Online Seminar on Cybercrime

Graphics: IRZ
Graphics: IRZ

As part of its cooperation with the Georgian Chief Public Prosecutor's Office, IRZ organised an online seminar on cybercrime on 9 and 10 November 2021. The event was aimed at Georgian public prosecutors.

In the context of international cooperation, cross-border cooperation to combat cybercrime is indispensable. This requires an intensive exchange of experience as a basis for developing appropriate strategies to combat it.

IRZ was able to win Andreas May, Senior Public Prosecutor at the Central Office for Combating Internet Crime at the Office of the Public Prosecutor General in Frankfurt am Main as a German expert. Andreas May first presented the tasks and work of his authority and then spoke about, among other things:

  • the legal framework conditions of cybercrime in Germany,
  • its most important manifestations, 
  • investigations in the area of cybercrime and their special features (including digital evidence, cloud evidence, etc.) as well as
  • court proceedings in the field of cybercrime.

The participants followed Chief Public Prosecutor May's explanations with great interest. Following the lecture, a lively discussion developed for a mutual exchange of ideas. It was suggested that the seminar be established as a fixed component of the training programme for Georgian prosecutors. IRZ is prepared to organise and accompany further events on topics of this kind in the coming year.

Online seminar on consumer protection

Graphics: IRZ
Graphics: IRZ

As in many countries, consumer protection has attracted more public interest in Georgia in recent years. However, even though the first Georgian constitution of 1995 named the protection of consumers as one of the government’s goals, there are still no legal provisions for consumer protection in Georgia to this day. This has a negative effect on many areas and makes it considerably harder to implement the law. The lack of any consumer protection legislation and other legal problems linked with consumer protection were therefore the subject of an online seminar, organised by IRZ in cooperation with the GLIP (Georgian Lawyers for Independent Profession) on 27 November 2020. There was a great deal of interest in this online seminar, with more than 120 people taking part, most of them lawyers.

IRZ expert Arnd Weishaupt, a judge at the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf, opened the event with a presentation of the legal framework for consumer protection in the EU and Germany, and gave plenty of detail for some problem areas such as loan and insurance agreements, as well as online retail and doorstep selling. Tamar Lakerbaia, a judge at the Local Court of Tbilisi, contrasted the German perspective with the current legal situation in Georgia. She reported with regret on the many years of fruitless efforts to adopt a framework law for protecting consumers. She was, however, optimistic that the newly elected Georgian parliament would approve the law during this legislative term. In this respect, Tamar Lakerbaia drew the participants’ attention to the Association Agreement concluded in 2014 between the EU and Georgia and reminded them of Georgia’s associated obligation to harmonise national laws with EU law, including in the area of consumer protection.

The Georgian speaker went on to give a short presentation of the national case law and emphasised in particular that, despite the lack of any legal basis, judges in Georgia are committed to guaranteeing effective consumer protection and are largely guided by EU directives when it comes to consumer rights issues.

Long and lively discussions followed on from the lectures. The participants agreed that the legal regulation of consumer protection is long overdue in Georgia and is really needed. IRZ will therefore continue to pursue the topic of consumer protection rights in Georgia next year and to advise their Georgian partners on possible reforms in this area.

Expert discussions on lawyers’ fees

Graphics: IRZ
Graphics: IRZ

Lawyers’ fees were the subject of online expert discussions held on 19 November 2020, to which IRZ had invited members of the Georgian Bar Association (GBA) and the German Federal Bar Association (BRAK). Also represented at the seminar was the Georgian Legal Aid Service, a state institution which guarantees free legal aid for deprived citizens.

The President of the GBA, David Asatiani, referred in his opening speech to the currently insufficient statutory regulation of lawyers’ fees in Georgia and pleaded for the introduction of a minimum rate for lawyers. He said that the current situation had led to unfair competition and damage to the reputation of all lawyers.

As the expert discussions continued, Giorgi Turazashvili, a member of the GBA executive committee, presented the basics of the remuneration system for Georgian lawyers and drew the participants’ attention to some other fundamental problems. The German lawyer and notary, Dagmar Beck-Bever, explained the cornerstones of the system for lawyers’ fees in Germany. The Georgian participants were particularly interested in the scale of charges and fees in Germany, which was analysed and discussed in great detail. At the end of the discussions, it was agreed that lawyers’ fees in Georgia should be reformed, in the interests of clients looking for legal advice and the lawyers themselves.

The German legal system has traditionally served as a role model in Georgia. It was also agreed, therefore, that the reforms in lawyers’ fees should be based on the German model. Both IRZ and the German Federal Bar Association offered their full support to their Georgian colleagues as they continue their efforts to introduce reforms.