- Published: May 18, 2016
On 2 and 3 May 2016, expert discussions were held with the Jordanian Court of Cassation in Amman on the role of research staff in the preparation of cases. This exchange of experiences was led by two researchers at the German Federal Court of Justice, who were appointed as experts by the IRZ. It was based on cooperation talks with the Court of Cassation in Amman in December 2015 and it was the first joint event to be held between the IRZ and the Jordanian Court of Cassation as part of project work in Jordan. On the Jordanian side, judges from the Jordanian Court of Cassation and the department of research staff at the Court of Cassation (known as the Technical Office) took part in the expert talks. As well as Director Mohammad Shamout and his four colleagues, other employees (Research Assistants and Legal Assistants) were also present. The Presidents of the three Courts of Appeal in Jordan, located in Amman, Irbid and Ma'an, also took part in the conference.
The intense discussions focussed on differences in the organisation of groundwork carried out by research staff. The Technical Office of the Jordanian Court of Cassation only works on more in-depth substantive legal reviews at the request of the Senate. A detailed expert opinion is provided, which has generally been processed initially by several research staff and is then discussed by the four legal members of the Technical Office and their head, a judge at the Court of Cassation. The research staff at the German Federal Court of Justice, on the other hand, work for the respective rapporteurs directly on the instructions of the Chairman of the Senate. The Jordanian contingent was surprised that, in spite of their allocation to a certain senate, no prior knowledge of the relevant specialist field for that specific senate was required and that they each only carried out their work for the senate for a period of three years.
There was a general consensus about the fact that in both legal systems, the preliminary work carried out by research staff only serves to support the Senates and it has no binding effect whatsoever. Following on from a presentation of gender distribution amongst research staff and judges at the German Federal Court of Justice, the questions from the Jordanian participants also concerned the number of women working in the German legal system.
As well as these questions, which were closely linked with the subject of the conference, the Jordanian participants, particularly the Presidents of the three Courts of Appeal, were also interested in issues concerning access to appeal, to arrangements for legal fees and costs and the right to legal aid.
Due to the high demand for information on the part of the Jordanian participants, their involvement in the discussions was extremely lively. The Director of the Technical Office and Judge at the Court of Cassation, Mohammad Shamout, who chaired the meeting, also expressly encouraged non-legal members of the Technical Office to participate actively in the discussions. All those involved made the most of this opportunity. Staff working at the Technical Office were involved in the discussions to the same extent as the participating judges from the Court of Cassation and the Presidents of the Courts of Appeal. At the end of the meeting, Judge Mohammad Shamout expressed the considerable requirement for further events held jointly with the IRZ.