The Georgian Ambassador Prof. Dr. Lado Chanturia, during his welcome speech at the opening of the event. On the panel: Prof. Dr. Rolf Knieper, Prof. Dr. Nino Gvenetadze, Interpreter Zaal Andronikaschwili (from left to right)
The Georgian Ambassador Prof. Dr. Lado Chanturia, during his welcome speech at the opening of the event. On the panel: Prof. Dr. Rolf Knieper, Prof. Dr. Nino Gvenetadze, Interpreter Zaal Andronikaschwili (from left to right)

To mark the 30th anniversary of the Bremen Law Society and the 25th anniversary of the legal cooperation between Germany and Georgia, a panel discussion took place at Bremen City Hall on 12 September 2017. The topics of discussions were legal cooperation in general and the advisory role in Georgia played by the IRZ and other organisations in particular.

The first concrete steps towards legal and judicial reform in Georgia were taken in 1992 by a group of professors at the University of Bremen, who began working closely with Georgian legal experts, initially in civil and public law. This developed into fundamental advice provided by the Germans on the revised version of Georgian civil law and the development of a system for administrative law.

Since then, relations between representatives of the University of Bremen, the justice system in Bremen and their Georgian partners have always been at the centre of the cooperation – even though several other law schools in Germany and practitioners from many other German towns and cities have since become involved.

On the panel, Professors Rolf Knieper and Gerd Winter, who have been advisors since the start, held discussions with Ellen Best, Vice-President of the local court in Bremen and Dr. Thomas Meyer from the GIZ. The Georgian perspective was put across by Prof. Nino Gvenetadze, President of the Supreme Court of Georgia, who as a professor of criminal law was involved in the process for reforming the Georgian justice system. In her current position, she attaches great importance to the close partnership with German colleagues, which the IRZ, amongst others, continues to support.

The participants in the discussions, which were hosted by Stefan Pulß from Radio Bremen, provided an insight into the adverse circumstances surrounding the start of the consultancy and discussed the pros and cons of legal reform efforts in politically fragile situations. The issue of the impact of long-term reforms and the associated sustainability of this kind of consultancy was also raised.

The event was opened by State Councillor Jörg Schulz, Senator for Justice and the Constitution, and by the Georgian Ambassador, Prof. Dr. Lado Chanturia. As a Professor of Civil Law in Georgia, the latter played a crucial role in the reforms and has since worked closely with academics in Bremen.