Seminar and Moot Court on asylum law in Tirana

Wolfgang Bartsch addressing the participants during the seminar
Wolfgang Bartsch addressing the participants during the seminar

Albania has traditionally been a transit country for asylum seekers on their way into the EU. Last year, however, an estimated 1% of the refugees were prepared to stay in the country, which led to a 14-fold increase in the number of asylum applications compared with 2017. This means that asylum legislation is playing an increasingly important role in Albania. With this in mind, the IRZ organised a seminar together with the School of Magistrates in Tirana. The seminar took place on 8 and 9 October 2019 and was attended by 18 public prosecutors and judges.

The expert taking part on behalf of the IRZ was Wolfgang Bartsch, a former President of the Administrative Court of Braunschweig. He gave a lecture on the following topics:

  • An introduction to the activities of the administrative judge in Germany,
  • an overview of current developments in the asylum process in Europe and Germany and
  • an overview of the Common European Asylum system and its implementation.

The main part of the seminar was devoted to a Moot Court involving the case of an Afghan family, which was handled by the Administrative Court of Braunschweig in 2017. Wolfgang Bartsch began by introducing the case and then assigned roles to the participants, who played the part of lawyers, public prosecutors and judges. The participants were given time to prepare in groups before the hearing and pronouncement of the judgement. Following on from the Moot Court, the IRZ expert gave the participants feedback and compared the case to the original judgement.

The seminar was rounded off by Manjola Bejleri and Idlir Peci from the School of Magistrates. Their subjects for discussion were:

  • An overview of the Albanian asylum law system and procedure,
  • the status of reform discussions in the light of regulation 121/2014,
  • ways of granting legal protection to asylum seekers in Albania and
  • asylum law in the European Convention on Human Rights.
If possible, this subject should be addressed in more detail over the coming year.

Seminar on the interdependence between administrative and civil jurisdiction

Lindita Sinanaj and Florian Kalaja from the School of Magistrates; Klaus Hage, Presiding Judge at the Administrative Court of Minden (from left to right)
Lindita Sinanaj and Florian Kalaja from the School of Magistrates; Klaus Hage, Presiding Judge at the Administrative Court of Minden (from left to right)

First introduced as an independent branch of the court system in 2012, Albanian administrative jurisdiction is still the subject of many discussions concerning its differentiation from other jurisdictions. Within this context, the IRZ and the School of Magistrates organised a seminar on the interdependence between administrative and civil jurisdiction, which took place on 26 and 27 September 2019. This event was aimed at:

  • judges,
  • public prosecutors and
  • ombudsman employees.

At the start of the seminar, Lindita Sinanaj and Florian Kalaja from the School of Magistrates gave an introduction to Albanian administrative jurisdiction and explained the distinction between this and ordinary jurisdiction. The IRZ expert Klaus Hage, Presiding Judge at the Administrative Court of Minden, compared this with the German legal system and covered the following points concerning the differentiation between the different jurisdictions:

  • ordinary jurisdiction as opposed to special jurisdiction,
  • definition of public legal disputes and
  • legal basis: the powers of the German Federal Administrative Court over administrative courts of appeal and administrative courts of first instance.

Klaus Hage then went on to explain German administrative jurisdiction in more detail, by giving the 18 participants a deeper insight into the decision-making bodies and the transfer of the legal dispute to the individual judge, as well as the stages of appeal and the approval process. Lindita Sinanaj and Florian Kalaja closed the first day of the seminar with a presentation of Albanian cases of legal disputes concerning management agreements and legal jurisdiction in approval claims.

On the following day, Klaus Hage presented the influences of European law on German administrative jurisdiction, focussing on the following points, amongst others:

  • primary and secondary EU legislation,
  • enforcement of EU law by national authorities and
  • legal protection against EU legislative measures.
Once he had completed this group of subjects by giving case examples, for which the participants had to compare German with EU law, the Albanian experts rounded off the seminar with a lecture on the limits of ordinary jurisdiction and of the administrative court in disputes concerning normative acts.

EURALIUS V: Third Stakeholder Committee Meeting in Tirana

Third stakeholder committee meeting of the EURALIUS V project
Third stakeholder committee meeting of the EURALIUS V project

On 24 July 2019, the third stakeholder committee meeting took place in Tirana within the framework of the EURALIUS V project, which is implemented by the IRZ as leading partner. At the biannual meeting, the expert team summed up the work of the past months and presented its plan for the next six months. The corresponding EURALIUS V progress report was adopted.

The participants were, amongst others:

  • Fjoralba Caka, Deputy Minister of Justice of Albania,
  • Xhezair Zaganjori, President of the Supreme Court,
  • Arta Marku, Public Prosecutor General,
  • representatives of the EU delegation in Albania, of the embassies representing the consortium and
  • representatives of the consortium and of all judicial institutions cooperating within the EURALIUS project, including the School of Magistrates and the newly established judicial institutions, the High Judicial Council and the High Council of Prosecution.

At the same time, the constitutional changes and the beginning of the judicial reform in Albania three years ago were commemorated, when work started on a comprehensive reform package comprising 40 laws. The IRZ contributed a major part to it within the predecessor project EURALIUS IV.

Despite the ongoing vetting procedure, i.e. the review of judges and public prosecutors, it was possible for some of the new judicial institutions to start work in early 2019. These are strongly supported by EURALIUS through capacity building and the drafting of internal regulations.

All participants appreciated the work of the EURALIUS team very much and requested further support measures.

Project description: EURALIUS V

Funded by the European Union