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.

Autumn Academy in Bonn for students from the Eastern Partnership countries and Russia

Participants in the Autumn Academy visiting DHL
Participants in the Autumn Academy visiting DHL

In partnership with the University of Lviv and financed by the German Federal Foreign Office, the IRZ invited 21 students and young professionals from seven countries to an Autumn Academy, which took place in Bonn from 27 October to 3 November 2018.

The students had to have an excellent knowledge of German, as well as a basic understanding of German law, to be allowed to take part in the academy. This meant that many of them had already taken part in the annual “IRZ Summer School on German Law” in Bonn.

During the seven-day course, the participants were able to attend more in-depth lectures on German law. Lawyers, judges, researchers and a professor gave lectures on the following topics:

  • EU law,
  • proceedings at the ECtHR,
  • private international law,
  • IT criminal law,
  • commercial and partnership law,
  • corporation law,
  • arbitration,
  • tax law,
  • the law on renewable energies and
  • insolvency law.

The participants were also given information on international association activities and a lawyer gave a report on his work as a long-term advisor to the IRZ as part of an EU technical assistance project. There were also visits to the German Federal Cartel Office and the DHL head offices in Bonn.

All the participants showed a great deal of interest and commitment. They asked a lot of questions during the discussions and at the end of the event, they took a final test in German.

One important element of this event was for participants to be able to network with one another right from the start, enabling them to maintain professional contact in future. This important objective has already been achieved, as indicated by a post on Facebook.