- Published: June 3, 2014
Legal Research Methodology for Georgia – Training of Trainers in Tbilisi
Major premise, definition, subsumption, result – the application of this structure and writing style of a legal opinion has been expected for decades from every German law student in the exam papers as of the first semester. The universities in Georgia do not prescribe a uniform methodology of solving legal cases, and so this is also unknown territory for most practitioners. Georgia's young case law in civil, criminal and administrative law is geared to the German law system which is characterised by a broad scientific discussion and historically grown interpretation methods in Germany. In Georgia, both is about to evolve.
As early as from 2011 on, Georgian and German law experts from science and practice have been working on a research methodology for Georgia in cooperation with the Georgian Young Lawyers' Association (GYLA), GIZ in Tbilisi und IRZ, and have compiled their results in a hand-out for each field of law. This groundwork was used as the basis for organising a training week in Tbilisi from 8 to 12 September 2013. There, life was breathed into the fundamentals of case-solving technique drafted in theory.
From the German side, the two trainers Dr. Rainer Deville, judge at the Higher Regional Court of Dusseldorf, and Mr. Stefan Koroch, member of the research staff at the University of Bonn, assisted the Georgian participants in civil law with support and case studies. The parallel training sessions covering administrative law and criminal law were chaired by Mr. Gerrit Hellmuth Stumpf, another member of the research staff at the University of Bonn, and Dr. Martin Piazena, programme coordinator and lecturer at Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University.
The training sessions scheduled as a pilot project were attended by up to five Georgian professors and judges each, who have made the project a full success with their outstanding commitment and interest in the case-solving methodology. They were tirelessly delving into the solutions in accordance with the Georgian law in small groups – always applying the scheme of the case-solving methodology, assisted by the German experts. In this process, the joint interest not only in internalising the structure and writing style of a legal opinion themselves but also in learning from the trainers' experience gained in imparting the methodology to the students was obvious, with case solutions being simulated and various kinds of marking exam papers being discussed.
The application of the structure and writing style of a legal opinion is still far from being compulsory in the syllabi of the Georgian universities. Due to the huge interest of the Georgian lecturers in this training, it can be expected, however, that a group is evolving which is convinced of this doctrine and wishes to pass it on to the next generation. Therefore there are many reasons to believe that the project has proved a success and should be continued. As the German law experts know best, the structure and writing style of a legal opinion can only become a matter of course by constant repetition also in Georgia.