The speakers of the Autumn Academy with Dr. Frauke Bachler, Chief Executive of the IRZ, Prof. Dr Klaus Weber, Member of the Executive Board of the publishing house C.H. Beck, and Project Area Manager Angela Schmeink (below from left to right)
The speakers of the Autumn Academy with Dr. Frauke Bachler, Chief Executive of the IRZ, Prof. Dr Klaus Weber, Member of the Executive Board of the publishing house C.H. Beck, and Project Area Manager Angela Schmeink (below from left to right)

A generous grant from the publishing house C.H. Beck enabled IRZ to host the multilateral online conference "National and international commercial Law - Selected Aspects and Current Developments" from 16 to 18 November 2021 for an extended group of participants from nine of our partner states. The participants consisted of young lawyers and lawyers from academia and practice from the countries of the Western Balkans and the Eastern Partnership (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia as well as Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine). Prof. Dr. Klaus Weber, member of the management board of the publishing house C.H. Beck, gave a warm welcome to the participants before the programme was opened.

In the first part of the conference, a total of 110 participants dealt with German civil, commercial and company law as well as civil procedural law, furthermore with international private law and international civil procedural law. 

The speakers, Dr Tobias Oelsner, judge at the Berlin Regional Court, and Prof. Dr Florian Eichel, professor of civil procedural law and private international law at the University of Bern, succeeded excellently in conveying the principles of the complex subject matter in an understandable and clear manner. A practical addition was the film produced by IRZ for this conference: in it, a professional judge at a German court negotiates a fictional commercial law case using the UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods. In this way, the course of a trial was illustrated using an example and could then be discussed with the speakers.

The second day was dedicated to the legal field of intellectual property: Dr Oliver Schön, judge at the Munich I Regional Court, used illustrative cases to explain judicial practice in copyright law as well as the legal protection of designs, trademarks and utility models.

Kay Weidner, press officer at the Federal Cartel Office, familiarised the participants with the legal foundations of cartel law for the protection of free competition. He presented current examples from the digital world on the other relevant regulations - merger control and abuse control.

Dr Ina Schnurr, judge at the Federal Patent Court, rounded off the day with remarks on German patent law. The focus was on nullity actions, which are regularly brought in connection with patent infringement disputes. It was of particular interest that the judges working at the Federal Patent Court are either technically trained or have a technical education and an additional legal qualification, as the subjects of the proceedings are regularly technically highly complex. 

The third day focused on arbitration. The German Arbitration Institute (DIS) was presented by its Deputy Secretary General, Viktor von Essen. He gave an overview of the competences for the administration of arbitration proceedings and other alternative dispute resolution procedures. The central set of rules are the DIS Arbitration Rules, which were only amended in 2021 to increase efficiency, quality assurance and transparency. The presentations outlined the individual phases of commercial disputes before the DIS Arbitration Courts with their opportunities and risks and were underpinned with statistical data. 

The necessary considerations in connection with arbitration proceedings from the point of view of an affected party were discussed by the lawyer Jan K. Schäfer, partner at King & Spalding, who has many years of relevant experience. He went into the important points of reference in the individual fields of action with a view to tactics and strategy. Due to his extensive practical experience, individual aspects could be deepened on the basis of concrete cases against a realistic background.

The participants expressed great appreciation for the conference programme and emphasised that it had proved extremely useful for their own professional context. The exchange with the other foreign colleagues was also well received.  

The conference language was German, but thanks to a technically professional infrastructure and excellent language skills, the simultaneous (relay) interpretation in three foreign languages was flawless throughout.