5th German-Russian legal forum on family law in Hamburg

During the 5th German-Russian legal forum in Hamburg
During the 5th German-Russian legal forum in Hamburg
Russian Federation

On 25 June 2019, EU Member States approved new regulations to provide better protection for children in transnational family affairs. The number of international divorces is currently at around 9,000 per year in Germany alone. For this reason, the IRZ, together with the German Federal Bar Association and the Russian Federal Bar Association, organised the 5th German-Russian legal forum on “German-Russian transnational family disputes”, which was held on 15 November 2019 in Hamburg.

IRZ expert Christian Höhn from the German Federal Office of Justice (department of international child custody, child abduction and the protection of children and adults) gave a lecture on “International family law – child custody and child abduction”. The Russian members of the audience were extremely interested in his lecture. They were particularly interested in the areas governed by the Hague Convention on Child Abduction and the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children.

From the Russian side, lawyer Olga Vlasova and law professional Elga Sykiäinen gave lectures on the legal provisions for transnational matrimonial and family matters in Russia and shed light on the following subjects:

  • registration of marriage
  • possibility of divorce in Russia
  • matrimonial property regime: common property of the married couple, marriage contracts
  • rights of custody and access: determination of the applicable legislation, establishment of parentage (including surrogacy)
  • obligations of family members to pay maintenance
  • international child abduction: national law, case law, enforcement of judgements

Around thirty lawyers attended the event, including thirteen from the Russian Federation.

The event successfully met the objective of holding intense expert discussions between German and Russian lawyers in the field of family law. Both sides expressed the wish to continue this series of events in order to work together on developing potential solutions for the complex issues in this area.

Study visit to Munich on “Expert witnesses in Germany”

During talks at the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) in Munich
During talks at the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) in Munich
Russian Federation

From 5 to 8 November 2019, the IRZ organised a study visit to Munich on “Expert witnesses in Germany” as part of a project supported by the German Foreign Office. As well as four patent attorneys from Moscow and St. Petersburg, two representatives from the Russian Federal Service for Intellectual Property (Rospatent), which is the equivalent of the German Patent and Trademark Office, and a scientific officer from the expert witness centre at the Russian Ministry of Justice also took part in the study trip.

This visit gave participants the opportunity to visit the Regional Court of Munich I and to discuss the following topics with judge Anna-Lena Klein:

  • Overview of the basic and specific principles of the Munich procedure in patent lawsuits, at which expert witnesses are only heard in particularly complex and rare patent lawsuits
  • calling upon expert witnesses in individual cases
  • advantages and disadvantages of expert assessments

The Russian delegation was also welcomed by the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) in Munich and the German Federal Patent Court, where they were introduced to IHK certification for expert witnesses. Another subject discussed during the visit was the specific nature of so-called technical judges at the German Federal Patent Court. These are all judges with training in a technical and/or scientific field.

The IRZ also organised expert discussions with Manuel Soria Parra and Andrea Kabisch from the “Meissner Bolte mbB” firm of patent attorneys. This meeting covered the following points:

  • uniform examination of patent attorneys according to the German Patent Attorney Code (PAO)
  • the procedure for authorising and appointing patent attorneys
  • work in court cases with expert witnesses
  • patent attorneys as expert witnesses
The study visit provided an opportunity for intense expert discussions between the Russian delegation and their German colleagues, which will be continued next year if possible.

Russo-German Workshop on "Judicial Protection of Social Rights in Russia and Germany" in St. Petersburg

Participants in the workshop held at the State University of St. Petersburg
Participants in the workshop held at the State University of St. Petersburg
Russian Federation

On 21 June 2019, the IRZ organised a Russo-German workshop on "Judicial Protection of Social Rights in Russia and Germany" in St. Petersburg together with the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy and the State University of St. Petersburg. 

The German speakers at the workshop were:

  • Prof. Dr. Ulrich Becker, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy,
  • Andreja Bogataj, doctoral student at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy,
  • Dr. Olga Chesalina, research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy, and
  • Professor Dr. Richard Giesen, holder of the Chair for Social Law, Labour Law and Civil Law at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich.

The main Russian participants included jurisprudence scholars from the Chairs of Constitutional Law, Civil Procedure, Labour Law and Occupational Safety and Health at State University of St. Petersburg.

Three focal points in the workshop addressed the following topics: 

  • Constitutional protection of social rights in Russia and Germany;
  • Design of non-constitutional judicial protection of social rights in Russia and Germany. An exchange on German experience with specialised social jurisdiction;
  • The importance of "law of judges" in social law.

Above all, presentations given by the German speakers on experience with specialised jurisdiction over social matters were of particular interest to the Russian participants. In Russia, the regular courts have jurisdiction over disputes relating to social security rights (e.g. pension claims). There are no separate courts having jurisdiction over this area. In addition, the question of whether disputes in the field of social law should be dealt with in court according to civil procedural or administrative procedural law is a controversial issue in Russia at present. The German participants were very interested to learn that civil procedural rules may also be applied in Russia.

The event was successful in its aim of fostering a dialogue between German and Russian scholars in the field of social law. The lively discussions that took place illustrated the differences that exist in the field of social law between the two countries and underscored that the participants are interested in an expert exchange which both countries can benefit from. In addition, the event provided foundations for further discussions above and beyond this workshop.