Conference of the Memorandum Group of Associations of Judges in Tbilisi

On 28 and 29 April 2017, an international conference of the “Memorandum Group of Associations of Judges” was held in Tbilisi. The conference was about the coming together of the Associations of Judges of Armenia, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, the Republic of Moldova, Poland and Ukraine. The IRZ has welcomed this initiative right from the start and has supported the annual meetings of the Memorandum Group over the years.

This year’s conference focussed on the following topics

  • Mediation,
  • The assessment of judges and
  • Juvenile criminal law.

When it came to discussing mediation, it became clear how important and future-oriented this is considered to be in the partner countries. This was proved by the statements from the participating countries on their respective practical experience and perspectives of mediation as a modern method of resolving conflict. In this context, the participants also shed light on the advantages and disadvantages of judicial mediation.

The fact that the assessment system in the participating countries is handled very differently became clear during numerous talks on the respective legal regulations.

About twenty representatives of the Associations of Judges in the Memorandum Group and several Georgian judges took part in the event. On the German side, the German Association of Judges made a contribution, as it had done in previous conferences of this kind, and was represented by its President, Jens Gnisa, Director of the local court in Bielefeld, and Jörn Müller, a judge at the local court of Worms.

The conference was seen on all sides as an important platform for the exchange of experiences between representatives of the justice system in various countries, which often find themselves dealing with similar reform topics. It was opened by the President of the Supreme Court of Georgia, Professor Dr. Nino Gvenetadze. As well as Joachim Hecker, who represented the German Embassy in Tbilisi, and the Managing Director of the IRZ, Veronika Keller-Engels, the Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia, Irakli Kobakhidze, also gave a welcome speech, in which he outlined the most important steps currently being undertaken in Georgia for reforming the justice system.

Straight after the event, the Memorandum Group held an internal meeting to discuss the further development and expansion of the group.

Delegation from the Supreme Judicial Council of Georgia visit Germany

From 23 to 25 November 2016, a delegation from the Supreme Judicial Council of Georgia visited Bremen and Karlsruhe in Germany. The delegation was welcomed to Karlsruhe by the President of the German Federal Court of Justice, Bettina Limperg. Discussions with the President and with two judges at the German Federal Court of Justice focussed on the introduction of the electronic justice system in Germany and Georgia and on justice and the media.

Afterwards, the delegation travelled to Bremen, where they met the President of the Hanseatic higher regional court, Karen Buse. The key priorities of this working session were the new regulations governing the retrial process in the Georgian code of criminal procedure and the electronic allocation of responsibilities. There was an intense and practice-oriented exchange of experiences between the German judges and the representatives of the Supreme Judicial Council of Georgia.

The Georgian guests also had the opportunity to meet the President of the German Association of Judges, Jens Gnisa, and to discuss the self-administration of judges and the independence of the judiciary.

As a self-governing judicial body, the Supreme Judicial Council deals with legal and political issues in connection with the further development of the law, the uniformity of case law and positioning within the judicial framework. In this respect, issues concerning the selection, recruitment and promotion of judges, as well as the practice of assessing them, were of particular interest.

Both the Georgian and the German parties emphasised the importance of this kind of exchange between specialists.

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.