Sixth seminar for Arabic-speaking refugees from a legal background

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.

Seminar on tenancy law and family law for Arabic-speaking refugee legal experts

Graphics: IRZ
Graphics: IRZ

On 24 and 25 February 2021, IRZ organised an online seminar on “Tenancy law and family law” for Arabic-speaking refugee legal experts from Syria and Iraq. The event was financed by the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV).

IRZ Head of Section Sidi Mohamed Khairy opened the seminar, welcomed the participants and introduced the main topics. The objective of this event was to explain the basics of tenancy law and family law in Germany to the participants and to allow them to broaden the knowledge they have already gained in these areas. As the participants introduced themselves, it became clear how much they already knew about the law: Some of the participants had already finished their law studies in their home countries and were already working as lawyers there. Others had studied at a German university and completed a Master of Laws (LL.M.).

Dr. Arnd Weishaupt and Dr. Sven Lütkemeier, both judges at the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf, took part in the event as IRZ experts. During the seminar, they gave lectures on the following topics, giving some examples of practical cases:

Tenancy law

  • basics
  • viewing properties
  • main contents of agreements
  • defects in the rented property
  • usage in accordance with the contract
  • increasing rents
  • running costs
  • ending the rental agreement including protection against termination of lease during the Coronavirus pandemic

Family law

  • Parent-child relationship:
    • parental care
    • rights and duties of access
    • child support
  • Matrimonial law: Separation and divorce
    • assignment of the marital home
    • divorce: prerequisites and impacts of divorce
    • support payments from spouses

The participants made the most of the lectures to have lively discussions and an intense exchange of experiences with the experts. Because of this positive response, IRZ is planning further events with the participants this year, in particular an event held over several days to cover other topics relevant to the law, which the participants will be able to attend in person.

Some of the participants will also have the opportunity during the year to complete a two-week internship at a law firm or in a commercial enterprise. The objectives of these internships are to give them insights into practical legal work, develop their own networks and make it easier for them to find work in the German labour market.

15th Hanover PreMoot on arbitration and the basic principles of the rule of law

Graphics: IRZ
Graphics: IRZ

From 15 to 20 February 2021, the 15th Hanover PreMoot Week was organised by IRZ, the German Federal Bar Association (BRAK) and the Institute for Procedural Law and Attorney Regulations (IPA) at the University of Hanover. Because of the global pandemic, the PreMoot was held online for the first time this year.

The event included a Moot Court competition involving about 250 teams from more than 60 countries, which serves as preparation for the Willem C. Vis Moot, the biggest and most famous civil rights Moot Court in the world. This year, the participants could also enjoy a comprehensive programme of lectures and discussions. More than 30 well-known university lecturers and practitioners gave a total of 21 lectures to teach and discuss current issues on international commercial law (CISG), arbitration, the autonomy of lawyers and the basic principles of the rule of law. The conference was organised in the sense of a dialogue on the Rule of Law to carry the German understanding of the Rule of Law into the world.

With the support of the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, IRZ was able to attract well-known speakers to discuss the following subjects:

  • Recent developments at UNCITRAL and Investor State Dispute Settlement Reform
  • Equal and Legal Representation in Arbitration

After the conference, the students were able to practise for the upcoming Vis Moot in various hearings over two days. The virtual format allowed more teams and students than ever before to take part in the PreMoot. More than 100 teams from 40 nations (including Brazil, USA, Spain, Portugal, Tunisia, Algeria, Georgia and China) signed up to prepare themselves for the Willem C. Vis Moot and practice pleading their cases before a jury.

IRZ hopes to be able to continue its successful partnership with the IPA and BRAK in future and is looking forward to the next joint PreMoot.