Visit to the Ministry for Federalism and Local Development:  Dr. Matthias Hartwig, Sieglinde von Wasielewski and Angela Schmeink, IRZ; Mohan Gurung, Secretary of State; Dr. Hari Paudel, Joint Secretary (from left to right)

Visit to the Ministry for Federalism and Local Development: Dr. Matthias Hartwig, Sieglinde von Wasielewski and Angela Schmeink, IRZ; Mohan Gurung, Secretary of State; Dr. Hari Paudel, Joint Secretary (from left to right)

Strategic Framework

Legal Policy Starting Point

Since the Constitution was passed in 2015, the Government of Nepal has endeavoured to implement the constitutional law stipulations into the rule of law and the judiciary. The Constitution provides for a federal state structure which constitutes a considerable challenge for Nepal as a former kingdom and creates a significant requirement for new legislation in central areas of the law.

Significant new developments relate to the newly created status as a secular state, nationality law, the judicial system and inclusion. The reform process regularly comes to a standstill due to various political conflicts, in particular because members of ethnic minorities do not consider their protection to be sufficiently safeguarded in the constitutional law provisions. At the start of 2016, the Constitution was amended by providing a certain number of parliamentary seats for representatives of the Terai and establishing consideration for ethnic groups in the configuration of electoral districts and access to the civil service. However, tensions in the country still continue. Further constitutional law modifications are in discussion.

Overall Concept

The IRZ has been advising Nepalese partners from the judicial field since 2012 and realised a consultancy project on the process of constitutional legislation in recent years with funding from the German Federal Foreign Office. A subsequent project was initiated to support the strengthening of the rule of law and democracy in the implementation of the new Constitution which is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office and started in April 2016 for a term of two years. The local project partner is the Nepal Law Society, a charitable, independent non-governmental organisation dedicated to the rule of law, an independent judiciary, human rights, the promotion of women and minorities, as well as decentralisation and the development of local self-administration. Together with this partner, the IRZ organises measures for the exchange of experts between German and Nepalese lawyers in order to discuss different legislation projects for the implementation of the constitutional law stipulations. In addition, further training measures are intended for different parties applying the law in the judiciary, the sphere of justice, the parliaments, the government structure and the ministries in Kathmandu and in various rural regions.

The project started with the constituting meeting of the “Advisory Committee” in April in Kathmandu, which views itself as the body for the conceptual and political steering of the project. This Committee comprises high-ranking representatives from different institutions which play an important role in the implementation of the constitutional law stipulations, e.g. parliamentarians of various parties or the management level of the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Federalism.

Once the sets of rules which came into question had been identified and conceived by the Nepalese side, initial expert consultations took place in early August 2016 in Kathmandu. In the course of this mission, two German lawyers, the IRZ and various Nepalese experts worked on specific draft legislation. This related to the establishment of a national commission for the allocation of resources and finance, as well as regulations on local self-administration. The discussions revealed the need for clarification on legal policy ideas with regard to the federal structure. In a later project phase, the exchange amongst experts was continued. In addition, legislative projects for local self-administration at the provincial and local council level were identified as potential project areas.

Strategic reform programmes have been implemented in Nepal for several years now in order to develop the judicial system into an independent, competent and efficient system that is accessible to citizens. In this context, the IRZ provided support for a study trip for an international exchange on „best practice” in the course of the bilateral cooperation, during which representatives of the Nepalese Supreme Court visited the USA, France, Great Britain and Germany. In Berlin, Nepalese judges raised current issues on the judicial and federalism reforms in discussions at the Bundesrat and the Berlin Higher Regional Court.

In 2016, the IRZ organised an internship programme in English for civil judges and commercial judges for members of its partner states for the first time. Two judges from Nepal successfully completed this programme.

Foci of Activity 2016

Civil and Commercial Law

  • Participation by two judges in the IRZ’s internship programme for civil judges and commercial judges in English

Public Law

  • Constitutive meeting of the “Advisory Committee” in the project for the implementation of the Nepalese Constitution in Kathmandu
  • Specialist discussions in Kathmandu with key persons from Parliament, the ministries and the courts on project topics
  • Expert consultations in Kathmandu on the allocation of resources and finance as well as on rules for local self-administration
  • Study trip by a delegation from the Supreme Court to the USA, France, Great Britain and Berlin on „best practice” in the judicial systems with the support of the IRZ

Outlook

The current project for the implementation of the Nepalese Constitution will be continued until 2018. This includes advice on further legislation projects and the further training of legal practitioners at central and local levels in order to deepen their knowledge of the new regulations which are relevant for their own work.

Download the entire IRZ annual report in PDF format here: annual report 2016.