The first studies concerning this project started in 1998. In order to realize modernization within judiciary, Information Technologies Department was established as a result of the reorganization study in the structure of Ministry of Justice at the end of 1999. Later on, having discussed with the technology companies, to decide which data technologies shall be used, it was decided that it would be better to carry out modernization as a whole Project covering all judicial units. The Project, NATIONAL JUDICIARY INFORMATICS SYSTEM, was started as one parts of e–government in 2000.
The Accession Partnership with Turkey was adopted on 8 March 2001, and the Government of Turkey prepared
a National Plan for the Adoption of the Acquis (NPAA) to achieve the objectives stated in the Accession Partnership.
Modernization of justice and penal reform are included as fundamental priorities in the Accession Partnership and in the NPAA. In the course of progress towards accession to the European Union and in response to the obligations of the Acquis of the EU and its Member States, the Turkish government, is actively following a National Program for the Adoption of the Acquis. However the objective of the process of law approximation is to not only implement the relevant amendments to existing legislation but as importantly, to strengthen those institutions responsible for the enforcement or implementation of the new procedures and processes. Thus UYAP has been carried out to establish an electronic network covering all Courts, Offices of Public Prosecutors and Law Enforcement Offices together with the Central Organization of the Ministry of Justice in order to realize these aims.
UYAP has been planned in two phases:
First, the central organization in Ankara: The first phase’s objective is automating the procedures of the central organization of the Ministry and its subordinate units. This stage has been completed in 2002.
Second, the countrywide organization Automation of the UYAP Provincial Units: Second phase of the project was finalized by the end of 2007. All of the judicial units and agencies make use of ICT in their daily processes. All the judiciary processes, transactions and trials transmitted to electronic environment.
UYAP has won many prizes both in Turkey and in abroad because of making significant breakthrough in Turkish judiciary. In Turkey, UYAP was awarded for annual e- Government rewards in 2004,2005 and 2008 organized by TÜSÄ°AD and Turkey Informatics Foundation. In 2008, UYAP has received a special mention in ''Crystal Scales of Justice'' awards which is presented by the European Commission and the Council of Europe in the context of the European Day of Civil Justice. In addition, UYAP has received a golden medal because of being selected as a laureate in the computer world honors program held in Andrew w. Mellon auditorium in Washington dc in 01.06.2009 and honored as one of the most successful five finalists in the area of e-government projects in the world. In addition it has become the only e-justice project among the finalists.
Procedures, among the branches of the justice system and other relevant official bodies, have been totally integrated and automated on electronic signature infrastructure in UYAP, establishing electronic office atmosphere that not need paperwork. After the enactment of the Law on Electronic Signature no: 5070, dated 15.01.2004, the Ministry of Justice has reached an agreement with the public e-signature provider, for the delivery of the e-signatures for all judges, prosecutors and staff. Until now, 41.834 personnel have applied for the e-signature and 35.391 of them have been given their e-signature. It was issued a regulation by the Ministry of Justice that documents will no longer be circulated physically among the judicial units after 01.07.2008. All the documents are required to be sent in the electronic environment, which are signed by e-signature. Namely, correspondence among the judicial units has been done by using electronic signature.
Another Project, carried out within UYAP, is “Expert System Portal Development Project” which aims to develop a web-based expert system portal. In this Project, the user will access the information about which route to follow, how much fee to pay and how much money to spend during the course of law suits regarding the suit of damages involved. It enables the user to access the decisions from a suit for similar cases when s/he enters the key words and the required parameters that will appear on the screen concerning the law suit involved. Reports of similar cases will be extracted together with statistical information related; the number of lawsuits filed according to the topics; the duration of lawsuits; the number of claims that are accepted, partially accepted and rejected; the cost of the suit, the quantity of amendments, the amount of money paid to defendants.
As a recent development, after reaching agreement with the GSM operators; text messages containing information about the case files can be sent to the parties of cases, who need to be warned when to attend court. It allows users to ask for alerts to be sent to them whenever any chosen event occurs, by email or text (http://vatandas.adalet.gov.tr/). In order to subscribe to this service, citizens should write SMS that contains first their “ID number” after a blank, then “abone” lastly send to 4060.
In addition to this, after completing the test stage, courts and other judicial units were equipped with “video and audio recording”,” video conferencing systems” and “. These systems were tested in Ankara Courthouse which is the biggest court in Turkey and were rolled out in 225 heavy criminal courts.
In UYAP it is planned to set up integration with the other national and international institutions and organizations’ databases in the course of progress towards accession to the European Union. In this context, it is also aimed to establish links to the central databases of the European Union and EU member countries’ systems.
All over the Turkey, 133 Heavy Penal Court Centres, 25 Administrative Regional Courts, 575 small county courts and the Penitentiary and Detention Houses have been rolled out until now. All of the judicial units and agencies make use of ICT in their daily processes.
There are currently 47.439 users (judges, prosecutors and other staff) doing their all judicious job by using system and this number has been rising day by day. All units have carried out their all processes via UYAP from the beginning of dissemiation (26.04.2004) and 10.140.265.232 documents and 57.240.073 files have been entered via UYAP until now. In all of the units taken into operation, nearly more than 1.000.000 new documents are being entered to the system every day.
The number of documents has been exceeded more than 10 billion and nearly 200.000 new files are being added every day. The number of e mail account is 90.000 and there 55.000 active e mail users in the system and 250.000 e mails are being processed every day. 37.710 lawyers have been registered to lawyer’s portal using this system actively.