- Published: July 15, 2019
Legal Policy Starting Point
A large number of reforms have been initiated in Nepal since the Constitution was passed in September 2015 following a prolonged debate. Facing the significant number of approx. 100 ethnic groups and around 50 languages, the political culture is characterised by painstaking negotiations and complex procedures. A new parliament was elected at the end of 2017, leading to the formation of a new government during the reporting period. Its relatively stable majority promises a longer period in office than has been the case in the past.
Successful implementation of the provincial and local elections, which brought progress to the plans for local administrative structures, made an important contribution to implementing the federal state structure required by constitutional law. The parliament took an important step towards affording the fundamental, constitutional rights by passing the necessary sub-constitutional legislation on time within the three-year period after the Constitution entered into force. Important aspects in this process were the introduction of a Civil Code, a Criminal Code and a Code of Criminal Procedure to replace the Muluki Ain – a complex code of civil and criminal law that has been in place for more than 55 years.
Funded by the Federal Foreign Office, the project to strengthen rule of law and democracy continued in 2018. Cooperation with the Nepalese partner, the Nepal Law Society, focused on training courses for judges and other legal practitioners based on a programme that was jointly developed by Nepalese and German judges. The issues addressed in this context were the mechanisms applied in constitutional disputes, the independence and credibility of the judiciary and the role of courts of higher instance in the assertion of fundamental rights.
The events were held in two blocks in Kathmandu, Biratnagar, Janakpur, Pokhara and Nepalgunj. Besides the German experts the speakers included a number of judges from the Supreme Court of Nepal. Judges from the courts of first and second instance took part in the events. There was significant interest in a comparative presentation of German law, especially in issues of federalism and the independence of the judiciary. The lively discussion of these individual topics during the events reflects the challenges inherent to the current process of transformation and transition. The purpose of sharing views was also to promote necessary acceptance for the reforms.
In addition, the IRZ joined with the Nepal Law Society to organise a workshop for judges, public prosecutors and police officers on the implications of constitutional law for criminal law. The main focus in this regard was on how the various stakeholders interact and respect fundamental rights during the individual phases of a criminal procedure in accordance with the principles of rule of law.
Foci of Activity in 2018
Administration of Justice
- Training courses for judges in Kathmandu, Biratnagar, Janakpur, Pokhara and Nepalgunj on the role of the judiciary in view of the implications of constitutional law
- Workshop on how to apply the new provisions of substantive and procedural criminal law with due consideration of the principles of constitutional law
New approaches to continue the counselling will be discussed following completion of the ongoing project to implement the Nepalese Constitution.