In Turkey in order to be a lawyer, you should be a graduate of a law faculty with four years of education. After an internship period for one year, the lawyer obtains his license and starts his job. Each lawyer holding a license of attorneyship should be registered to a bar association. There is one bar association in every province of Turkey. Lawyers may only be registered to the bar association in one province and perform his job. The biggest bar association of Turkey is in the Istanbul province. Since independence is crucial for the lawyers, the relation between bar associations and the lawyers is not a superior-subordinate relationship. The bar associations try to provide professional solidarity among lawyers, protect the rights of the lawyers and ensure that the lawyers perform their jobs in compliance with its function.
What does “Legal Practitioner” Mean? How Long Does Take Being a Lawyer?
Every graduate of a law faculty has to do law internship for one year if he/she wishes to work as a lawyer. Such persons are called “legal practitioners”. The legal practitioners should do internship at various courts of courthouse for the first six months and work with a lawyer with five years of law experience for the second six months. Legal practitioners completing the internship period are registered to a bar association and use the rights and powers of attorneyship.
Some Principles on the Profession of Attorneyship
Attorneyship and Transparency
A lawyer should be transparent in the course of his profession and should inform his client about every phase of his activities. If requested by the client, the lawyer should give a copy of each document in the case file. The lawyer should also inform his client about the possible results of the case as well as his legal opinion on the course of the case.
Confidentiality Obligation of the Lawyer
A lawyer should keep any information about the client confidential. The profession of attorneyship is based on mutual trust. Therefore, the lawyer should keep every detail of the case he has been informed secret. The confidentiality obligation of a lawyer also covers refusal to testify against his client. The confidentiality obligation is infinite for the lawyers. Even he resigns from his job, the lawyer cannot disclose the information about the client.
A Lawyer is not a Party of a Case
A lawyer is not the person who is a party of a case. Whilst advocating his client, the lawyer considers legal criteria and politeness; avoids such attitudes causing him to be regarded as a party of a case. The lawyers perform a legal function of defensing; a lawyer should abstain from words and actions that are not included in the defense. The lawyer should exclude himself from the disputes and conflicts among the parties because of the case. Thus, he may be objective and is more likely to solve the case.
Lawyer’s Prohibition of Appropriation of Contested Rights
A lawyer cannot appropriate contested rights related with a business or case. Contested rights are those which are in dispute among the parties. The lawyer cannot accept a case in return for an appropriation of a property or a right in dispute. The prohibition of appropriation of contested rights ceases when the lawyer resigns from his job; in case of a dismissal or when the work undertaken by the lawyer is finalized.
Prohibition of Advocating Parties with Opposite Interests in the Same Case
A lawyer cannot advocate the parties with opposite interests in the same case. It is sure that advocating both the claimant and the defendant in the same case prevents revealing the judicial fact. Even if a lawyer quits the attorneyship of his client, he cannot be a lawyer of the other party. Otherwise, the trust to this profession will be damaged since the lawyer knows all secrets of the party he advocated previously.
Similarly, a lawyer also cannot advocate the suspect or defendant with opposite interests in a criminal case. For instance, if two people commit a crime and one of them alleges that the other person has committed this crime, the lawyer cannot advocate these two persons together.
Lawyer is Independent
A lawyer acts independently in the course of his profession. He should not accept a case that may harm to his independence. If the requests of a client about his case severely affect the independence of the lawyer, he should deny the case.
A lawyer is independent from any judicial, administrative and legislative authority as he is independent from the bar association he is registered to. The relation of the lawyer with the bar association is not a superior- subordinate relationship. The bar association cannot give instructions or make suggestions about a particular issue or case.
Professional Standards of Attorneyship and Havana Principles
Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers (Havana Principles) is an important document on the international standards of the profession of attorneyship. Since Havana Principles were adopted during the UN Conference held in Havana between 27 August and 7 September 1990, these principles also offer an insight into the national arrangements on the profession of attorneyship. Havana Principles include several guiding rules on the rights to access to lawyers and legal services, qualifications and training of lawyers, safeguarding mechanisms for the functioning of lawyers, freedom of expression and association of lawyers and disciplinary proceedings.
What Does “Lawyer’s Function of Defensing” Mean?
Lawyer’s Function of Defensing before Administrative Organizations
A lawyer performs a function of defensing his client in any administrative organization. Such organizations as ministries, institutions affiliated to the Office of Prime Minister, directorates of land registry, all general directorates, municipalities, the governorates, district governorates etc. are administrative organizations. When the citizens need professional assistance due to their lack of legal knowledge, the lawyers can help them with any legal issue or procedure.
Lawyer’s Function of Defensing before Judicial Organizations
Courts, prosecution offices and security directorates or gendarmerie executing judicial operations can be listed as judicial organizations.
When an individual is declared that he is a suspect of a crime, a lawyer advocates such person as a guarantee of his right to defense. If this person is under a criminal suspicion, the legal assistance of the lawyer is an essential safeguard considering the fundamental rights and freedoms since criminal proceedings may lead to the intervention of the state in fundamental rights and freedoms. The role of the lawyer with his function of defensing is crucial considering whether this intervention is necessary or not or during the legalization of this intervention.
A lawyer may advocate the defendant, namely the person on trial, in criminal cases or the complainant or the victim suffered from the crime provided that they are not the parties of the same case. A lawyer may participate in a case on debts either as a representative of the creditor or the debtor on the condition of different cases. A lawyer may be the legal representative of either complainant or the defendant in divorce cases provided that they are not the parties of the same case.
As a rule, a lawyer may perform all necessary actions that may be carried out without the client. The client must be present at the court for some actions. A lawyer may carry out all actions alone other than the ones which require the presence of the client.
A lawyer is the only person with the knowledge on every legal problem. He is the one trying to solve the problem and find a new legal solution for this problem. The profession of attorneyship may be called as the art of problem solving.
Are There Branches such as Criminal Defense Attorney, Divorce Attorney, and Compensation Attorney in the Profession of Attorneyship?
With respect to branches in the profession of attorneyship, there are several different approaches all over the world. Some countries prefer the branches in the profession and ensure that the lawyers specialize in a particular field, while the others grant the lawyers with the authority to participate in every case, thus making a more general definition about the profession.
In Turkey, the branches such as criminal defense lawyer, divorce attorney or real estate attorney do not exist. A lawyer working in Turkey may participate in any cases. However, in a colloquial context, the lawyers following up the criminal cases are called as serious crimes attorneys; those following up divorce cases are called as divorce attorneys and those following up real estate cases are called as real estate attorneys.
Is there an Age Limit or Seniority in the Profession of Attorneyship?
Attorneyship is a self- employment profession offering public service. Therefore, there is not an age limit. However, we believe that there should be an age limit in the profession. We recommend that the lawyers work until a particular age and later they act as consulting lawyer. Thus, certain problems due to the age limit may be solved.
There is not seniority in the profession of attorneyship. In other words, there is not a difference between a legal practitioner and a lawyer with 30 years of experience in the profession in terms of rights and powers.
Istanbul - Turkey Lawyer Baran Dogan