IRZ NPR publication – “a journal uniting South-East Europe”

For seven years now, the IRZ has been using funds from the German Federal Foreign Office allocated to the Stability Pact for South-East Europe to publish the „Neue juristische Umschau: Zeitschrift für regionales, deutsches und europäisches Recht“, alongside the German-Bosnian-Herzegovinian Lawyers' Association (DBHJV) and the Society for the Study and Reception of German Law based in Serbia, in the former Yugoslavian states. This is a journal of regional, German and European law known locally as “Nova pravna revija: časopis za domaće, njemačko i evropsko pravo” or NPR for short.

When last year’s issue came out, a comprehensive and very positive review written by Slobodan Vukadinović appeared in the well-reputed Serbian legal journal “Pravni Zapisi”. One of the members of the international Board of Editors for the journal is the Serbian judge at the ECtHR in Strasbourg, Dragoljub Popović, (for more information on the journal see here). You can find a complete German translation of the article in the download area: Neue juristische Umschau - anniversary edition of a journal that unites.

The review confirms that the NPR is a successful and well-reputed expert journal, which has been established for more than five years now and is also extremely useful for practitioners. It represents a medium for lasting regional cooperation, bringing together in particular the young legal talents of the future.

The author Slobodan Vukadinović points out in his review that

  • the NPR is a “journal that unites” and which “has become well-known in expert circles in several countries over a short space of time and has deservedly.... earned a reputation for itself”.
  • He emphasises in particular that the NPR “bridges the gap for legal dialogue and the exchange of experiences between states of the former Yugoslavia and countries in the region on the one hand and Germany on the other hand”.
  • The author reaches the conclusion that in terms of contents, “requirements....are not only fulfilled, but compared with the usual standards are even exceeded.”

The NPR is just one of several publications produced or jointly produced by the project team for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia at the IRZ. As well as publishing books, such as the recent translation of the German law on limited liability companies (GmbHG), mention should also be made of the journal “Evropsko Pravo” (European law).

All these publications are available for download from the IRZ and from various project partners:

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Libraries as important interfaces for legal cooperation

Speakers at the conference on the podiumSpeakers at the conference on the podium

The use of German law as a point of reference for legislation and for the application of the law requires as full access as possible to German law. Well aware of this, the IRZ is continuing its cooperation with the "South East European Association of Law and related Libraries" with a conference held on 15 and 16 September 2016 on the subject of “The influence of the German legal tradition on law libraries and library stocks". Another topic was the exchange of experiences between the network of libraries. The event was organised jointly by the University of West Mostar and the Kemal Bakaršić Foundation, named after the librarian from Sarajevo who died in 2006.

Representing the organisers were:

  • Prof. Dr. Vesna Kazazic, Dean of the Law Faculty,
  • Edita Bačić, President of the Association of Librarians,
  • Violetta Bottazzo, General Secretary of the Association of Librarians,
  • Dragan Marković, Kemal Bakaršić Foundation
  • Dr. Stefan Pürner, Head of Section at the IRZ.

People came from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia to participate in the event

Discussions focussed on the role played by law libraries in the era of digitalisation and globalisation. The intense discussions on this subject were stimulated by a keynote by the former Library Director at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law in Hamburg, Prof. Dr. Holger Knudsen. In his speech, he suggested that easy access to literature via the Internet has also led to significant changes in the role played by libraries and the experts working in them.

At the event, as well as discussing the objectives of the exchange and enhancing current stocks, an impressive review of German law literature in the libraries of the participating countries was also carried out. It also became clear that libraries in South-East Europe not only use German legal databases, but that they also evaluate this use.

During the expert presentations, many interesting and yet little known historic details also came up. For example, the large quantity of historic German law literature in Serbia is due to the fact that the German Reich paid a proportion of its reparation payments after the First World War in legal literature. This was of great interest, since Serbia had already used German law for guidance earlier in its history. Towards the end of the 19th century, for example, the Serbian government had financed research visits made by promising young experts to Germany, where they graduated in German law in the German language.

The commitment of the IRZ in the field of legal publications and libraries was also widely acknowledged during the event, for example the IRZ Library of German Law at the Law Faculty of the University of Sarajevo.

The conference was also topic in various media. Even the public TV of the Federation of Bosnia and Hercegovina broadcasted a report in its news: U Mostaru otvorena konferencija bibliotekara iz regije.

Introductory course in German law for Bosnian-Herzegovinian and Serbian students in Sarajevo

From 15 to 17 July a three-day introductory seminar for the new students of the supplementary study course in German law took place in Sarajevo. The IRZ and the Faculty of Law of the University of Sarajevo jointly offer this supplementary study course. The topic of the seminar, which like all lectures and seminars of the supplementary course was held in German, was an introduction to German history and culture. This will help the students gain a better understanding of the following legal seminars, in particular with regard to the German state structure.

What was special about this year’s seminar was that also six German-speaking students from the Faculty of Law in Belgrade participated in the course. The participation of Serbian students came about through contacts made during this year's IRZ German Law Summer School in Brühl, Germany.

The seminar covered a very wide range of topics. It dealt with the historical roots of German federalism as well as National Socialism and its historical reappraisal. Further topics were the influence of Luther’s translation of the Bible for the German language, the Carolingian renaissance, Goethe’s “Faust” and Lessing’s “Nathan der Weise” (“Nathan the Wise”). During this last discussion links to current issues in Bosnia and Herzegovina with its three ethnical groups, also differing with regard to religion, could be found.

The seminar was complemented by giving an insight into modern everyday culture. “Sandmännchen” (“Little Sandman”, TV evening programme for young children) and “Augsburger Puppenkiste” (German puppet theatre and TV programme for children) as well as lyrics by Udo Lindenberg were discussed. Dealing with such a great variety of topics was made possible by using audio-visual learning material. Moreover, extensive reference was made to further sources easily available on the Internet.

The evaluations by the participants, in which some of them gave comprehensive comments, proved that the concept of the seminar was suitable for the target group. One of them stated, for example, that “it (is) not enough to study the language and the legal system of the country. You only get a more comprehensive view if you gain an insight into the whole life style of the country.” He concluded his comment with the words that he was “very enthusiastic to discover more about Germany on my own.”

Building on these first positive experiences the IRZ will regularly organise joint seminars for the students of the legal faculties of Sarajevo and Belgrade in the future.