The Minister of Justice Mr. Abdulhamit Gül emphasized the importance of the theoretical and practical education, given in the law faculties, within the judicial system; and he said that “Qualified law is only possible with qualified legal experts. Whether the person is an officer of the judiciary or a member of the judiciary, the university, from which the person was graduated, will set the bar for the judicial services that s/he will provide.”
President of the Court of Cassation Mr. Mehmet Akarca, President of the Council of State Mr. Zeki Yiğit, Deputy Chairman of the Council of Judges and Prosecutors Mr. Mehmet Akif Ekinci, the members of the Council of Judges and Prosecutors, the Deputy Ministers, the deans of law faculties, many academics and students, as well as the candidates for judges and prosecutors, attended the Legal Education Symposium organized by the Ministry of Justice. The Minister of Justice Mr. Gül gave a speech at the opening of the symposium, and said that justice was the common value of all. By explaining that the symposium data was of great importance in increasing the quality of legal education, which was widely covered in the Judicial Reform Strategy Document (YRS) and the Human Rights Action Plan (İHEP); Minister Gül thanked the academics, who would make presentation.
THE DUTIES OF JUDGE AND PROSECUTOR ARE DUTIES THAT NEED TO BE FULLY FULFILLED WITH ALL ASPECTS
The Minister of Justice Mr. Gül stated that justice was the common value of everyone and that the basis of the understanding of 'let people live so that the state can live' was keeping justice alive; and said that "Man can only live with justice." By emphasizing that the decisions made by the justice directly affected the individual's life and required a very serious responsibility; the Minister Mr. Gül noted that the responsibility and duty of the judiciary was to fulfil the justice with the utmost care and attention. By expressing that the profession of judge and prosecutor would not accept personal mistakes; the Minister Mr. Gül said that “The duties of judges and prosecutors are duties that must be performed completely in all aspects. In the Mecelle (Ottoman Code of Civil Law), when describing a judge, it is stated that 'the judge should be ruling, intelligent, independent, confident, strong'.” With the Judicial Ethics Declaration of Türkiye, the expectation from all members of the judiciary on behalf of our nation was revealed in this sense. In the ethics declaration, it was stated that 'Accuracy, consistency, honesty, equality, competence, merit and continuous self-improvement perspectives are indispensable values of the members of judiciary in Türkiye'. He said that “In order for a member of the judiciary in Türkiye to have these characteristics, s/he must have a good education, a solid personality and sufficient life experience.”
LEGAL EDUCATION IS GIVEN A VERY IMPORTANT PLACE AT JUDICIAL REFORM STRATEGY
By expressing that some judicial decisions may be accepted by the society, while others may damage the confidence in the judiciary; Mr. Gül said that both results were in the hands of the members of the judiciary. By noting that it was the education and the law that provided these qualifications to the member of the judiciary, the Minister Mr. Gül stated as follows:
“For this reason, we have given a very important place to the legal education in the Judicial Reform Strategy Document (YRS), which was announced to the public by our President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. In this context, as you know, the criterion of success, especially in law faculties, was increased from 190 thousand to 125 thousand in 2019 at first, and to 100 thousand now. This is a beginning. Basically, we believe that this process should be completed by increasing the quality of education in law faculties. We consider that qualified law is only possible with qualified legal experts. Whether the person is an officer of the judiciary or a member of the judiciary; the university, from which the person was graduated, and the legal education, which the person took, will set the bar for the judicial services that s/he will provide.”
HANGING A LAW FACULTY SIGN DOES NOT MAKE THE BUILDING A LAW FACULTY
By stating that the faculty of law was a laboratory, where the logic of law was engraved and reflected, and a cradle, where the mother tongue of a lifelong journey of justice was taught; the Minister Mr. Gül explained the importance of education in order to raise qualified members of the judiciary. By expressing that hanging a law faculty sign on a building would not make this building a law faculty, the Minister Mr. Gül said as follows:
“Hanging a law faculty sign on a building with insufficient academic staff, where there is no current vision of law and effort to produce works, does not make this building a law faculty. It is not just a value based on a sign. The law faculty is a laboratory, where the logic of law is engraved and reflected. It is almost the cradle of this activity, where the mother tongue of a lifelong journey of justice is taught. It shapes the future indictments, judicial decisions, the right of defence, the right of the victim, and the perspective of rights and freedoms. It is also the natural environment of free thought, the awareness of rights, and the sense of equality and justice.”
By emphasizing that the students should be admitted to the faculties of law according to their needs; the Minister Mr. Gül said that the results of the symposium should also be taken into account by the Council of Higher Education.
THOSE WHO STARTS THE PROFESSION WITH MATURITY WILL BECOME WISE LEGAL EXPERTS WITH EXPERIENCE
By explaining that the legal experts needed to find solutions to all issues that came before them, regardless of their worldview, with their identities of legal experts; the Minister Mr. Gül said that “The concept of right does not have a political thought. The victim is not 'in favour of me or yours', the victim is only the victim. The right to defence and the human dignity can never be ‘in favour of him or me’. Those, who start the profession with that maturity, will be wise legal experts with the experience they have gained over the years.”
DECISIONS, WHERE WE CAN MAKE YOU SAY 'WHO WOULD HAVE MADE THE SAME DECISION', BRINGS CONFIDENCE
By stating that the entrance exam to legal professions was introduced with the 1st Judicial Package, the Minister Mr. Gül said that the development of the education curriculum was important for the development of legal education. The Minister Mr. Gül stated that fields such as methodology, psychology of justice, justification, legal language, legal philosophy, and sociology of law should be included in the law curriculum more strongly, and he emphasized the importance of combining theoretical and practical education. In this context, the Minister Mr. Gül said that they aimed to bring judges and prosecutors, who swallowed the dust of the courthouse, who knew what the files meant and who solved the practice of the case, to the rostrum, by realizing the assistant judge and prosecutor's office with the discretion of the parliament. By explaining that the fields of activity of the legal professions were diverse, the Minister Mr. Gül said as follows:
“The point here is not to be a lawman, but legal experts with advanced reasoning skills, who stay away from rote learning, are needed. A legal person is not a person who memorizes laws like a multiplication table. Especially here, with all this reasoning ability, the roof of judicial decisions will be stronger. Otherwise, we can come across as a criticism of something that is an obvious insult, and an insult to a word that is an obvious criticism. To the extent that we can make one say and see that ‘anyone would have made the same decision’, the judicial decisions create trust and reveal confidence. A young friend of ours, who will graduate from law school, is blindfolded by the figure of justice throughout his/her entire education life, even before s/he becomes a judge and during his/her student years. If s/he is educated with the understanding and culture of ‘I don't look at what anyone said, I look at the file’; when s/he becomes a judge, this figure of justice will not blind him/her and s/he looks at the file, s/he is not affected by the conjuncture, s/he is not affected by what anyone says, and s/he only looks at the evidence.”
LANGUAGE IN TURKISH LAW SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN THE LAW EDUCATION CURRICULUM
By emphasizing the importance of using Turkish correctly in the judiciary in order for the decisions to be understandable; the Minister Mr. Gül said that "An important topic we come across is the use of our beautiful Turkish language. In fact, it is very important to use Turkish in a beautiful and understandable way within the framework of the logic of the decisions made by the judicial authorities. In this context, I find it beneficial to include a course of Language in Turkish Law within the curriculum of law faculties related with law education. I believe this issue will be evaluated by experts.”
By explaining that the Constitution was abused from time to time because its language was not clear, and that Türkiye paid a heavy price for it in the past; the Minister Mr. Gül stated that "The Constitution, which is a social contract, is translated into and adorned with beautiful and clear Turkish, which is the language of society, and the language of Karacaoğlan and Yunus Emre. It is an important topic in education to include our Turkish in its purest form in all processes, both in texts and in decisions."
PRESIDENT OF THE COURT OF CASSATION MR. AKARCA: THERE IS A NEED FOR LEGAL EXPERTS WHO ADOPT DEMOCRATIC VALUES BASED ON HUMAN LOVE AND COURTESY
The President of the Court of Cassation, Mr. Mehmet Akarca, attended the opening ceremony; and explained that the main function of law was to ensure social peace and order, to realize justice, to protect rights and freedoms and to ensure legal security. By stating that the law was entrusted to the legal experts, Akarca emphasized the importance of legal education and said as follows:
“If we consider it necessary for a legal expert to have a high level of written expression skills, it would not be realistic to expect a good legal expert from a person, who spent his entire education life, including undergraduate education, with test exams. In that case, when considering the subject of legal education, a three-stage evaluation can be made: pre-graduate education, undergraduate education and post-graduate education. When it comes to pre-graduate education, a legal expert may have the ability to think analytically and question. As an individual who closely knows the society in which s/he lives, s/he has social responsibility. These qualifications must firstly be given to our children at the basic education stage. There is a need for legal experts, who have embraced democratic values based on human love, respect, kindness, tolerance and mutual understanding. Otherwise, no matter how much education is given, it will not be possible to train legal experts with the desired qualifications.”
By noting that some structural measures should be taken to increase the quality of the legal experts, Mr. Akarca stated that “You cannot control what you cannot measure. You cannot manage what you cannot control. You cannot improve what you cannot manage. For this reason, we should be able to measure the success levels of law faculties and faculty members that train future legal experts, according to the principles of transparency and accountability. This aspect of the issue should not be neglected when considering legal education.”
THE PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCİL OF STATE MR. YİĞİT: IT IS ESSENTIAL FOR THE VOCATIONAL TRAINING OF THE LEGAL EXPERTS TO CONTINUE LIFELONG
In his speech, the President of the Council of State, Mr. Zeki Yiğit, emphasized that it was mandatory to use disciplines such as philosophy, logic, informatics and sociology to be a good legal expert, and to use a method that encourages research, problem solving and strategic thinking, in short, that makes the student active in the education and training process, in order to train a good legal expert. Mr. Yiğit stated that the education of legal experts should not be limited to the education in law faculties, and said that “It is essential for the vocational training of the legal experts to continue lifelong.”
The Head of Department of Strategy Development, Mr. Ertuğrul Çekin, also stated that the law was changing and developing day by day, and emphasized that every link of the chain was important in order to train well-educated and competent legal experts.
The symposium, in which 30 academicians from many universities will make presentations in 8 separate sessions, will continue tomorrow.
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