Conference of the Memorandum Group of Associations of Judges in Bonn

During the conference
During the conference

On 3 and 4 December 2019, the IRZ, together with the German Association of Judges, organised an international conference of the Memorandum Group of Associations of Judges on “International cooperation in civil and criminal affairs” at the Regional Court of Bonn.

The IRZ has supported the annual expert meetings of the Associations of Judges from Armenia, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Poland, Ukraine and Uzbekistan since 2011. The conference serves as a platform for the exchange of experiences between representatives of the judiciary from all these countries. It enables participants to forge stronger regional links and exchange experiences on similar problems or discuss current legal reforms.

This year’s conference focussed on the following topics:

  • Acceptance and enforcement of judgements
  • Extradition to other countries, including the European arrest warrant
  • International investigations into computer and internet crime

Thirteen representatives of the Associations of Judges in the Memorandum Group took part in this event. The German Association of Judges (DRB) was represented by its Chairman, Jens Gnisa. He opened the conference alongside the President of the Regional Court of Bonn, Dr. Stefan Weismann, and the Managing Director of the IRZ, Dr. Frauke Bachler.

The conference was also supported by five experts from Germany:

  • Dr. Jan Peter Teubel, Department I A 5 (Private International Law), German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection
  • Dr. Sebastian Trautmann, Head of Department III 5 (EU affairs and legal assistance to foreign countries in criminal cases), Ministry of Justice for the North Rhine-Westphalia region
  • Dr. Matthias Modrey, Senior Public Prosecutor, Prosecutor General’s office in Düsseldor
  • Markus Hartmann, Senior Public Prosecutor as Senior Head of Department, Head of the ZAC NRW (Cybercrime Centre)
  • Dr. Barbara Vogelsang, Senior Public Prosecutor, Public Prosecutor's Office in Münster
During the meeting, the German speakers and participants in the conference shed light on many important aspects of international cooperation in civil and criminal affairs, as well as on the associated challenges and potential for finding solutions. This ensured that, once again this year, the event achieved its objective of supporting international dialogue on the rule of law.

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.