Delegation from the Albanian Supreme Court at expert talks in Leipzig and Berlin

The delegation from the Supreme Court of the Republic of Albania on a visit to the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig.
The delegation from the Supreme Court of the Republic of Albania on a visit to the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig.
Albania

A delegation from the Supreme Court of the Republic of Albania attended expert talks in Leipzig and Berlin on 28 and 29 June 2022 at the invitation of the IRZ. At the start of the study visit, the six judges from the Supreme Court were welcomed to the Federal Administrative Court (BVerwG) in Leipzig by Prof. Dr. Ingo Kraft (Presiding Judge at BVerwG) and Mr Martin Steinkühler (Judge at BVerwG).

The subjects of the professional discussions were the role, tasks and responsibilities of the Federal Administrative Court, the administrative court judicial review and the distinction between public and private law. There was also a focus on the issues of approval purposes of appeals, reviews of administrative processes and the significance of oral hearings in German practice.

On the following day the professional exchange on administrative court jurisdiction was continued on the premises of the German Association of Judges in Berlin. Dr. Axel Schreier, judge at the Berlin-Brandenburg Higher Administrative court, gave a presentation on the structure and role of the administrative court jurisdiction in Germany and addressed the subject of the powers of rejection of administrative courts and the specific judicial review of statutes from the point of view of the referring court. During the delegation’s visit to the Constitutional Court of the State of Berlin, the discussions focused on the division of competencies between administrative jurisdiction and constitutional court jurisdiction.

The background to the study visit is the introduction of an independent administrative court jurisdiction in Albania through Act no. 49/2012 “On the Organisation and Functioning of the Administrative Courts and Administrative Disputes” in 2012. The focus of the two-day exchange of expertise and experience was therefore on questions emerging from the establishment of administrative court jurisdiction in Albanian judicial practice and issues which arise from the necessary delimitation of competences, including on administrative court jurisdiction. The study visit therefore provided the opportunity to present parallel questions which exist in German administrative law and to identify common solutions.

The study visit was financed through project support by the Foreign Office on the subject of “Judicial Organisation”. Further expert talks in cooperation with the Supreme Court are planned for 2022.

Training and further education of the Albanian judiciary and Public Prosecutor’s Office

Albania

Between February and May 2022, the focus of IRZ's bilateral project work in Albania was the cooperation with the Albanian School of Magistrates, which is responsible for the education and training of the judiciary in the Republic of Albania.

Following a vetting procedure, the School of Magistrates then plays a central role in the re-staffing of judges and public prosecutors. The education and training capacities of the School of Magistrates have therefore been increased in recent years, and the demand for German and European expertise in legal training practice has also risen steadily. 

In this context, IRZ will continue to support the School of Magistrates in 2022 within the framework of its curriculum with the training and further education of judges and public prosecutors on various topics:

The judiciary and the media

On 10 February 2022, a first hybrid seminar on "The judiciary and the media" was held at the School of Magistrates. For the IRZ, Ms Brigitte Koppenhöfer, retired presiding judge at the Düsseldorf Regional Court, spoke on the (tense) relationship between the judiciary and the media regarding the press and public relations activities of the courts and criminal prosecution agencies. The event focused on Albanian, German and European best practices, legal bases, prerequisites and (crisis) strategies for proactive and procedural press and public relations activities.

Division of competences between administrative and constitutional jurisdiction

On 15 March 2022, IRZ organised another hybrid seminar with the Albanian School of Magistrates on the division of competences between the administrative court jurisdiction and constitutional court jurisdiction in Albania. Professor Michaela Wittinger, Professor of Constitutional Law at the Federal University of Public Administration in Mannheim, participated for Germany on behalf of IRZ. The main focus of the event was on the respective powers, the necessary delimitation of competences and the interaction between administrative court jurisdiction and constitutional court jurisdiction against the backdrop of the comparatively young administrative court jurisdiction, which was introduced in Albania in 2012 as a separate branch of the courts.

Cybercrime

On 28 March and 6 May 2022, IRZ hosted two hybrid events on the topic of "Cybercrime" in cooperation with the School of Magistrates. The subject of the seminars was the adaptation of the Albanian legal system to the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime, with a particular focus on racist and xenophobic acts on the net (28 March 2022) and the issue of securing and using digital evidence in criminal proceedings (6 May 2022). IRZ was delighted that Mr Andreas May, Senior Public Prosecutor of the Central Office for Combating Cybercrime at the General Prosecutor’s Office in Frankfurt am Main accepted our invitation to present the German and European legal framework and the German practice from his expert viewpoint.

Around 80 representatives from the Albanian judiciary and Public Prosecutor´s Office took part in the four events, which were funded by the Federal Ministry of Justice. The seminars were held at the School of Magistrates, which encouraged a lively and trusting atmosphere for discussions and a vibrant exchange of expertise and experience between the Albanian participants and the German-Albanian contingent of speakers.

IRZ supports the Supreme Court in the establishment of a documentation centre

During the kick-off event: "Series of training sessions in cooperation with the documentation centre of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Albania - methodology and practical exercises for the formation of legal sentences" on 20 December 2021 in Tirana (Albania). At the speaker's table, right to left: Dr. Arta Vorpsi, Cabinet Director at the Supreme Court of the Republic of Albania, Mr. Frank Hupfeld, Head of Section for South East Europe II / South Caucasus (IRZ), Thomas Traar, judge at the District Court of Bruck an der Mur (Austria) and Mr. Rainer Schliebs, RD, head of the documentation centre at the Federal Supreme Court.
Republic of Albania

In 2021, the IRZ helped the Supreme Court of the Republic of Albania to set up a documentation centre as part of the project funding for "court organisation" by the Federal Foreign Office.

The documentation centre at the Supreme Court will help judges of all instances to carry out their judicial tasks, and will make court judgements publicly accessible by documenting court judgements for internal and external use and designing a corresponding case law and documentation system. This is intended to create a more modern, efficient and transparent organisation of the court, and to improve public trust in the judiciary overall.

Against this backdrop, the IRZ organised a study trip for Dr. Arta Vorpsi, Cabinet Director at the Supreme Court, to the Federal Supreme Court (BGH) and the Administrative Court of Baden-Württemberg (VHG BW) from 13-16 December 2021. During her stay in Germany, Dr. Vorpsi gained some practical insights into the structures, working practices and methods of the documentation centres of the BGH and the Federal Constitutional Court (BVerfG). During the visit, the head of the documentation centre at the BGH, Mr. Rainer Schliebs, and Mr. Hans-Joachim Dose, presiding judge at the BGH, and Mr. Florian Schmitt, an employee at the documentation centre of the BVerfG, explained the German practice and experiences in this area. Solutions and suggestions for the Albanian context were also identified. This exchange of expertise and experience in Karlsruhe was rounded off by a visit to the Administrative Court in Mannheim, where Dr. Vorpsi studied the work of the nationwide unique asylum documentation at the VGH BW. Dr. Vorpsi had talks with Professor Jan Bergmann, Presiding judge at the VGH BW, Dr. Kathrin Osteneck, judge at the VGH BW and Dr. Sophie Roche, head of the documentation centre at the VGH BW.

In addition to this study trip, the IRZ organised a kick-off event on 20 December 2021 in Tirana on the theme "Methodology and practical exercises for the formation of legal propositions". The workshop was designed for academic staff and the future team at the documentation centre at the Supreme Court. Under the direction of Mr. Rainer Schliebs, Head of the Documentation Office of the BGH, and Mr. Thomas Traar, judge at the District Court of Bruck an der Mur (Austria), the participants were shown methods and best practices for drafting legal provisions by analysing German, Austrian and Albanian decisions and practical group exercises.

In addition to this exchange of expertise and experience, the IRZ supported the development of the documentation centre of the Supreme Court through extensive donations in kind. It provided standard works on the law of the European Union and the European Convention on Human Rights, and the documentation centre was equipped with new computers, laptops, scanners, a projector and other office supplies.

In 2022, the IRZ will also provide technical support to establish the documentation centre at the Supreme Court in Albania as part of the project funding of the Federal Foreign Office, and will further expand the successful cooperation.