Montenegro - annual report 2019

After signing the second work plan, valid until the end of 2021, in regard to the Joint Declaration from 2014: Montenegrin Justice Minister Zoran Pažin and Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection Christine Lambrecht (photo: Reiner Habig, BMJV)
After signing the second work plan, valid until the end of 2021, in regard to the Joint Declaration from 2014: Montenegrin Justice Minister Zoran Pažin and Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection Christine Lambrecht (photo: Reiner Habig, BMJV)

Strategic Framework

Legal Policy Starting Point

Montenegro is pursuing a political and economic reform course within the framework of EU integration and has been in accession negotiations with the EU since June 2012. However, the need for action in terms of legal harmonisation remains high. The country requires special attention due to its acquisition of statehood only a few years ago, as well as in regard to continued EU integration.

A Joint Declaration between the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV) and the Montenegrin Ministry of Justice has existed since 2014. Federal Minister Christine Lambrecht and Deputy Prime Minister Zoran Pažin signed the second work plan in this regard on 14 November 2019.

Overall Concept

Since 2007, IRZ has maintained working relationships with the Ministry of Justice, the Judicial Training Centre within the country‘s Supreme Court, the Constitutional Court, the Special Public Prosecutor’s Office specialised to combat organised crime and corruption, and with academics at the Podgorica Faculty of Law. Cooperation with the Mediation Centre was added in 2019, which in future will be called the Centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution. IRZ was commissioned with practical implementation of the cooperation agreement between the BMJV and the Montenegrin Ministry of Justice. The main priorities of IRZ’s activities in Montenegro are on cooperation with the Constitutional Court and the Judicial Training Centre. Cooperation with the latter is concentrated mainly on issues of civil law, which is rarely addressed by other foreign organisations.

Focus of Activity in 2019

Constitutional Law/Human Rights and their Enforceability

  • Regional conference “Separation of powers and balance between powers“ together with the Montenegrin Constitutional Court in Podgorica
  • Participation of two judges at the Constitutional Court in the regional Constitutional Court Conference on “Freedom of religion in case-law before the Constitutional Court“

Civil and Commercial Law

  • Further training seminar for judges at the Judicial Training Centre in Podgorica on the topic of securities law

Public Law

  • Conference “Financing of political parties and elections: Challenges and solutions“ in cooperation with the non-governmental organisation MANS (Network for Affirmation of the NGO Sector), the EU Delegation and the British Embassy

Administration of Justice

  • Seminar “Alternative dispute resolution, especially mediation, in Germany: Legal principles and practical application“ in cooperation with the Montenegrin Mediation Center
  • Panel discussion “Requirements for lawyers in the 21st century“ in cooperation with the Montenegrin Lawyers Association
  • Working visit by Montenegrin judges to Munich and Wolfsratshausen to address issues of case management in civil cases in cooperation with the Bavarian Association of Judges and the Judicial Training Centre in Podgorica
  • Lecture in the national language on legal education in Germany in cooperation with the faculty of law at the University of Montenegro in Podgorica and the Montenegrin Bar Association
  • Distribution of regional legal publications by IRZ as publisher
  • Provision of literature on German and European law for the faculty of law in Podgorica to accompany the activities

Criminal Law and Penitentiary Law

  • Commencement of work with a permanent advisor to the Montenegrin Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice on issues related to the fight against corruption and organised crime
  • Conference “XIII National Anti-Corruption Conference“ in cooperation with the NGO MANS in Podgorica

Outlook

The successful work of IRZ in Montenegro will continue in 2020 as well. The focus will be on implementing the work plan on the Joint Declaration of the BMJV and the Montenegrin Ministry of Justice as well as on advising the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice Pažin.

Cooperating with the Judicial Training Centre, IRZ will continue to offer joint seminars, which, in particular, will promote the ability of the judiciary to conduct effective proceedings and to apply the law in conformity with European statutes. Cooperation with the Constitutional Court will also continue. In addition, support will be expanded in the area of alternative dispute resolution. Last but not least, IRZ will continue to involve Montenegrin legal professionals in the region, again with a focus on important issues relating to Pre-Accession Assistance to the EU.

 

Montenegro - annual report 2018

Participants in the study visit on judicial negotiations in civil law in the courtroom of the Bavarian Constitutional Court
Participants in the study visit on judicial negotiations in civil law in the courtroom of the Bavarian Constitutional Court

Strategic Framework

Legal Policy Starting Point

Independent since 2006, Montenegro is a young state that pursues a policy of political and economic reform within the framework of EU integration. Montenegro has enjoyed the status of an EU accession candidate since 2010. Accession negotiations commenced in June 2012. Chapters 23 (judiciary and fundamental rights) and 24 (justice, freedom and security) were opened over the course of 2013. Despite this progress, there is still considerable action necessary in regard to legal harmonisation. Montenegro requires particular attention due to its limited human resources, the fact that it did not become an independent state until just a few years ago, as well as in regard to continued EU integration. The country joined NATO in 2017 as yet another step toward convergence with the West.

Overall Concept

The IRZ set up a separate project unit for Montenegro and other partner countries of the Western Balkans in 2007, immediately after the country had gained independence. This soon resulted in the establishment of reliable working relationships with the Ministry of Justice, the Judicial Training Centre within the country‘s Supreme Court, the Constitutional Court, the Special State Prosecutor’s Office to fight organised crime and corruption, and with academics at the Podgorica Faculty of Law. Within the framework of continued development of bilateral relations, a cooperation agreement was signed between the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection and the Montenegrin Ministry of Justice; IRZ was commissioned with practical implementation of this agreement. The IRZ was also represented in the country by a long-term advisor to the Minister of Justice until the end of 2016. The main priorities of the IRZ’s activities in Montenegro are on cooperation with the Constitutional Court and the Centre for Training in Judiciary and State Prosecution. Work with the latter is concentrated mainly on issues of civil law, which is rarely addressed by other foreign organisations.

Foci of Activity in 2018

Constitutional Law/Human Rights and their Enforceability

  • Regional conference “The relationship between constitutional courts and supreme courts“ with the Montenegrin Constitutional Court in Budva
  • Attendance by the President and a judge of the Constitutional Court of Montenegro of the regional conference organised in cooperation with the Serbian Constitutional Court in Belgrade, Serbia, on the topic of “Decisions by the constitutional courts in the area of abstract judicial review as a contribution to promoting the rule of law“
  • Attendance by the President and a judge of the Constitutional Court of Montenegro of the regional conference in the Brčko District, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on the topic of “Tax law in the case-law of constitutional courts“

Civil and Commercial Law

  • Seminars at the Judicial Training Centre in Podgorica on the topics
    • Judicial negotiations in civil cases
    • Residential ownership
    • Breach of contract and its consequences

Administration of Justice

  • Working visit by Montenegrin judges to Munich and Wolfsratshausen to address issues of judicial negotiations in civil cases (in cooperation with the Bavarian Association of Judges).
  • Dissemination of regional legal specialist publications published by the IRZ, in particular the specialist regional journal “Kontinentalno Pravo“ (Continental Law) and “Nova Pravna Revija“ (“New Legal Review“), as well as book publications containing a variety of translations of German laws, each with a technical introduction

Criminal Law and Penitentiary Law

  • Conference “XII National Anti-Corruption Conference“ in cooperation with the NGO MANS in Podgorica

Outlook

The IRZ will continue its successful work in Montenegro during 2019 as well, for instance by organising additional seminars in collaboration with the Judicial Training Centre on application of the law by the judiciary in conformity with European law. Cooperation with the Constitutional Court will also continue. In addition, the IRZ will involve Montenegrin legal experts in its other activities on various topics in the region, whereby this will focus mainly on topics relating to EU Pre-Accession Assistance. The IRZ is also willing to provide support in legislative areas.

 

Montenegro - annual report 2017

Regional conference “Equality before the law in Constitutional Court practice” in Montenegro: Prof. Dr. Udo Steiner, former judge at the German Federal Constitutional Court (on the right); Vesna Ilić Prelić, President of the Constitutional Court of Serbia; Dr. Dragoljub Drašković, President of the Constitutional Court of Montenegro (4th and 5 th from right)
Regional conference “Equality before the law in Constitutional Court practice” in Montenegro: Prof. Dr. Udo Steiner, former judge at the German Federal Constitutional Court (on the right); Vesna Ilić Prelić, President of the Constitutional Court of Serbia; Dr. Dragoljub Drašković, President of the Constitutional Court of Montenegro (4th and 5 th from right)

Legal Policy Situation

Montenegro, which has been independent since 2006, is a young state pursuing a course of political and economic reform in a context of EU integration. In 2010, Montenegro was granted official EU-candidate status. Accession negotiations with the EU commenced in June 2012. Chapters 23 (justice and fundamental rights) and 24 (justice, freedom and security) were opened in the course of 2013. Despite this progress, there is still considerable need for action on legal harmonisation. Montenegro, which only has limited staff resources, requires particular attention because it only became an independent state a few years ago, but also with a view to further EU integration.

Overall Concept

In 2007, immediately after the independence of the country, and in the subsequent period, the IRZ established and intensified working relations with the Ministry of Justice, the country’s Judicial Training Centre, which is attached to the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Court, the special Public Prosecutor’s Offices to fight organised crime and corruption, and with academics at the Podgorica Faculty of Law. As part of developing bilateral relations further, a cooperation agreement was signed between the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection and the Montenegrin Ministry of Justice, with the IRZ being commissioned with the practical implementation. The IRZ was also represented in the country by a long-term advisor to the Minister of Justice until the end of 2016. Therefore, the IRZ has excellent connections in Montenegro. The main focus of the IRZ’s activities in Montenegro currently lies on the cooperation with the Constitutional Court and the Judicial Training Centre. Work with the latter mainly concentrates on the field of civil law, which is rarely addressed by other foreign organisations.

Foci of Activity 2017

Constitutional Law/Human Rights and their Enforceability

  • Regional conference “Equality before the law in Constitutional Court practice”, organised in cooperation with the Montenegrin Constitutional Court in Budva
  • Participation by the President of the Montenegrin Constitutional Court and another judge in the conference on “Constitutional court protection in criminal law”, co-organised by the IRZ and the Serbian Constitutional Court in Zlatibor, Serbia
  • Participation by the President of the Montenegrin Constitutional Court and another judge at the regional Constitutional Court in the conference on the topic of “Theory and practice of the independence of constitutional courts”, in Jahorina, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Civil and Commercial Law

  • Seminar at the Judicial Training Centre in Podgorica on the topic of enforcement law
  • Printing of the translation of the German Commercial Code (HGB), Podgorica
  • Dissemination of regional legal specialist publications published by the IRZ, in particular the specialist regional journal “Nova Pravna Revija” (“New Legal Review”)

Public Law

  • Seminar at the Judicial Training Centre in Podgorica on the topic of state liability law

Administration of Justice

  • Conference “Presenting the opinions No. 4, 9, 11 of the Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE)”, in cooperation with the Judicial Training Centre in Podgorica

Criminal Law and Penitentiary Law

  • Conference on the topic of “The fight against corruption”, in cooperation with the non-governmental organisation MANS in Podgorica

Outlook

The IRZ will keep up its successful work in Montenegro also in 2018. For instance, it will be offering further seminars together with the Judicial Training Centre. The cooperation with the Constitutional Court, will be continued as well. In addition, the IRZ will involve Montenegrin legal experts in its other activities on various topics in the region.