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On 27 and 28 May 2019 the IRZ, in cooperation with the Centre for Education of Judges and Public Prosecutors of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzgovina (CEST BiH), organised a two-day event on the topics “Preparation of judges for the court hearing” and “Conduct of court hearings and delivery of judgements”. The local co-speaker was Adnan Baručija, Judge at the Cantonal Court in Zenica. Andrea Titz, Director of the Local Court of Wolfratshausen and President of the Bavarian Association of Judges, attended the event as IRZ expert.
The event dealt with the similarities and differences in procedural law in Germany and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The approximation of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s civil procedure law to the German regulations was also addressed using the example of the revised version of Article 7 of the Code of Civil Procedure of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which now also provides for the principle of producing evidence.
Another topic which was covered in detail was that civil courts were obliged to contribute to settlements to expedite proceedings. The focus of the discussions was therefore on the question in which areas it was justified to speak of the guiding principle of a passive or active law. Comparing the two countries, however, it also became clear that a revision of the procedural law alone would not lead to an acceleration of proceedings, as there are other factors which play a major role here: These are, amongst others, the different mentalities of the judges, the parties or the law concerning lawyer’s fees.
On 26 February 2019, an event on “Collective legal protection in the legislation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in light of EU Law (consumer protection and non-discrimination)” was held in partnership with the IRZ at the Centre for Education of Judges and Prosecutors of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The main speaker at the event was Professor Dr. Zlatan Meskic, who completed his legal training at the University of Vienna, where he wrote his thesis on “European Consumer Legislation, with a particular Focus on the 2007 Green Paper”.
This allowed him to compare European regulations with national legislation, as well with the jurisdiction of national courts and of the Competition Council, which is responsible for various complaints from associations. The lively discussions, which followed on from the introductory presentations on various sub-topics, focussed on protection against unreasonable general contract terms and collective legal protection in consumer rights. The latter should have been improved by the 2015 reform to the code of civil procedure, involving the introduction of a “claim to protect collective interests (article 453 a to h) to the code of civil procedure for the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In practice, however, there are still various shortcomings in the implementation of these reforms. These range from a lack of knowledge amongst judges of the consumer protection legislation to insufficient legal provisions and a lack of organisational prerequisites, such as a register for consumer complaints.
At the start of the event, the former President and current Vice-President of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mirsad Ćeman, also presented his book on an “Introduction to the Reasons given for Court Decisions”. According to the author, this is one of the few works in the region, which is devoted to this important, but often neglected, topic. With this book, Mirsad Ćeman wants to contribute towards improving the quality of reasons given for court decisions in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and beyond.
On 29 January 2019, an award ceremony was held at the Faculty of Law in Sarajevo for the third generation of graduates from the German-language supplementary course in German law. The setting for the presentation was an event on the influence of German law on the law of Bosnia and Herzegovina and on issues concerning the translation of the law from German into Bosnian and vice-versa.
The event was opened by the Vice Dean for International Cooperation, Prof. Dr. Zinka Grbo, who also presented an overview of the various activities that have taken place throughout the almost 20-year partnership between the Faculty and the IRZ. Afterwards, Christian Sedat, representing the German Ambassador Christine Hohmann, gave a welcome speech on the significance and sustainability of support for the training of future law professionals. He also said that the graduates of the supplementary course are special ambassadors for the cooperation between Germany and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The specialist tutor for the supplementary course, Professor Dr. Meliha Povlakic, then gave a lecture on the influence of German law on the law of Bosnia and Herzegovina. She started by pointing out that previous graduates of the programme have reported on the considerable advantages it has given them when applying for jobs. With regard to the influence of German law on that of Bosnia and Herzegovina, she stressed that this was subject to economic fluctuations. She also expressed her regret that reform measures, which were clearly oriented towards German law, had subsequently been reversed. She talked about a “circulation of legal models” in this context.
In the subsequent lecture on “Selected problems with translation in the field of law”, Dr. Stefan Pürner, IRZ Head of Section for Bosnia and Herzegovina and other countries, pointed out that German source language texts should be prioritised over English for the translation of EU legal texts into the Bosnian language. The reason for this, he said, is that Germany and Bosnia and Herzegovina are more compatible in terms of both the legal system and the language, compared with the English language and Common Law. As such, it is an advantage for aspiring law professionals from Bosnia and Herzegovina to learn the German language.
The main focus of the event was on the progress report given by Kanita Purscanovic, a graduate of the supplementary course, who now works as an assistant in a criminal law department. She presented the study course, the additional knowledge gained as a result and the joint events with students from other succession states of former Yugoslavia.
At the event, the considerable practical advantages of the “IRZ German law library at the Faculty of Law in Sarajevo”, which was set up thanks to a generous financial contribution from the German Insurance Association (Gesamtverband der Deutschen Versicherungswirtschaft or GDV), were highlighted once again.
The curriculum for this additional course was inspired by expert knowledge gained from the supplementary course on Eastern European Law at the University of Regensburg, which was developed by Prof. Dr. Dres. h.c. Friedrich-Christian Schroeder. Professor Schroeder is the Scientific Director at the Munich Institute for Eastern European Law based in Regensburg (IOR), with which the IRZ has a close working relationship.