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Launched last year, the series of seminars in Albania on constitutional complaints continued on 4 and 5 December 2019. Having held the first three seminars in Tirana and Durrës in the centre of the country, the IRZ organised the fourth seminar in partnership with the Bar Association of Albania in the southern Albanian city of Korça. The background for these seminars is the amendment of the constitution in 2016 and the associated right of citizens to be able to go directly to the Constitutional Court with individual complaints.
The basis for the seminar was the IRZ publication, “Constitutional complaints – a handbook for practitioners from the German and Albanian points of view” issued in 2017, which was written by the speaker at the seminar, Professor Dr. Jan Bergmann, President of the Senate at the Administrative Court of Baden-Württemberg, and his co-author, Dr. Arta Vorpsi, a scientific officer of the Constitutional Court.
On the first day of the seminar, Prof. Bergmann talked about the European human rights dogmatics and test schemes for rights to freedom and fundamental rights, as well as the fundamental right to equality On the following day, he explained to the 19 lawyers attending the event the conditions of admissibility of constitutional complaints in Germany, noted a few of the specific problems associated with this and closed the seminar with a lecture on the current case law of the European Court of Human Rights.
Even though the Constitutional Court of Albania is currently not quorate, Prof. Bergmann encouraged the lawyers to submit suitable cases to help with the continuous further development of the Albanian legal system. He recommended that they refer not only to the Albanian constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights in the complaints, but in view of future EU membership, they should also cite the EU Charter.
Now that the IRZ has covered the subject of constitutional complaints in the middle of the country and in the south-east, a continuation of the series of seminars in Shkodra, the main city in the north of the country, is being considered.
Albania has traditionally been a transit country for asylum seekers on their way into the EU. Last year, however, an estimated 1% of the refugees were prepared to stay in the country, which led to a 14-fold increase in the number of asylum applications compared with 2017. This means that asylum legislation is playing an increasingly important role in Albania. With this in mind, the IRZ organised a seminar together with the School of Magistrates in Tirana. The seminar took place on 8 and 9 October 2019 and was attended by 18 public prosecutors and judges.
The expert taking part on behalf of the IRZ was Wolfgang Bartsch, a former President of the Administrative Court of Braunschweig. He gave a lecture on the following topics:
An introduction to the activities of the administrative judge in Germany,
an overview of current developments in the asylum process in Europe and Germany and
an overview of the Common European Asylum system and its implementation.
The main part of the seminar was devoted to a Moot Court involving the case of an Afghan family, which was handled by the Administrative Court of Braunschweig in 2017. Wolfgang Bartsch began by introducing the case and then assigned roles to the participants, who played the part of lawyers, public prosecutors and judges. The participants were given time to prepare in groups before the hearing and pronouncement of the judgement. Following on from the Moot Court, the IRZ expert gave the participants feedback and compared the case to the original judgement.
The seminar was rounded off by Manjola Bejleri and Idlir Peci from the School of Magistrates. Their subjects for discussion were:
An overview of the Albanian asylum law system and procedure,
the status of reform discussions in the light of regulation 121/2014,
ways of granting legal protection to asylum seekers in Albania and
asylum law in the European Convention on Human Rights.
If possible, this subject should be addressed in more detail over the coming year.
First introduced as an independent branch of the court system in 2012, Albanian administrative jurisdiction is still the subject of many discussions concerning its differentiation from other jurisdictions. Within this context, the IRZ and the School of Magistrates organised a seminar on the interdependence between administrative and civil jurisdiction, which took place on 26 and 27 September 2019. This event was aimed at:
public prosecutors and
At the start of the seminar, Lindita Sinanaj and Florian Kalaja from the School of Magistrates gave an introduction to Albanian administrative jurisdiction and explained the distinction between this and ordinary jurisdiction. The IRZ expert Klaus Hage, Presiding Judge at the Administrative Court of Minden, compared this with the German legal system and covered the following points concerning the differentiation between the different jurisdictions:
ordinary jurisdiction as opposed to special jurisdiction,
definition of public legal disputes and
legal basis: the powers of the German Federal Administrative Court over administrative courts of appeal and administrative courts of first instance.
Klaus Hage then went on to explain German administrative jurisdiction in more detail, by giving the 18 participants a deeper insight into the decision-making bodies and the transfer of the legal dispute to the individual judge, as well as the stages of appeal and the approval process. Lindita Sinanaj and Florian Kalaja closed the first day of the seminar with a presentation of Albanian cases of legal disputes concerning management agreements and legal jurisdiction in approval claims.
On the following day, Klaus Hage presented the influences of European law on German administrative jurisdiction, focussing on the following points, amongst others:
primary and secondary EU legislation,
enforcement of EU law by national authorities and
legal protection against EU legislative measures.
Once he had completed this group of subjects by giving case examples, for which the participants had to compare German with EU law, the Albanian experts rounded off the seminar with a lecture on the limits of ordinary jurisdiction and of the administrative court in disputes concerning normative acts.