At the start of 2019, the total number of judges in Turkey passed 19,000 and the number of judges per 100,000 people was at 24.4! For reference, this is above the 24 judges per 100,000 that Germany had in 2014. Looking back at the fact that the number of judges per 100,000 more than doubled in the last 5 years, it is clear that the Turkish government feels it necessary to rapidly increase the total manpower in the judiciary.
However, I believe that this should not be seen as an accomplishment but rather a call for alarm. Such a drastic increase will surely make it impossible to effectively manage and lead such a gargantuan operation as the judiciary under the existing systems. Consequently, this development may seriously negatively impact the efficient production of services of the highest quality by the judiciary as a whole.
The optimum structure of an organisation is that which can produce the demanded goods or services in the best manner possible. In this respect the public sector is no different from the private. Norm staffing is the essence of this.
If the number of staff is less than the minimum required, then delays and low quality in production occurs and this gradually worsens over time as workers become demoralised and overworked.
By contrast, if there are more staff than the optimum number, then employees begin to refrain from production, and compete with each other to gain more in-work benefits. This results in a feeling of injustice between the employees which takes over the workplace. Again, this results in quality falling and total production dropping off as well.
Norm staffing requirement refers to the number of staff members needed for optimum production and management in an organisation.
If work is performed sub optimally due to norm staffing being determined according to the assumption of bad performance, then this leads to a surplus in the ideal number of workers. As already discussed, and contrary to common belief, a surplus in the number of workers actually leads to a drop in the level of production and a decrease in quality. There is a wastage of resources, management is difficult, and it is the fundamental cause of the decline of many public administrations that consist of tens of thousands of people.
This is to say, there is no parallel between managing a workforce consisting of employees at work the whole time and managing an only partially efficient workforce that has large number of people just gossiping and not working. It is almost impossible to help manage the latter.
It is for this reason that Germany has eight times as many judges and has twice as large a budget as England but could only produce a legal services at a similar level. Germany is now aiming to reduce the manpower of the judiciary without compromising the quality of judicial services provided. On the other hand, England is continuing to develop its systems so it can maintain its position as one of the best judicial systems in the world.
The dispute resolutions mechanisms that are in place in England have been adopted by a large number of countries and organisations who want to gain an international reputation for trust and reliability. Dubai International Finance Centre has recently adopted English Law as its governing law in dispute resolution and is a prime example of this movement. Similarly, Kazakhstan has also started using English Law at its international finance centre in Astana and has appointed Lord Wolf as the director of its dispute resolution mechanism; Lord Wolf was influential in vastly improving dispute resolution systems in England.
Despite the mountain of evidence against the decision, Turkey has adopted the dispute resolution systems of Germany despite it being more expensive and less effective. Moreover, due to the societal and cultural differences between Turkey and Germany, this has not been a decision taken in the long-term interests of Turkey. Indeed, the steps taken to amend civil and criminal proceedings in the light of domestic experience has resulted in the system turning into a poor imitation of the German system. Now, cases that could be undertaken in under a hundred days fail to be initiated for months, and in addition, the roles and elements of the judiciary are often confused, resulting in the adjournment of the trial many times and for inappropriate reasons. As a result, the judiciary, though being one of the primary functions of the government, is now seen almost as an unnecessary element, and alternative remedies and methods are started to be seen as the primary and main ways of resolution.
For this vicious circle to end, rather than increase the number of judges, Turkey should define its trial services to exactly satisfy the needs of the nation. Trying to force our systems to fit the mould of Germany or England is not going to work. Instead we should embrace the benefits of other systems and use these to embark upon a unique strategy to overcome our problems and forge ahead in the international competition.
Turkey needs to develop its own methods to fit the social composition and realities of Turkey in order to meet the needs of society in the best manner possible and this is entirely achievable at this stage. The solution should be started not by rushing into increasing the number of judges to a level comparable to Germany, but by defining our trial services so as to offer the best legal services for the country, and by creating a norm staffing system in conformity to this.