Seminar on “Mediation in labour disputes”

Grafik: IRZ
Grafik: IRZ

On 14 April 2021, IRZ, together with the Centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution at the Ministry of Justice of Montenegro, organised an online seminar on "Mediation in labour disputes". Mediation, as a method of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), makes an important contribution to relieving the judiciary and accelerating proceedings in Montenegro. Supporting Montenegro in this area is also part of the “Joint declaration on legal cooperation” between the Ministry of Justice of Montenegro and the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection. The event was primarily aimed at certified mediators and those interested in the topic of "mediation".

The seminar was opened by Marina Lutovac, Director of the Centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution, and Dr Stefan Pürner, Head of Section at IRZ.
The introductory lecture "Protecting employees in individual labour disputes" was given by Ivan Knežević, a member of staff at the Centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution and a specialist in labour disputes. He presented how labour law has developed since Montenegro's independence and as it prepares to join the EU.

The German speaker Martin Michaelis, a mediator and lawyer with over 20 years of experience in the field of alternative dispute resolution, focused on the essential elements of mediation in his presentation and discussed the advantages and disadvantages of mediation as a means of alternative dispute resolution. The IRZ expert also used German practices to explain the use of mediation in labour law. Lively discussions between the participants ensued straight after this lecture.

After a short break, Martin Michaelis divided the participants into small groups to discuss previously defined questions. The results of these discussions were then addressed in a plenary session and recorded on a virtual pinboard. The results showed that there is a requirement for further training for mediators in Montenegro and that mediation in Montenegro needs to gain more acceptance among the population.

The large number of participants, with around 70 people interested in mediation attending, as well as their exceptionally lively participation and numerous proposals from the small group discussions, underline the relevance of the topic for Montenegro.

Online seminar on the “Prevention of money laundering in notary services”

Graphics: IRZ
Graphics: IRZ

On 9 April 2021, IRZ organised an online seminar on the “Prevention of money laundering in notary services” alongside the Notary Chamber of Montenegro and the German Federal Chamber of Notaries (BNotK). The background for this seminar was the rating of Montenegro by the European Commission as only “moderately prepared” in this area, with the law in its written form already being largely harmonised.

The event was opened by Igor Stijović, Vice-President of the Notary Chamber of Montenegro, Justizrat Richard Bock, Chief Representative of the German Federal Chamber of Notaries for international affairs, and Simon Kiunke from IRZ. Dr. Robert Weber then went on to welcome the participants on behalf of the German Embassy.

IRZ Head of Section Dr. Stefan Pürner started the event with a lecture on “IRZ support for notary services in South-East Europe”, during which he emphasised in particular the role played by notary services as a traditional continental European legal institution of the preventive administration of justice.

The main lectures at the event were:

  • “Money laundering as a criminal offence in practice” by Evica Durutović, a judge at the Higher Regional Court of Podgorica, special department for fighting organised crime and corruption
  • “The role of notaries in dealing with money laundering” by Dr. Andreas Bernert, a notary assessor at the German Federal Chamber of Notarie
  • “The prevention of money laundering in notarial practice” by Dr. Lovro Tomasic, a notary and representative of international affairs at the German Federal Chamber of Notaries.

The event established that Montenegro has largely implemented the EU legal framework, which means there are many similarities between the applicable legal provisions in the two countries. This ensured that the information provided about experiences in Germany was all the more relevant for the Montenegrin participants.

The many examples of standard cases in which there was a suspicion of money laundering were also helpful. Based on cases from judicial practice in Montenegro, it became clear that the investigation authorities there frequently do not investigate complaints of money laundering with sufficient thoroughness. Unlike in Germany, lawyers in Montenegro have a privileged position over notaries with regards to their reporting obligations as professionals providing legal advice.

Online exchange of experiences on constitutional issues concerning the Coronavirus pandemic

Graphics: IRZ
Graphics: IRZ

On 25 May 2020, constitutional court judges from Montenegro discussed various constitutional issues in connection with the Coronavirus pandemic with IRZ expert Professor Dr. Udo Steiner, a former judge at the German Federal Constitutional Court.

During the online event, Professor Steiner presented a selection of cases from the German Federal Constitutional Court, in particular on the subjects of

  • freedom of movement,
  • religious meetings,
  • right to protest and
  • right to pursue an occupation or business activity.

Professor Steiner talked about the decisions already made by administrative courts and by the German Federal Constitutional Court in connection with the Coronavirus pandemic. He stipulated that most of these decisions had been incorporated in interim legal protection measures and had largely verified the relevant measures taken by the government to contain the pandemic. Professor Steiner went on to say that it was, however, essential for the justifications behind the decisions to be checked regularly. The principle of proportionality plays a central role here.

The Acting President of the Constitutional Court, Desanka Lopičić, thanked the IRZ for the exchange of thoughts and experiences, which was organised at short notice, and for providing translations of relevant decisions made by the German Federal Constitutional Court. Together with her colleagues, she presented some cases from the Constitutional Court of Montenegro in connection with state measures to deal with the Coronavirus pandemic.

Desanka Lopičić explained that, unlike other countries in the region, Montenegro had not imposed a state of emergency but had introduced various individual measures to restrict the spread of the virus and that some of these measures have currently been presented to the Constitutional Court for review.

During this exchange of experiences, it was agreed that the IRZ would promptly provide the Constitutional Court of Montenegro with further translations of current decisions made by the German Federal Constitutional Court. The Constitutional Court of Montenegro is one of the few constitutional courts in South-East Europe, which not only uses the case law of the German Federal Constitutional Court as a point of reference, but also regularly quotes its decisions.