European Consumer Protection in the initial and advanced Training of judges

The speaker Prof. Dr. Zlatan Meskic during his lecture
The speaker Prof. Dr. Zlatan Meskic during his lecture
Bosnia and Herzegovina

Due to pre-accession harmonisation, European law has an impact on the legal system of a country long before it joins the European Union (EU). Therefore, it is necessary for judges there to be informed at an early stage in which area of law "national provisions with a European background" are to be expected. They should be familiar with the legal technicalities of such regulations, including in particular the interpretation in conformity with the directives. A practically very important area of law is consumer law - here judges can benefit from such knowledge.

For this reason IRZ, together with the Centre for Judicial Training of both entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, organised the online seminar "The impact of European law on national law with special regard to consumer law" on 19 November 2021. The event was made possible with project funding from the Federal Foreign Office.

The speaker was Prof. Dr. Zlatan Meskic from the University of Zenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina, who completed his legal training, including court practice, in Vienna, where he also received his doctorate on European consumer law. He then taught European law as part of a Master's programme at Saarland University. With this background, he dealt with the topic with detailed reference to the relevant legal provisions and taking into account the case law in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He explicitly pointed out that the Consumer Protection Law of Bosnia and Herzegovina was not harmonised with the general civil law provisions in numerous places. He also pointed out that the law contained translation errors, which, however, could be overcome by means of interpretation in conformity with the directives.

As a result, the approximately 70 participants from all parts of the country asked numerous questions, made comments and reported on further case law on the topic during the lecture. A lively professional discussion took place.

International Family Law Conference in Mostar

Graphics: IRZ
Graphics: IRZ
Bosnia and Herzegovina

The ninth “Family Law” day was held in Mostar on 10 June 2021. The event, organised by IRZ together with the Faculty of Law at Džemal Bijedić University, had been shortened to a one-day online event due to the pandemic. The international conference traditionally addresses lawyers from various succession states of former Yugoslavia with an interest in family law. This year, the focus was on current issues in family law theory and practice. The background for this choice of topic was the influence of societal and social changes on family law, e.g.:

  • migration,
  • emigration,
  • ageing population,
  • falling birth rates,
  • the growing number of bi-national marriages, especially in the closely linked West Balkan countries, as well as
  • the new possibilities of reproductive medicine.

The family law conference involved around 50 participants from both entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as from Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia. The goal of facilitating exchange between practising legal experts and academics was achieved, as the conference was attended by:

  • legal academics,
  • members of the judiciary,
  • notaries,
  • lawyers and
  • employees of public authorities.

After the conference was opened by the Dean of the Faculty, Prof. Dr. Alena Huseinbegović, and Dr. Stefan Pürner for IRZ, more than twenty speakers spoke on a wide range of topics. The German expert representing IRZ, Dr Karolina Mihaljevic-Schulze, a lawyer from Berlin of Croatian origin, spoke in the national language, focusing in particular on questions of parentage law in LGBT families from the perspective of the case law of the Federal Court of Justice.

To ensure the sustainability of the event, the conference papers will be printed in the Faculty Yearbook and will also be available online

The importance of the conference was also underlined by the fact that the Minister for Education, Science, Culture and Sport of the host canton Herzegovina-Neretva, Prof. Dr. Rašid Hadžović, did not miss the opportunity to open the event. In his welcoming address, he explicitly emphasised the long-standing fruitful cooperation between the faculty and IRZ.

The positive media response was also encouraging: Mostar bio domaćin konferencije ''Dani obiteljskog prava''

Seminar on the “rights of refugees”

Graphics: IRZ
Graphics: IRZ
Bosnia and Herzegovina

On 27 May 2021, the legal aid organisation Vaša Prava, in cooperation with IRZ, organised a seminar on the rights of refugees. The 25 participants working with refugees came from non-governmental organisations, the Ombudsman's office and various ministries.

During the first part of the event, lawyer Amra Kadrić, who advises refugees on behalf of Vaša Prava, presented the current situation. She explained that hardly any reliable figures on refugees in the country were available, due to the geographical location of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a transit country and the irregularity of entries and exits. During her lecture, she also addressed the violation of refugees’ rights. She talked about the fact that many refugees who were entitled to asylum were only granted subsidiary protection and that there were problems concerning the granting of rights to education. However, Amra Kadrić also stressed the fact that Bosnia and Herzegovina's legislation is strongly oriented towards European standards.

During the second part of the event, lawyer Holger Hembach presented the legal status of refugees on the basis of international and regional conventions. As a former OSCE staff member in the field of human rights in the Western Balkans and author of a reference book on appeals submitted to the ECtHR, Holger Hembach is a proven expert in this field. He also represents clients at the ECtHR. The participants in the seminar were particularly interested in the following explanations:

  • the decisions of international courts on the treatment of refugees in transit zones,
  • restrictions on the freedom of movement of refugees and
  • a judgement from the ECtHR on the issue of application for asylum.

During the lively discussions, the participants emphasised that despite significant problems in Bosnia and Herzegovina, there still exists a humane way of dealing with refugees. In his closing remarks, the Managing Director of Vaša Prava, Emir Prcanović, also emphasised that much more could be achieved if everyone pulled together.