On 16 and 17 December 2019, the IRZ organised its fourth successive “Introduction to German law” seminar for Arabic-speaking law professionals and lawyers from Syria and Iraq. The aim of this series of events is for participants to learn about the structure of the German court system and about German criminal and civil law. The focus was on using illustrative case examples to shed light both on German legal practice and on the interplay between various judicial authorities, as well as on referring to the everyday experiences of the refugees and discussing these together. This not only led to animated exchanges and plenty of interesting questions, it also encourages the integration of refugees into German society and enhances their understanding of legal issues. The Syrian law professionals were frequently able to draw parallels between the German and Syrian or Iraqi legal systems.

The seminar was led by the experienced judges Uwe Stark, a judge at the Local Court of Siegen, and Dr. Arndt Weishaupt, a judge at the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf.

Although there are limited prospects for refugees from a legal background to gain a foothold in the legal profession in Germany, the seminar provides them with the possibility of expanding on the knowledge gained in their home countries and address the similarities and differences between the two legal systems.

The seminar was financed by the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV).