First internship programme in Tunisia for legal practitioners from the Maghreb

During the seminar
During the seminar

From 6 to 11 October 2019, the IRZ organised the first French-speaking internship programme for legal practitioners from the Maghreb. The introductory seminar on German civil and administrative law, law on lawyers and notarial law was aimed at judges from civil and administrative courts, notaries and lawyers from Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. A total of 30 people from these three countries attended the event in Hammamet, Tunisia.

Representing the German side at the seminar were the following experts:

  • Dr. Sabine Schönknecht, a judge at the Higher Regional Court of Dresden,
  • Dr. Hanns Christian John, a judge at the Higher Regional Administrative Court of Saxony, and
  • Dr. Torsten Jäger, a notary in Landstuhl, Rhineland-Palatinate.

Following a general introduction to German private law, court organisation and judicial autonomy in the Federal Republic of Germany, the various professional groups discussed the following topics:

  • Civil and administrative proceedings in Germany,
  • proceedings at first instance and appeal proceedings,
  • an introduction to German administrative law (including special provisions),
  • an introduction to German notarial law – rules of procedure, ethics, remuneration of notaries, entry to the profession and activity,
  • an introduction to German real estate law and
  • an introduction to inheritance law and German matrimonial property law, including the relevant European private international law.

The discussions were extremely lively and the participants showed a great deal of interest in learning about the German system. The inter-regional approach also gave the participants an opportunity to network and to discuss the various procedures in neighbouring countries and to collect ideas for the upcoming reforms in their own countries.

The second phase of the programme is set to give three representatives from each professional group the opportunity over the next year to attend German courts or chambers of lawyers or notaries and to see how the knowledge they have gained works in practice.

Ninth "IRZ Summer School on German law" held in Bonn

Participants in the Summer School on the steps of the old Bonn Town Hall
Participants in the Summer School on the steps of the old Bonn Town Hall

The IRZ Summer School took place for the ninth time from 7 to 13 July 2019. This year the participants came from ten IRZ partner countries: Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Morocco, Russia, Serbia, Tunisia and Ukraine. Morocco sent a representative for the first time. The IRZ Summer School brings together law students or newcomers to legal professions every year. A very good command of German is required to participate in the events. 

The participants heard lectures on the following topics: 

  • 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,
  • Insolvency law,
  • Arbitration,
  • European civil and commercial law,
  • Criminal law and criminal procedure,
  • Law governing the legal profession and
  • Methodology.

In addition, this year's summer school also included a visit to hearings before a civil and criminal chamber at Bonn Regional Court as well as discussions at the University of Bonn, where participants were able to explore study opportunities for foreign students and postgraduates. 

The event generates a tremendous response every year and will be celebrating its tenth anniversary next year. Since IRZ attaches considerable importance to fostering young lawyers in partner states, in the future it intends to continue offering the younger generation of lawyers this one-week event providing them insight into the main aspects of German law.

Introduction to German law in Bonn for Arabic-speaking refugees from a legal background

The seminar group with lawyer Jens Dieckmann
The seminar group with lawyer Jens Dieckmann

Following on from other seminars held successfully over the past two years, once again this year the IRZ, in cooperation with the BMJV (German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection), organised a two-day seminar on an “Introduction to German law” for Arabic-speaking refugees from a legal background on 10 and 11 December 2018 in Bonn.

With this event, the IRZ aims to make a contribution towards the integration of Arabic-speaking refugee law professionals. Most of the eight participants had completed law studies and some of them used to work as lawyers in Syria.

The two-day workshop included an introduction to the basic principles of German constitutional law, the structure of the judicial system in Germany and the basics of general civil and criminal law. Subjects in the areas of social and asylum law were also discussed intensively. The focus of the course was on using illustrative case examples, which related to the everyday experiences of the refugees. This led to animated exchanges and plenty of interesting questions. The Syrian law professionals were frequently able to draw parallels between the German and Syrian legal systems.

The event was translated consecutively, which was very much appreciated by the participants, since it meant that they could test and develop their understanding of the language.

The prospects for refugees from a legal background to gain a foothold in a legal profession in Germany may be limited, but this project offers them a chance. Having completed the course, the participants can start working in an advisory capacity in a private environment and serve as intermediaries with the German authorities.

This year, the IRZ was supported by experienced speakers, Uwe Stark, a judge at the Local Court of Siegen, Eda Yürüktümen, a judge at the Regional Court of Bonn, and Jens Dieckmann, a lawyer specialising in asylum and criminal law at the Becher & Dieckmann law firm.