Conference for Georgian lawyers on practical issues concerning Georgian civil proceedings

From 27 to 29 October 2016, a conference was held in Tbilisi for Georgian lawyers on practical issues concerning Georgian civil proceedings. The event was organised as part of the cooperation between the IRZ and the Georgian Lawyers for Independent Profession association.

Dr. Kornelius Kleinlein, a lawyer and notary at the Kanzlei Raue LLP in Berlin, represented the IRZ at the conference as a German expert and speaker. The Georgian Lawyers for Independent Profession was represented by its President, Khatuna Fureliani, and its Managing Director, Ketevan Buadze, as well as by other board members. On the Georgian side, speakers included members of the lawyers’ association, as well as representatives of the Georgian Bar Association, the national law enforcement agency, an insurance company, the Georgian Chamber of Notaries, the agency for personal data protection and several lecturers from the University of Tbilisi.

The topics of the conference in detail were:

  • Procedural principles in German and Georgian civil proceedings,
  • Special types of proceedings,
  • Law enforcement,
  • Application of piercing the corporate veil in German law,
  • Tax debts and the liability of the debtor and company management and
  • The role and position of data protection agencies and labour-related legal issues in Georgia.

In addition, light was shed on topics concerning German telecommunications legislation and the application of the ECHR in Georgia (art. 6 of the ECHR in Georgian civil proceedings, art. 1, protocol 1 of the ECHR and art. 8 of the ECHR).

The conference provided a platform for interdisciplinary exchange. After all, as well as representatives of the legal profession, participants also included members of the State University of Tbilisi and of the judiciary. Due to the great similarity between the Georgian code of civil procedure and the German ZPO (code of civil procedure), the talks given by the German speaker were of great interest to the audience. The lecture led to numerous questions and discussions around the topic. The Georgian participants repeatedly underlined the relevance and practical benefits of such conferences and expressed their wish for the discussions to be continued.

Expert discussions between the Supreme Court of Georgia and the higher regional court of Bremen on the subject of criminal law

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.

Delegation from the Georgian chief prosecutor's office on a visit to Germany

Participants of the delegation in front of the Ministry of Justice for the North Rhine-Westfalia region.Participants of the delegation in front of the Ministry of Justice for the North Rhine-Westfalia region.

From 4 to 6 April 2016, a Georgian delegation led by the deputy chief prosecutor, Giorgi Gabitashvili, attended expert discussions in Düsseldorf and Cologne by invitation of the IRZ. This working visit took place as part of the long-standing cooperation between the IRZ and the Georgian chief prosecutor's office, which is undergoing a process of significant reform.

The delegation started its series of expert discussions in Düsseldorf, where the guests met with judges Dr. Michael Scholz and Dr. Mattias Nordmeyer and public prosecutor Christian Schoß. During the talks at the Ministry of Justice, the Georgian guests were given an overview of the system for assessing public prosecutors in Germany, which was of particular interest in view of the possible introduction of a similar assessment system in Georgia.

Afterwards, the delegation was welcomed to the State Office of Criminal Investigation for North Rhine-Westfalia by the head of criminal investigations, Thomas Jungbluth. The expert discussions focussed, amongst other things, on investigative procedures at the State Office of Criminal Investigation.

In Cologne, expert discussions were held with judges and public prosecutors at the office of the public prosecutor general and at the higher regional court, focussing on responsibilities and the way the court and the public prosecutor's office work and cooperate.

The programme was supplemented by a practice-oriented sharing of experiences with civil servants working for the German Office of Criminal Investigation, during which current issues concerning criminal law were debated. Various aspects of a potential cooperation between Georgia and Germany were discussed. Both institutions expressed the desire to continue and intensify their successful cooperation.