A delegation of the Regional Court of Hamburg visited the Appeal Court of Tbilisi from 18 to 19 February 2015 to prepare the future cooperation between the two courts in the fields of criminal law and criminal law relating to young offenders.

The cooperation had already been initiated by the Appeal Court of Tbilisi in 2014 with the support of the IRZ. The IRZ organised this first visit of a delegation to Tbilisi in order to determine whether the cooperation is beneficial from a professional point of view and can be put into practice. The Appeal Court was represented during the dialogue by the Court President Valeri Tsertsvadze and thirteen judges.

Headed by the President of the Regional Court of Hamburg, Sibylle Umlauf, who was accompanied by two judges, the German delegation learnt about the Georgian court system and the Georgian criminal procedure, the work of the Appeal Court and its criminal divisions. Both issues regarding the criminal procedure and dogmatic issues of criminal law as well as the role of the judges were part of the programme. In addition, the hosts presented the Georgian criminal law relating to young offenders both de lega lata and de lege ferenda.

The presentations held by the Georgian colleagues gave the German delegation the opportunity to gain a comprehensive overview of the current specific problems for which in-depth consultation is required. In particular the criminal law relating to young offenders was discussed very lively at a high expert level. In this field the Georgian judges were particularly interested in the practical experience gained in Germany. In the following discussions the similarities and differences of the two legal systems were identified in detail. These peer-to-peer talks were also very enriching for the German part. Furthermore, the German delegation visited a court hearing at an appeal division to gain an idea of the Georgian procedural practice and the course of the criminal trial.

This initial meeting was assessed as very productive and inspiring by both sides. It forms a good basis for future cooperation between the two courts supported by the IRZ. The personal participation of both court presidents contributed largely to this. In the next step of this cooperation, a delegation from the Georgian court will visit the Regional Court of Hamburg.