“Family Law Days” – tenth anniversary in Mostar

Minister of Education of the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton, Dr Rašid Hadžović, welcomes participants
Minister of Education of the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton, Dr Rašid Hadžović, welcomes participants
Bosnia and Herzegovina

The tenth international conference “Family Law Days”, organised jointly by IRZ and the law faculty of Djemal-Bjedić University, took place in Mostar on 20-21 October 2022.

The event was attended by participants from several Yugoslav successor states, including EU member states Croatia and Slovenia. Participants also included researchers, teachers and practitioners from the judiciary and the relevant authorities. There were members of philosophical and political science faculties, which emphasised the interdisciplinary character of the event.

Regional, interdisciplinary, sustainable

The regional approach of the conference is particularly important due to the closely intertwined and relatively small successor states of Yugoslavia. Family law issues therefore often have points of contact with neighbouring states. The literature and published case law on the subject are scant.

All the states face a further challenge of adapting their family law to current biomedical and social developments.

In addition, the requirements of the case law of the European Court of Human Rights and the EU must be observed.

As in previous years, the 30 or so papers presented at the event will be documented in conference proceedings to ensure the results are available to a large audience and are thus particularly sustainable. More than 200 works on family law have been published to date over the ten years in which this series of events have been held.

High interest from the media

The event attracted great interest not only from experts, but also from the general public. Bosnia and Herzegovina's largest online portal reported extensively on the conference and emphasised that the harmonisation of EU legislation in Bosnia and Herzegovina was progressing “at a snail's pace” and that the legislature still had numerous tasks to fulfil.

In organising the conference, IRZ is making an important contribution to reminding us of the need for further action, even when there is little enthusiasm for reform, and the IRZ has also created the framework conditions for the appropriate legislative initiatives.


Integrity & independence of the judiciary – foundations for functioning case-law

Bosnia and Herzegovina

A seminar on “Integrity, independence and ethics” was held at the Centre for Judicial and Prosecutorial Training of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo on 6 and 7 September 2022, which was also the first face-to-face event with this partner since the start of the pandemic.

The event was primarily aimed at legal staff, the entry-level position prior to appointment as a judge. Talks were held by Aleksandra Martinović, President of the Constitutional Court of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Winfried Schubert, former President of the Constitutional Court for Saxony-Anhalt and the Higher Regional Court of Naumburg

The aim is to improve the reputation of the judiciary

In her talk, President Martinović presented a large number of cases from disciplinary practice and also reached out to the audience – whom she described as the “future of the judiciary in Bosnia and Herzegovina” – to work actively towards improving the reputation of the judiciary. She also pointed out that decisions on promotions to the judicial office that are difficult to comprehend from an objective perspective can only be prevented if the common interests shared by members of the judiciary receive powerful representation.

No space for self-righteousness

Former President Schubert placed the main focus of his talk on critical self-reflection among members of the judiciary. In this context, he emphasised that judicial independence is not a personal privilege afforded to members of the judiciary and is intended instead to guarantee functioning and objective case-law. He also stated plainly that there is no space for self-righteousness among judges in the application of the law – and hence in the search for justice.

Première of the IRZ educational film

The event was brought to a conclusion by the Bosnian-Herzegovinian première of the educational film produced by the IRZ on active procedural management in civil proceedings, which sparked an interesting discussion.

In the interests of patients: Medical law and medical liability

Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Centre for Judicial and Prosecutorial Training of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina organised an online seminar for judges on the topic of medical and medical liability law in cooperation with IRZ on 9 September 2022.

The speakers were Prof. Jozo Čizmić from the Faculty of Law in Split, Croatia, and Prof. Amila Ferhatović, Sarajevo. With their track record of various research stays, these two experts possessed the language skills and academic credentials to address all relevant aspects of German case-law. This is used as a point of reference in medical and medical liability law – two legal areas that are only gradually acquiring practical relevance in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The event focused on the duty to provide information and keep documentation, breaches of the duty of care and questions of the burden of proof. The requirements of European law were addressed as well.

Prof. Ferhatović also presented decisions on medical liability in Bosnia and Herzegovina and pointed out the need for training the legal profession in medical and medical liability law, as many patients do not assert claims because their lawyers are insufficiently versed in the subject. 

Overall, the cases presented from civil and criminal law painted a remarkable picture, also of grievances in the country’s health care system, which the judiciary can contribute to eliminating through consistent and uniform case-law.