Two-day professional exchange with the constitutional courts and the Supreme Courts

Kosovo, Republic of Albania

The German Foundation for International Legal Cooperation (IRZ) organised the specialist conference “Cooperation of ordinary general jurisdiction and constitutional court jurisdiction for safeguarding the rule of law – Experiences from Kosovo, Albania and Germany” on 17th and 18th May 2022 in Kosovo.

More than 80 judges as well as academic employees of both the constitutional courts and the Supreme Courts of the Republics of Kosovo and Albania shared their experiences with respect to allocation of rights and duties between the constitutional court jurisdiction and the ordinary general jurisdiction. On behalf of the IRZ, Prof. Dr Reinhard Gaier, Judge at the Federal Constitutional Court (former), made a significant contribution to the event from the German side.

In their welcome address, the four presiding judges emphasised the importance of a regional exchange of experiences across courts and were reminiscent of the development of the relationships of both the general jurisdictions.

The first panel of the conference dwelt on the responsibility of the constitutional courts and the role of the ordinary courts in constitutional interpretation of laws. In his keynote address, Prof. Dr Gaier presented the process of precise judicial review and differentiated between the judicial competence of each court and the monopoly of rejection of the Federal Constitutional Court. The four participants from the four courts represented later discussed the practical implementation of the concrete process of judicial review in Kosovo and Albania and discussed current developments and problems.

The second panel discussed the topic of obviously incorrect application of the law and legal interpretation by the ordinary general jurisdiction and proffered the possibility of a comprehensive consideration from the point of view of both constitutional courts and Supreme Courts. In the process, the case-law of the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) as well as the German practice presented by Prof Dr Gaier was also included and discussed. In this context, Prof Dr Gaier stressed that the German Federal Constitutional Court examines only the constitutional law and limits its monitoring of the decisions of the ordinary courts only to violations of the constitution.

The first day of the event ended with lively discussions between the participants and a summarising of the conclusions by Prof Dr Gaier.

On the following day, the question of consolidation of the national case-law and legal certainty was discussed in a third panel, as an essential component of a fair proceeding. While the Albanian and Kosovan speakers mainly adduced to the case-law of the ECHR in this respect, Prof Dr Gaier highlighted this question – as per German practice – under the constitutional principle of rule of law.

The fourth and last panel focussed on the role of the ordinary courts in the full implementation of the judgements of the constitutional courts for compensating for breaches of human rights. In this context, interim relief due to lengthy proceedings and its effect on the ordinary general jurisdiction was discussed.

The event was received with great interest by the participants. The introductory speeches by Prof Dr Gaier and the subsequent presentations by the Kosovan and Albanian participants provided a basis for an intensive exchange on experiences as well as current developments and challenges in Kosovo and Albania. The participants also discussed possible solutions based on the respective legal systems.

The event was financed by the Federal Ministry of Justice within the framework of institutional cooperation.

The cooperation with the constitutional courts and the Supreme Courts of both countries is expected to be pursued and intensified in the future.