On 26 and 27 June 2017, a delegation from the Georgian Bar Association attended expert discussions in Berlin by invitation of the IRZ and the German Federal Bar (BRAK). This working visit took place as part of the long-standing cooperation between the IRZ and the Georgian Bar Association, with the objective of strengthening the Bar and the autonomy of lawyers in Georgia, thereby making a contribution towards further reforms in this field. The delegation was made up of board members of the Georgian Bar Association, as well as other lawyers.

The main topics discussed during the study visit were mediation and legal aid in Germany. Mediation is new to Georgia and is becoming increasingly significant. There are plans to establish mediation as an alternative process for resolving conflicts in legal practice.

Expert talks were held at the German Federal Bar and at the arbitration board of the German Federal Bar in Berlin. During these talks, the Georgian guests were provided with an overview of the duties of the arbitration board of the German Federal Bar and the opportunities for citizens to resolve conflicts without going through the courts, thus saving time and money.

There were also reports on the Pro Bono system in Germany, which was of particular interest in view of the potential introduction of a similar system in Georgia.

The programme was supplemented by an exchange of experiences with two German lawyers, during which the role of the lawyer as mediator and the mediation process were discussed. There were lively talks about the advantages and disadvantages of mediation, both in court and out of court, and about actual practical experiences.

The expert talks were considered to be very interesting and enriching by the Georgians. The guests expressed their desire to continue the successful cooperation and to plan a follow-up event in Georgia in October.