Five-day seminar on corporate and commercial law for Arabic-speaking refugees from a legal background

Graphics: IRZ
Graphics: IRZ
Multilateral

From 9 to 13 November 2020, a five-day seminar on corporate and commercial law took place as part of an internship programme for Arabic-speaking refugee legal experts from Syria and Iraq. The event was financed by the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV).

Head of Section Sidi Mohamed Khairy, opened the online seminar and welcomed the participants on behalf of IRZ. He said that the programme of lectures should teach them about the basics of corporate and commercial law in Germany and allow them to broaden the knowledge they had already acquired. The participants will also complete a two-week internship during November and December 2020 at a selected law firm or commercial enterprise, which should allow them to gain an insight into practical work, develop a network and make it easier for them to find work in the German employment market.

All the participants have completed studies in their home countries and some of them have already worked as lawyers at home. Some of them have also studied at a German university and completed a Master of Laws (LL.M.).

IRZ appointed the following experts to take part in the online event:

  • Dr. Oliver Böttcher, Tim Remmel and Dr. Verena Hoene, lawyers at the Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek law firm in Cologne
  • Prof. Dr. Markus Gehrlein, a judge at the German Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe

The participants learned about the following main topics:

  • Corporate law: the formation of companies, joint venture agreements, liquidation of companies
  • Business acquisition agreements
  • Shareholder loans
  • Insolvency law
  • Liabilities of tax consultants and lawyers
  • Distribution rights and competition law
  • Industrial property rights

The participants made the most of the lectures to have lively discussions and an intense exchange of experiences with the experts. Following the success of the events held so far, IRZ plans to continue the project with Arabic-speaking refugees from a legal background in 2021.

Fifth seminar for Arabic-speaking refugees from a legal background

Graphics: IRZ
Graphics: IRZ
Multilateral

From 13 to 17 July 2020, IRZ organised its fifth “Introduction to German law” seminar for Arabic-speaking refugees from a legal background. Over the five days of the seminar, the thirty participants learned about the basics of the German legal system. As well as graduate law students from Syria and Iraq, lawyers with professional experience and accreditation in their home countries also took part in the seminar. The speakers at the seminar were Uwe Stark, a judge at the Local Court of Siegen, Dr. Arnd Weishaupt, a judge at the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf, and lawyer Jens Dieckmann.

The main topics discussed at the event were:

  • an introduction to state administration law
  • an introduction to the German system for protecting fundamental rights
  • an introduction to the German legal and court system
  • the basics of the right to residency and asylum in Germany
  • the basics of criminal law and criminal procedure law, with case examples
  • the basics of civil law and civil procedure law, with case examples

As well as lectures and discussions on the above topics, there was also a visit to the Regional Court of Bonn, including a court hearing, during the seminar. A representative from the Law Faculty at the University of Bonn also held talks with the participants and told them about opportunities for foreign students to study at the university.

The seminar concept

The aim of this event is for participants to learn about the structure of the German legal system and about German constitutional, criminal and civil law. The focus is on using case examples to shed light on German legal practice and to relate to the everyday experiences of refugees. Discussing case examples is an important part of the seminar concept, since these talks always lead to plenty of questions by interested participants. These animated exchanges encourage the integration of the refugees into German society and enhance their understanding of legal issues.

Fourth seminar for Arabic speaking law professionals

On 16 and 17 December 2019, the IRZ organised its fourth successive “Introduction to German law” seminar for Arabic-speaking law professionals and lawyers from Syria and Iraq. The aim of this series of events is for participants to learn about the structure of the German court system and about German criminal and civil law. The focus was on using illustrative case examples to shed light both on German legal practice and on the interplay between various judicial authorities, as well as on referring to the everyday experiences of the refugees and discussing these together. This not only led to animated exchanges and plenty of interesting questions, it also encourages the integration of refugees into German society and enhances their understanding of legal issues. The Syrian law professionals were frequently able to draw parallels between the German and Syrian or Iraqi legal systems.

The seminar was led by the experienced judges Uwe Stark, a judge at the Local Court of Siegen, and Dr. Arndt Weishaupt, a judge at the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf.

Although there are limited prospects for refugees from a legal background to gain a foothold in the legal profession in Germany, the seminar provides them with the possibility of expanding on the knowledge gained in their home countries and address the similarities and differences between the two legal systems.

The seminar was financed by the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV).