Orientation of international legal cooperation

Since its establishment, the IRZ has been providing sustainable consultation to its partner states in the reform of their legal systems as well as their judiciary, as commissioned by the Federal Government and the Federal Ministry of Justice in particular. The IRZ is furthermore active within the framework of third-party funded projects, e.g. of the EU, the Federal Foreign Office and many others.

The rule of law and democratisation in all respects are a prerequisite and guarantee for protecting fundamental freedoms, strengthening stable governmental and social structures and stimulating economic growth. The German law has a model function in many respects – the IRZ conveys this function with know-how and a great deal of experience.

Conceptual orientation of IRZ

Constitution, fundamental rights and their enforceability

The respect and efficient protection of human rights are the guidelines for a sustainable promotion of the rule of law; reinforcing them is a comprehensive task forming the basis for the IRZ's work in all spheres of international legal cooperation. Stable constitutions provide for a democratic structure of a state based on the rule of law including a system of checks and balances - these are in the focus of our work.

Rule of law and justice

Our work also focuses on the establishment and strengthening of a judicial system in line with European standards:

  • an independent judiciary including the possibility of controlling government actions
  • a judicial system in which rights are not only granted but can also be enforced
  • European legal standards in line with the ECHR case-law with its implications for the national legislation and the application of the law

Thus, our consultations do not only focus on court constitutions but also on all codes of procedure as well as the law on enforcement. To ensure that a new law as well as new legal standards are implemented, we specialise in particular in the basic and further training of judges, public prosecutors, lawyers and notaries.

Civil and commercial law

The German law has a model function especially in the civil and commercial law as a long-proven system harmonised with the European law. The civil and commercial laws of many of our partner states can be traced back to Continental European origins and have comparable systematic relations. The consultation offered by the IRZ can prevent inconsistent and incoherent legal systems and consequently legal uncertainty, above all in the economies of our partner countries. We aim at the establishment and extension of a stable legal system oriented at market-economy principles in line with social civil and commercial law standards providing a reliable legal framework not only for national economies but also for cross-border economic relations.

Public law

Public law is of particular importance for the consultation activities of the IRZ. It is still new to the partner states that government actions can be controlled by the courts. Basic groundwork needs to be provided in many of the partner states especially in this field. Insofar, both the system of protection under the German administrative law and the administrative procedure law are exemplary for many partners and have a model function. Furthermore, the public law context for entrepreneurial activities is of importance.

Criminal law

Another focus of our activities, under rule of law and human rights aspects, is the cooperation in criminal law. In this field, our consultations cover criminal procedure law, substantive criminal law and the penitentiary system. Finally, consultations and events dealing with the fight against corruption are another important aspect of our work.

European law

In recent years, the issue of the harmonisation of national law with European law has increasingly become an additional conceptual focus of our work. The partner countries of the IRZ are the new EU Member States, the states with Association Agreements as well as states where Association Agreements are being negotiated. Our consultation also covers the implementation of Supreme Court rulings in national law and in case-law. The European Convention on Human Rights and the standards of the Council of Europe are also an important component of our cooperation with the partner states.


We promote the consolidation of rule of law structures in close and trust-based coordination with the respective institutions in the partner countries by means of

  • projects on legislative consultation
  • projects on basic and further training
  • projects on institution building

The IRZ develops and organises for instance conferences, workshops, seminars, internship visits, expert talks as well as working visits, thus covering a wide range of target groups.

Geographic orientation

Differences in law history, law culture, law sociology as well as differentiated domestic and international political backgrounds have to be taken into account in the project work in the particular partner countries. The contents and the implementation of the individual projects are substantially governed and influenced by this initial situation; insofar, it is expedient to classify the partner countries into regional country groups. Cross-border activities are increasingly implemented, aiming to support synergies, where this is suitable.

  • New EU Member States since 2004: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary
  • New EU Member States since 2007: Bulgaria, Romania/ New EU Member State since 2013: Croatia
  • Accession candidates in South Eastern Europe: Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey
  • Other states in South Eastern Europe: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo
  • New "Eastern Partnership": Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine
  • Russian Federation
  • Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tadzhikistan
  • Vietnam
  • Further regional perspectives (Middle East): Iraq, Jordan
  • North-Africa: Egypt, Tunesia
  • Regional and multilateral activities

There are also many regional and multilateral activities. For the present work of the IRZ please see the information on this website.