During the seminar
During the seminar

From 23 to 26 August 2021, IRZ organised its sixth multi-day training event for Arabic-speaking lawyers in Bonn, Germany. The subjects covered this time were the “Basics of Asylum Law” and “Soft Skills - Key Qualifications for Lawyers”. The event, which was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV), focussed in particular on the current Coronavirus protection regulation for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Once the seminar had been opened by IRZ, the fifteen participants introduced themselves. While some had completed their studies in their home countries in the Middle East and had already worked as lawyers there, others had completed a Master's degree in Law (LL.M.) at a German university. 

The seminar offered the participants the opportunity to learn about the basics of German asylum law and the asylum procedure in Germany. It also covered the key skills required for lawyers. In this context, the speakers underlined the importance of social competence. 

Dr Arnd Weishaupt, a judge at the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf, Uwe Stark, a judge at the Local Court of Siegen, and Prof. Dr Lasse Gundelach, a lawyer and lecturer at the Catholic University of Applied Sciences Mainz, participated in the course on behalf of IRZ. They presented the following main topics using case studies from practice:

  • The basics of asylum law: an introduction to asylum law in Germany, residence permits, time limits, toleration, family reunification, access to the labour market, practical case studies. 
  • Soft Skills – key qualifications for lawyers: legal argumentation skills and rhetoric, the convincing presentation of legal content and results, the efficient learning of legal knowledge, effective group work, time management and self-management skills. 

In addition to the expert presentations on the above-mentioned topics, the participants also had the opportunity to have an online expert discussion with Felix Ross. The Director of Legal Affairs at the United Nations, UN Bonn, introduced them to the work and organisational structure of his department, as well as work and internship opportunities. 

The participants also attended court hearings in the civil, economic and criminal divisions of the Regional Court of Bonn.

The seminar featured some lively discussions. The participants had intense discussions with the experts about their practical experiences. 

The course helped to promote the social and professional integration of Arab refugee lawyers and their understanding of legal contexts in Germany in a sustainable way.

Another important part of the training concept involves internships for the participants in a law firm or commercial enterprise, which should allow them to gain an insight into practical work, develop a network and make it easier for them to find work in the German employment market.

All the seminars that have been held for Arabic-speaking refugee lawyers from the Middle East region since 2016 have been successful and relevant for the further qualification of the participants. IRZ therefore intends to continue the training project on further legally relevant topics.