the proceedings. It was concluded that “in principle, it should be accepted that cheques are considered as a payment method for an existing debt. In this regard, the burden of proof lays on the claimant towards the claim that the relevant cheque was issued for guarantee purposes only; however, no documentary evidence or affidavit has been submitted. Consequently, the first instance Court dismissed the case on the ground that the claims of the applicants had not been proved, and this decision was reviewed and found that it was grounded on a lawful basis by the appeal Courts before it has been finalized. In addition, on the basis of the application file, no evidence was found as to the lack of opportunity for the applicants in terms of offering their proof and claims, to the lack of efficient participation in the trial or to a significant disadvantage in their status throughout the proceedings” and accordingly, the court has ruled that the claims of the applicants against the fairness of the trial are manifestly ill-founded (§ 28).
Also, the claim as to the right to trial within a reasonable time was reviewed and the length of the proceedings amounting to five years and three months was considered as an unreasonable delay. The applicants’ claims of retrial and monetary damages were dismissed.
C) Significance of the Judgment
The judgment interprets the production and assessment of evidence within the scope of the equality of arms principle and states that the principles and rights comprised within the right to a fair trial, such as the right to a reasoned decision and the equality of arms principle, by the ECtHR jurisprudence are included in Article 36 of the Constitution (§ 25). Furthermore, it is accepted that the right to a reasoned decision is an obligatory duty for the courts on the basis of the provision stating that “The decisions of all courts shall be written with a justification” under paragraph 3 of Article 141. It is also highlighted that the scope of this obligation to show a justification may vary depending on the nature of a decision. If the claims of the applicant as regards to procedure or merits which require a separate and clear response are left unanswered, this would result in violation of a right. Nevertheless, the fact that the judgments by the appellate courts are not detailed cannot be construed as a violation of this right. By referral to the ECtHR jurisprudence, the Court also explained that the authority to assess the evidence of a particular case and to decide whether a piece of evidence is related with the case belong to the trial courts (§ 27).