On 13 and 14 June 2016, the first contact was made between the Supreme Court of Georgia and the Hanseatic higher regional court of Bremen. The two parties met for expert discussions between the presidents of the two courts and other judges from Georgia and Germany to discuss matters of criminal law.

The President of the Supreme Court of Georgia, Prof. Nino Gvenetadze, welcomed the President of the Hanseatic higher regional court, Karen Buse, who was accompanied by Dr. Stephan Haberland, a judge at the higher regional court of Bremen, and Ellen Best, Vice-President of the local court of Bremen. The focus of the two-day talks was on the further development of the law through the jurisdiction of the supreme court and the implementation of the youth penal code, which came into force in Georgia at the beginning of 2016. This law involved a number of key changes to the penal code for young people and adolescents and, from now on, other material criminal stipulations also apply to this group of people. The Supreme Court of Georgia, which is the highest ordinary court in the country, is already handling some cases that are subject to the new law. The exchange of experiences with the German delegation was very valuable in this context. The further development of the law through case law was also the subject of lively discussion, since this has not yet been fully established in Georgia in the field of criminal law and is above all perceived with great scepticism by the general public.

Some of the talks were held in the municipal court of Tbilisi, where the President welcomed the delegation and informed them of the current state of progress on another topic, which is currently of great importance to the Georgian justice system: the electronic allocation of responsibilities at courts. The municipal court of Tbilisi is already working with a pilot system and by the end of 2016, the allocation of responsibilities should take place electronically all over Georgia. Since the higher regional court of Bremen was one of the first regional court districts to introduce the electronic allocation of responsibilities, the delegation was able to draw on first-hand experience to address this kind of reform and the many practical questions that accompany it.

The expert discussions were considered by both sides to be very enriching and cooperative and are likely to be continued in Germany before the end of this year.