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Turkish Lawyers & Bars

Started by admin, May 28, 2007, 11:45:07 PM

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Turkish Lawyers & Turkish Bars

Anyone who retains an attorney in Turkey should contract with the lawyer for the specific services the client wishes performed, fees, and special instructions. Any and all instructions to the lawyer should be made in writing to avoid confusion and conflict. Even with a written contract, an attorney is not necessarily bound to his/her client's instruction.
Fees are determined by the lawyer or his/her firm, although a potential client may bargain. Fees are subject to scant legal regulation and, have no upper limit. The fee will depend on variable factors including (but by no means limited to) the lawyer's reputation, experience, knowledge, specialization, and (especially important to non-Turks) foreign language abilities. Also considered is the client's ability to pay the complexity and sensitivity of the case, the client's nationality, and how much similar litigation might cost in the client's home country.

An attorney is legally obliged to serve the best interests of his/her client. The client and the attorney, however, may not necessarily agree on what these interests are and how they should be served. While the client may provide direction to the attorney, the attorney is not obligated to follow those instructions. The attorney, in effect, has the right to decide what is in the best interest of his/her client, even if the client thinks otherwise. In a criminal case, for example an attorney is obligated by law to pursue his client's defense to its conclusion, pursuing all avenues of appeal up to and including the Supreme Court.

While under most circumstances a client would appreciate this doggedness on his behalf, there are occasions when a client might not wish to have his verdict appealed. If, for example, an American citizen convicted of a crime in Turkey wishes to apply to be transferred to serve his sentence in the United States (as he may do under treaty), his application will not be entertained while his case is still "open", that is, under appeal. If a client does not wish further appeals of a verdict or a conviction, he must specifically inform his attorney in writing. Without this written instruction, the attorney could be open to a lawsuit from his client and disciplinary action by the Bar Association for failure to fulfill his responsibility to appeal on his/her client's behalf.

Even if a client requests specifically that his attorney not lodge an appeal, the attorney may after consultation with the prosecutor, still proceed with the appeals process in "extenuating circumstances", most notably if the attorney suspects that his client is being coerced into dropping an appeal. The attorney should (but is not required to) inform his client of this action.

Hanging or firing an attorney has a procedure as well. It is almost impossible to dismiss an attorney in the thick of a case, no matter how dissatisfied the client might be. In a criminal case a client cannot dismiss his attorney until all avenues of appeal have been exhausted. Only then may a client dismiss his attorney, and it must be in writing.

The lawyer's fee is guaranteed and must be paid regardless of the circumstances of dismissal. It cannot be used as a lever to get the lawyer to obey his/her client, nor can the fee be withheld as a "punishment" for failure to do so. Withholding an attorney's retainer or other fees is grounds for legal prosecution.

A client's files are the property of his attorney. The attorney may show his/her client certain items in his file, but is not required to do so, and if the client hires a new lawyer, the new attorney may not necessarily have access to his/her client's prior case file.

For a fee, individuals may lodge written complaints about lawyers with the Bar Association. The Bar's board of directors reviews complaints and forwards those meriting investigation to a disciplinary committee. If this panel determines that a lawyer has engaged in unethical, improper, or illegal behavior, the board can mete punishment in the form of a cash fine, suspension from practice, and/or temporary or permanent expulsion from the Bar.

For further information, contact Istanbul or Ankara Bar Association :

Istanbul Barosu (Istanbul Bar)
Istiklal Caddesi, Baro Han, Kat 2, Beyoğlu, Istanbul
Tel: (212) 251 98 55

Ankara Barosu (Ankara Bar)
Adliye Binasi 5.Kat Sihhiye / Ankara
Tel: (312) 310 21 91 (pbx)
Fax: (312) 309 22 37