Insight into German legal practice for Macedonian lawyers and public prosecutors

Higher Regional Court Judge Dr. Tobias Gülich welcomes the participants
Higher Regional Court Judge Dr. Tobias Gülich welcomes the participants

From 13 to 19 May 2018, a group of twelve female judges and public prosecutors from Macedonia was invited by the IRZ to Bonn for a working visit. The visit took place as part of a programme to support young Macedonian legal practitioners, which was made possible by the German Federal Foreign Office. Since most of the exclusively female legal practitioners work in criminal law, the programme focussed mainly on this area. There were also events on the subject of civil law.

The visit began with a one-day event, during which former Senior Public Prosecutor, Manfred Stotz, gave an introduction into German criminal law and in particular criminal procedure law. This was followed by expert talks with Public Prosecutor Stephanie Faßbender at the Public Prosecutor's Office in Bonn, where the group was welcomed by its deputy head, Senior Public Prosecutor Annelie Meinert. The working trip continued with visits to the police headquarters in Bonn and to criminal hearings, during which the above-mentioned subjects were looked at in more detail.

The Macedonian guests were welcomed to the police headquarters in Bonn by Chief Commissioner Ursula Brohl-Sowa. Afterwards, they talked with Head of Criminal Investigations, Martin Göbel, Deputy Director of the Crime Division, and Rainer Bell, Detective Chief Inspector and Director of Crime Division 21, which deals with fighting organised crime. At the Regional Court, they were able to observe a criminal trial directed by the President, Claudia Gelber.

The former President of the Higher Regional Court of Cologne, Johannes Riedel, gave an introduction to civil law, including judicial service law, with a particular focus on official appraisals. This area was looked at in more depth at the Regional Court of Bonn, following a welcome by its Vice-President, Dr. Markus Weber, and the Department Head of Presidential Administration, regional court judge Dr. Tobias Gülich, with a visit to several civil trials, which were directed by the presiding judge, Eva Hoppe.

The programme was rounded off with other appointments, such as a visit to the library at the criminal law institute at the Faculty of Law in Bonn.

The event revealed a number of differences between the approaches in the two countries, which are caused not only by legal regulations but also by country-specific customs and traditions. The civil proceedings were summed up by the participants as follows: “In Germany, the judges work towards settlements and the parties accept this. The judges also point out to each party the shortcomings in their submissions, without giving the impression that the court is prejudiced.”

To increase the sustainability of the working visit, the participants were given a whole range of translations of legislation and other texts on German law, which have been produced over the years as part of the wealth of publications by the IRZ in South-East Europe.

Further written material, which was used during the expert discussions and was met with great interest by the Macedonian guests, will be translated into Macedonian following the working visit. The range of topics encompasses court press releases to a sample agreement between a leading senior public prosecutor’s office and a police headquarters about cooperation in criminal cases.

“Supporting young legal talent in Macedonia” project to help with legal reform

The Director of the Law Academy, Aneta Arnaudovska, greeting the participants.  To her right: Ambassador Thomas Gerberich
The Director of the Law Academy, Aneta Arnaudovska, greeting the participants. To her right: Ambassador Thomas Gerberich

The IRZ has been appointed by the German Federal Foreign Office (AA) to lead the “Supporting young legal talent in Macedonia” project. Within this framework, young Macedonian judges and public prosecutors will learn about German law and the way their German colleagues work during a working visit to Germany.

Before being allowed to take part in this trip, prospective participants must pass an exam at the end of a three-day introductory course in German law, which was held from 27 to 29 November in Skopje.

This introductory course was designed to underline the differences between Germany and Macedonia, both in terms of the law in its written form and legal practice. As well as legal regulations, such as provisional enforceability and the institution of the German Rechtspfleger (judicial officer), the active management of German civil proceedings by judges was also one of the subjects of discussion. The exam consisted of an oral test and a written paper, which had to be taken anonymously by seat number – something that is unusual in Macedonia.

At the end of the event, speeches were made by the German Ambassador, Thomas Gerberich, and by the Director of the Macedonian Academy of Judges and Public Prosecutors, Judge Aneta Arnaudovska. The latter emphasised the successful cooperation with the IRZ since the Academy was first set up eleven years ago, which she credited with excellent results.

Ambassador Gerberich pointed out that the German and Macedonian legal systems both fall under continental European law and have already been harmonised with EU law. This makes the German system of particular interest to Macedonian law professionals. He also said that the measures are coming at the right time, since they are taking place at the beginning of the legal reform planned by the new government.

The leading Macedonian legal online portal “” also reported extensively on the event, which was the first of its kind. The report pointed out the main difference between Germany and Macedonia, which is that in Germany judges are assessed above all for their social expertise.

Following the working visit to Germany by the young law professionals, which is planned for the first quarter of 2018, a debriefing seminar will take place in Macedonia, during which the event will be assessed. During this seminar, they will also work out which ideas could be implemented by the participants in their own practices.

Macedonian publication with prominent authors on the consequences of Brexit

Brexit edition of “Европско право“ (Europarecht, or EP in short)
Brexit edition of “Европско право“ (Europarecht, or EP in short)

The latest edition of the Macedonian journal “Европско право“ (European law, or EP for short) on the consequences of Brexit is hot off the press. For six years now, the IRZ has been publishing this journal in cooperation with legal experts from the Faculty of Law in Skopje.

Single-topic edition provides insights into discussions abroad

The latest issue of this journal is a single-topic edition dealing with the history and the possible impacts of Brexit. This topic is covered by authors from various countries.

A large part of this edition consists of articles already published in foreign journals and printed as translations, which provide an insight into various questions discussed abroad and the different opinions held there, also to Macedonian readers without foreign language skills.

Strong support by various German journals

The broad range of articles is owed to the support of many individuals, editors of other publications and their publishers. Several of the translated papers are taken from the journal “Südosteuropa“ (Southeast Europe), which is published by the Institute for East and Southeast European Studies. Another article was first published in German in the journal "notar" issued by the German Association of Notaries (DNotV) and one paper, also in German, in "Recht der internationalen Wirtschaft“ (International Business Law, RIW).

Prominent authors

Prominent authors include, amongst others:

  • Erhard Busek, former Vice Chancellor of Austria and former coordinator of the Stability Pact for Southeast Europe,
  • Dr. Oliver Vossius, President of the German Association of Notaries, and
  • lawyer Dr. Thomas R. Klötzel, Stuttgart and Shanghai.

In addition, various experts for Southeast Europe have made a contribution to the publication: Andrea Despot, Hannes Granditis, Wolfgang Höpke, Dušan Relić, Gabriella Schubert and Sevasti Trubeta. John Breilly gives an account of the situation from a British point of view.

This look at the foreign legal press is preceded by an introductory article from a Macedonian point of view by Dr. Julija Brsakoska Bazerkoska. The picture is rounded off by a report covering the event “Southeast Europe between expectation and disenchantment” organised by the Southeast Europe Association.

Website reaches a wider audience

The printed version of EP is distributed via the IRZ’s wide network in Macedonia which has developed over more than a decade. To increase its reach and sustainability, this publication of the IRZ’s Southeast Europe section has its own website.

It provides the EP journal, but also the different individual articles and abstracts in German for download.

EP is edited by Dr. Aleksandar Spasov, Faculty of Law in Skopje, and Dr. Stefan Pürner, IRZ.