Seminar on “State inspections and preventing money laundering in notary services” with the German Federal Chamber of Notaries

Graphics: IRZ
Graphics: IRZ

Following the success of an event organised between the Albanian Chamber of Notaries and the German Federal Chamber of Notaries (BNotK) in December 2020, IRZ is now developing this cooperation further. An online seminar on “State inspections and preventing money laundering in notary services” was organised on 12 March 2021 by IRZ together with the German and Albanian chambers of notaries and the EU EURALIUS project. This was the first event in a series of seminars on notarial topics. The seminar was financed by the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV) and was aimed at 25 or so Albanian notaries.

Alongside the EURALIUS V team leader, Dr. Agnes Bernhard, Fatmir Laçej, Vice-President of the Albanian Chamber of Notaries, Richard Bock, Head of International Affairs at the BNotK (German Federal Chamber of Notaries) and Viktoria Hoebel from IRZ welcomed the participants to the event.

The seminar dealt with the following subjects:

  • Preventing money laundering in notarial services according to the 5th EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive
  • Preventing money laundering in notarial practice
  • Inspections in Albanian notarial services

The speakers at the seminar were Martin Thelen, a notary candidate and director at the BNotK, and Dr. Lovro Tomasic, international affairs representative at the BNotK.
Martin Thelen gave a lecture on the first topic and presented in detail the legal framework in place in Germany for the prevention of money laundering. He looked at the money laundering law, presenting risk management, due diligence and reporting obligations in more detail. The next two topics were discussed by Dr. Lovro Tomasic. Using eight case examples, he explained the theoretical and practical aspects of the money laundering law and pointed out the red flags to look out for. He went on to provide an insight into official inspections. With the help of a check-list he had produced, Dr. Tomasic explained the details of an official inspection and looked more closely at the role of certified notaries.

The law on money laundering in Albania is modelled on EU standards. However, no official inspection process has yet been established in Albania, although several inspections did take place over the past year. All the participants in the seminar welcomed the idea of a standardised inspection process and their active involvement in the process.

Discussions were remarkably animated, underlining the participants’ high level of interest in the subject.

Second workshop on writing e-commentary

Graphics: IRZ
Graphics: IRZ

Transparent and uniform jurisdiction under the rule of law is important for the Albanian judicial system to be accepted by law professionals and citizens. It is also essential in view of the negotiations for Albania to enter the EU, which began recently. Within this context, since mid-2019 IRZ has been coordinating a project, which is being financed by the German Foreign Office and has the objective of further developing the first legal online commentary developed in Albania.

The project ties in with the work of national and international experts, who in 2017 developed an electronic platform as part of the EU Action Grant EURALIUS. The budget for the project was increased by the German Foreign Office in April 2020, allowing project managers to expand the group of Albanian commentary writers by five. Since these five people had not taken part in last year’s training session on writing e-commentary and were not yet familiar with the uniform project standards, the training session was repeated on 13 May 2020 in the form of a online seminar.

IRZ experts Prof. Dr. Bernd Heinrich, Prof. Dr. Jörg Kinzig and Prof. Dr. Bernd Hecker from the University of Tübingen and Prof. Dr. Martin Heger from the Humboldt University in Berlin joined the online seminar. They provided some insights into the German tradition of making comments and led discussions with the participants on the advantages and disadvantages of online commentary compared with print commentary, the various citation systems, international commentary standards and a comparison between the Albanian and German methods of commenting.

The following day was all about “lessons learned”. The expert advisory board, made up of the German professors and two Albanian experts, held open discussions with the eight authors on their past experiences of writing and assessing e-commentary. The online event also provided an opportunity to establish the next steps for the project.
By the end of the year, the now expanded group of authors will need to comment on articles of the Albanian code of criminal procedure and the law on the status of judges and public prosecutors. The project will be rounded off with events for the general public in Albania, during which the results of the project will be presented, with the aim of raising awareness of the importance of jurisprudential and legal commentary amongst law professionals and public institutions.

Online seminar on constitutional complaints for lawyers in Vlora, Albania

Graphic: IRZ
Graphic: IRZ

The series of seminars on Albanian constitutional complaints, which began in 2018, continued on 13 and 14 May 2020 in cooperation with the local bar association. Following on from the first four seminars held in the centre and south-east of the country (Tirana, Durrës and Korça), with participants attending in person, the fifth seminar for lawyers in the Vlora region was organised as a online seminar due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The background for this series of seminars is the changes made to the Constitution in 2016 and the associated right of citizens to be able to go directly to the Constitutional Court with individual complaints. The basis for the online seminar was the 2017 IRZ publication, “Constitutional Complaints – a Handbook for Practitioners from the German and Albanian Point of View”, which was written by the speaker, Professor Dr. Jan Bergmann, Senate Chairman at the Administrative Court of Baden-Wuerttemberg, and his co-author, Dr. Arta Vorpsi, a Legal Advisor to the Albanian Constitutional Court.

On the first day of the seminar, Prof. Bergmann, who was joining the online seminar from Stuttgart, talked about the European human rights doctrine and test schemes for fundamental rights and rights to freedom, as well as the fundamental right to equality. On the following day, he explained to the 17 lawyers participating in the seminar the conditions of admissibility of constitutional complaints in Germany, noted a few of the specific problems associated with this and closed the seminar with a lecture on the current case law of the European Court of Human Rights.

Even though the Constitutional Court of Albania is not currently a competent authority, Professor Bergmann encouraged the lawyers to submit suitable cases to be able to help with the continuous further development of the Albanian legal system. He recommended that they refer not only to the Albanian Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights in the complaints, but in view of future EU membership, they should also cite the EU charter.
Now that the IRZ has covered the subject of constitutional complaints in the middle of the country and in the south, a continuation of the series of seminars in Shkodra, the main city in the north of the country, is being planned.