International private law with a regional outlook

Bosnia and Herzegovina

The online seminar “Conflict of Laws Issues in Status, Family and Inheritance Law” was held jointly by IRZ and the Centre for Judicial and Prosecutorial Training of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina on 29 June 2022.

As speakers, the organisers were able to recruit three experts from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia with an outstanding track record of relevant publications and research stays at various institutions in Germany.

Prof. Zlatan Meskić from the Faculty of Law at the University of Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, opened the seminar. He jointly authored a textbook on international private law (IPR) with the next speaker, Prof. Slavko Djordjević from the Faculty of Law at the University of Kragujevac, Serbia, which was published as a joint project between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. The third talk was held by Prof. Maya Kostić Mandić from the Faculty of Law at the University of Montenegro in Podgorica.

International private law plays a significant role in family and inheritance law due to the intricate nature of cross-border personal relationships, which are typical in the region of former Yugoslavia. Bosnia and Herzegovina also faces problems related to competing legal systems within the country. For instance, inheritance law in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina recognises testamentary contracts, which are void under the law of Republika Srpska as the second entity. This means that many decisions with far-reaching significance for the affected persons hinge on the ‘technical’ question of applicable law. The participants addressed these issues during the discussions as well.

The status of legal transformation in the three participating countries also differ: while Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia adhere to IPR law that used to apply to all of former Yugoslavia, Montenegro has already implemented a new law that integrates the unified EU conflict-of-law rules into national law. The presentation on Montenegro therefore provided – from the perspective of the Bosnian-Herzegovinian participants – initial insight into changes to their own legal system that can be expected going forward.