Provisional Article 5 of the Cheque Law No. 5941 published in the Official Gazette No. 27438 dated 20 December 2009 (“Cheque Law”) has been amended by Law No. 7333 Regarding the Amendment to Certain Laws and Statutory Decrees published in the Official Gazette No. 31551 dated 28 July 2021 (“Amendment”). The Cheque Law covers the procedural conditions for cheques issued by banks, and their obligations, the crime of causing a cheque to be dishonored and its consequences, and other criminal liabilities arising from issuing cheques.
You can read the Amendment here. (Available in Turkish only).
According to Article 5 of the Cheque Law, causing a cheque to be dishonored is subject to a judicial fine up to 1500 days provided that such a judicial fine is not less than the dishonored amount of the cheque. In cases where the dishonored amount is more than the judicial fine determined by the court, the amount in question will be imposed as a judicial fine. Additionally, the daily amount of the judicial fine will be at least TRY 20 and at most TRY 100 and will be determined by the court on the basis of the personal and economic conditions of the offender(s).
The court also rules that anyone causing a cheque to be dishonored is prohibited from issuing cheques and opening a cheque account. Anyone subject to this prohibition cannot join the governing bodies of companies as a board member or manager until the removal of this prohibition.
Provisional Article 5 of the Cheque Law, which is subject to the Amendment, stipulates that the execution of the judgment regarding the crime of causing a cheque to be dishonored will cease. Additionally, the article regulates that in cases where an offender pays one-tenth of the unpaid amount of the dishonored cheque in advance and the remaining amount in fifteen equal installments at intervals of two months, the judgment, and its consequences will be removed. In cases where an advance payment or any two of the installments are not paid, the execution of the court's judgment will continue.
What Has Changed?
According to the Amendment, the following changes have been made:
- While the Provisional Article legislated for crimes committed before March 24, 2020, the Amendment has extended this date to April 30, 2021. The crime is deemed to have occurred when a bank dishonors a transaction. Therefore, Provisional Article 5 may be applied, and the court can impose imprisonment for dishonored transactions in cases where banks have stamp cheques as dishonored up until April 30, 2021.
- While an offender had to pay onetenth of the unpaid amount of a dishonored cheque in advance within one year of the date of their release, the amendment has altered this to June 30, 2022. Following the Amendment, the offender must pay the advance payment before June 30, 2022.
- Courts can apply the mechanism to crimes committed before March 24, 2020, in trials that are ongoing.
With the Amendment, the mechanism of removing all legal consequences of the said crime by making payments in accordance with the payment plan set forth in the Cheque Law continues to apply.