Multilateral - annual report 2019

Participants of the ninth “IRZ Summer School German Law“ on the steps of the old town hall in Bonn
Participants of the ninth “IRZ Summer School German Law“ on the steps of the old town hall in Bonn

Multilateral Programmes

Overall Concept

In 2019, IRZ again conducted a series of multilateral events and internship programmes in particular. The aim of these programmes is to provide a communication platform for legal professionals from various partner states and from Germany to discuss current legal reforms, to exchange thoughts on new legal areas or, more generally, to share challenges in everyday legal practice. As multipliers, the participants are then in a position to present the solutions and strategies from other countries in their home systems and thus to promote reform processes in the form of best practice. The formats also help to build durable networks between members of the judiciary or the independent legal professions (lawyers, notaries) from abroad.

IRZ internship programmes are particularly successful. Participants can usually spend several weeks acquiring insight into everyday work in German law firms, courts, public prosecutors‘ offices or notaries‘ offices.

In addition to the traditional German programmes, IRZ has also been offering some programmes in English since 2016 in order to address a wider target group. These stays are adapted to consider the particular challenges associated with translation in a legal context, while at the same time providing participants with the greatest possible degree of practical insight. Among these offers is an English-language programme for civil and commercial judges, which was again held in 2019.

A two-step programme in French began in 2019 for the target group of legal professionals in the Maghreb countries. As a first step, judges, public prosecutors and notaries from Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia participated in a one-week introductory seminar in Hammamet, Tunisia, during September 2019. The introductory course outlined the basic tenets of the German legal system as well as important and specific aspects for the work of these three professional groups. The second step will be a practical phase in Germany over the first half of 2020. IRZ plans to continue these new formats, sometimes alternating with the German-language programmes, given the consistently positive feedback from participants.

Focus of Activity in 2019

International Conference of the Memorandum Group of several national associations of judges in Bonn

Cooperating with the German Judges Association, IRZ organised an international conference of the Memorandum Group of several national associations of judges on “International Cooperation in Civil and Criminal Matters“ on 3 and 4 December 2019 in Bonn. Thirteen representatives of the Associations of Judges in Armenia, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Poland, Ukraine and Uzbekistan attended this conference, which has established itself as a platform for exchange of experience between judges. The German Judges Association, represented by its chairman Jens Gnisa, was involved on the German side, as has been the case at previous conferences of this kind. Professional legal support for the conference was provided by numerous German experts.

IRZ has been promoting this professional exchange between representatives of the judiciary from its partner countries since 2011. The aim is for the participants to form stronger networks across the region and to exchange experiences on similar problems or current legal reforms.

This year‘s conference focused on the recognition and enforcement of judgements, extradition traffic with foreign countries including the European arrest warrant, and foreign investigations into computer and cybercrime. During the conference, the participants and the German experts thoroughly illuminated important aspects of international cooperation in civil and criminal law matters and the problems involved, as well as possible solutions. At this year‘s event, IRZ again achieved its goal of promoting dialogue between the above-mentioned countries.

Ninth “IRZ Summer School on German Law“

Now in its ninth year, the “IRZ Summer School on German Law“ took place in Bonn from 7 to 13 July 2019. It was attended by 34 students from ten IRZ partner states: Armenia (3), Belarus (3), Georgia (3), Kazakhstan (2), Kosovo (3), Morocco (1), Russia (3), Serbia (6), Tunisia (1) and Ukraine (9). The summer school was inaugurated in 2011 as an addition to the supplementary studies for an introduction to German law at the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv (Western Ukraine). This explains why Ukraine continues to provide the largest group of participants. Even after nine years, this format is still in great demand. Excellent German skills are a prerequisite for participation.

Like last time, this year‘s summer school featured lectures on the following legal areas:

  • Protection of fundamental rights by the Federal Constitutional Court, the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights
  • Civil law: Company law and insolvency law
  • European civil and commercial law
  • Arbitration
  • Criminal law and criminal procedure law
  • Law of lawyers
  • Methodology

In 2019, IRZ Summer School again included a visit to trials at a civil and a criminal chamber at the Regional Court of Bonn, as well as discussions at the University of Bonn, during which participants were able to learn more about study opportunities for foreign students and postgraduates. In view of the very positive response and other factors, IRZ Summer School will be offered in the coming years as well, in order to continue addressing and promoting law students and young legal professionals in IRZ partner states.

Fourth seminar for Arabic-speaking legal professionals

For the fourth successive year, IRZ organised the seminar “Introduction to German Law“ for Arabic-speaking legal professionals from Syria and Iraq on 16 and 17 December 2019. The aim of this event is to provide participants with knowledge of the German court system and German criminal and civil law. A focus was placed on accessible case studies that illustrate German case-law and the interaction between different judicial instances, as well as on the everyday experiences of the refugees, which were addressed in a group discussion. Not only did this lead to a lively exchange and many interested questions, it also promotes the integration of refugees into German society and the understanding of legal contexts. The participating lawyers were frequently able to discover parallels between the German and Syrian or Iraqi legal systems.

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

Although the opportunities for refugee legal professionals to gain a professional foothold in Germany are limited, the seminar provides them with the chance to deepen the knowledge they have acquired in their home country and to identify similarities as well as differences between the legal systems.


The following programmes were held in 2019 in cooperation with, and supported by, the respective professional chambers and associations, as well as the Federal state justice administrations:

  • Two-week internship programme for administrative judges in cooperation with the Association of German Administrative Judges• Six-week internship programme for lawyers in the field of civil and commercial law in cooperation with the German Federal Bar and the German Bar Association
  • Two-week internship programme for notaries in cooperation with the Federal Chamber of Notaries
  • Two-week internship programme for English-speaking civil and commercial judges in cooperation with the German Judges Association and the Federal state justice administrations
  • Three-week internship programme for judges and public prosecutors in cooperation with the German Judges Association and the Federal state justice administrations
  • One-week introductory event in Tunisia for representatives of the judiciary and the notaries‘ office in the Maghreb states in preparation for the visit in 2020