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The Conditions of an Indefinite Debt Lawsuit in Turkish Law

An indefinite debt lawsuit, within the framework of the Turkish Code of Civil Procedure (HMK), is a type of lawsuit used when the creditor cannot definitively and fully determine the amount or value of the debt at the time of filing. Regulated under HMK Article 107, this lawsuit allows the creditor to file a lawsuit by specifying the legal relationship and a minimum amount or value. This type of lawsuit is frequently used in situations such as labor claims, calculations requiring technical knowledge, or documents that are difficult to access. It is of great importance in terms of the right to a fair trial and the freedom to seek rights. Certain conditions must be met to file an indefinite debt lawsuit. This article will discuss the situations in which an indefinite debt lawsuit can be filed, its differences from partial lawsuits, and the processes of increasing the claim and rectification.

Conditions of Indefinite Debt Lawsuit

1. Impossibility or Impracticability of Determining the Claim Result:

According to HMK Article 107, an indefinite debt lawsuit can be filed in cases where it is impossible to determine the amount or value of the claim. The Court of Cassation also supports this situation. For example, in cases requiring technical knowledge that are difficult to calculate, it is not expected for the creditor to obtain expert opinion.

2. Specifying a Minimum Amount or Value:

A certain minimum amount must be specified for the claim result. In practice, the temporary claim result is often shown low to pay lower fees. However, the minimum amount should be the lowest amount the creditor can determine at the time of filing the lawsuit.

3. Stating the Facts Revealing the Legal Relationship:

In an indefinite debt lawsuit, all the facts on which the lawsuit is based must be fully and completely specified. The claim result can be changed during the trial.

Situations Where an Indefinite Debt Lawsuit Can Be Filed

An indefinite debt lawsuit is often encountered in labor cases. When it is not possible to determine the claim, for example, in labor claims or moral compensation claims, an indefinite debt lawsuit can be filed.

Differences from Partial Lawsuit

A partial lawsuit is the request for a certain part. In an indefinite debt lawsuit, the lawsuit value is temporary, and all claims determined during the trial are ruled. In an indefinite debt lawsuit, the statute of limitations is interrupted for the entire claim, while in a partial lawsuit, it is only interrupted for the claimed part. The interest starts from the date of the lawsuit in an indefinite debt lawsuit.

Increasing the Claim and Rectification

In indefinite debt lawsuits, the claim can be increased, while in partial lawsuits, rectification occurs. The claim can be increased even after the investigation phase.

Conditions of Indefinite Debt Lawsuit

Situations Where an Indefinite Debt Lawsuit Can Be Filed

The law and the Court of Cassation precedents do not clearly specify the situations where an indefinite debt lawsuit can be filed. The conditions need to be examined for each specific case. For example, in labor law cases, claims cannot be initially defined as certain or indefinite. When conditions are met, an indefinite debt lawsuit can also be filed in labor law cases.

Characteristics of Indefinite Debt Lawsuit

Indefinite debt lawsuits are frequently seen in labor cases. Concepts such as gross wages used in calculating labor claims are often not known precisely. It is also possible to file an indefinite debt lawsuit when the information and documents related to the claims are not accessible. The Court of Cassation considers it sufficient for the plaintiff not to have the necessary information and documents to determine the amount of the claim to file an indefinite debt lawsuit.

Moral Compensation Lawsuits

It is debatable whether moral compensation lawsuits can be the subject of an indefinite debt lawsuit. The General Assembly of Civil Chambers of the Court of Cassation states that moral compensation is a type of compensation envisaged to remedy the reduction in personal values of the injured party. Some views argue that the amount of moral compensation can be determined and therefore cannot be filed as an indefinite debt lawsuit, while others argue that subjective criteria are used in determining moral damage and can be the subject of an indefinite debt lawsuit.

Deceit by the Testator

Deceit by the testator occurs when the testator wishes to deprive an heir of their inheritance rights by pretending to sell or make a maintenance contract for life in the title deed while actually wanting to donate the property. According to the Court of Cassation precedents, it is possible to file an indefinite debt lawsuit in such cases due to the impossibility of definitively determining the value of the property.

Differences Between Partial Lawsuit and Indefinite Debt Lawsuit

Definition of Partial Lawsuit

A partial lawsuit is the request for a specific part of a claim or right arising from the same legal relationship. According to HMK Article 109, if the amount of the claim is undisputed or clearly determined, a partial lawsuit cannot be filed. It is sufficient for the plaintiff’s explanations in the petition to understand that the claim is more than the claimed amount.

Comparison of Partial Lawsuit and Indefinite Debt Lawsuit

In an indefinite debt lawsuit, the lawsuit value is temporary, and all claims determined during the trial are ruled. In a partial lawsuit, the lawsuit value must be certain at the time of filing. An indefinite debt lawsuit is more advantageous in terms of statute of limitations and interest claims. In an indefinite debt lawsuit, the statute of limitations is interrupted for the entire claim, while in a partial lawsuit, it is only interrupted for the claimed part. The interest starts from the date of the lawsuit in an indefinite debt lawsuit.

Decisions of the Court of Cassation

The Court of Cassation has clearly distinguished between indefinite debt lawsuits and partial lawsuits. An indefinite debt lawsuit can be filed when it is objectively impossible to determine the amount of the claim. Partial lawsuits can be filed for certain claims.

Increasing the Claim and Rectification

In indefinite debt lawsuits, the claim can be increased, while in partial lawsuits, rectification occurs. Rectification can be done until the investigation is concluded, whereas the claim can be increased even after the investigation phase is completed. The Court of Cassation decisions emphasize the difference between rectification and increasing the claim.

Decisions of the Court of Cassation

The 8th Civil Chamber of the Court of Cassation stated that the plaintiff’s petition to increase the claim in an indefinite debt lawsuit is not of a rectification nature. In an indefinite debt lawsuit, the lawsuit value is determined by completing the missing fee.

Conclusion

An indefinite debt lawsuit allows the creditor to file a lawsuit by specifying the legal relationship when it is impossible to determine the amount of the claim. According to HMK Article 107, the plaintiff can increase the claim result without the prohibition of expanding the claim and without the consent of the other party. The Court of Cassation is of the opinion that severance and notice pay cannot be the subject of an indefinite debt lawsuit.

 

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Conditions of Indefinite Debt Lawsuit

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