Enjoying the German legal language

Participants from three countries at the Faculty of Law in Novi Sad.
Participants from three countries at the Faculty of Law in Novi Sad.

The final weekend of the ‘Introduction to German Law and German Legal Language’ course funded by the German Federal Foreign Office took place in Novi Sad from 15 to 17 December 2023.

The implementation in the form of a hybrid course with weekly online lessons and an attendance weekend also made it possible for interested parties with sufficient knowledge of German from other cities and countries in the region to participate.

The young lawyers from Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia and Serbia completed a final certificate test. Among other things, this included a presentation in German – modelled on the file presentation in German state law examinations – the topic of which was only announced shortly beforehand. ‘Arguing (almost) everything with good arguments’ was the motto to stimulate a controversial discussion. This aspect was given particular consideration in the selection of topics. As part of their presentations, the participants argued questions that they could not prepare for with theoretical knowledge. Is the deliberate killing of extraterrestrials a criminal offence? Are clones ‘descendants’ in the sense of inheritance law and if so, from whom? These and similar questions stimulated the discussions in German, and even if the participants were unable to find a unified point of view, they enjoyed the discussions.

Although the participants had a great deal of respect for this exam, they passed it with great eloquence. As a result, they were not only able to take the certificate home with them, but also the self-confidence that they can speak publicly on legal topics in German.

The young lawyers also used the event to get to know each other and to expand their networks with German-speaking colleagues in the region.

They reported extensively on the event in social networks, an example can be found here.

The event was organised on the initiative of the Faculty of Law at the University of Novi Sad, which also cooperates with the University of Potsdam.

German-speaking IRZ alumni from four countries in Belgrade

Participants of the alumni workshop in Belgrade.
Participants of the alumni workshop in Belgrade.

After a three-year break, the annual workshop of German-speaking IRZ alumni took place in Belgrade from 8 to 10 December 2023 with a focus on "News from German law". This year the event was funded by the publishing house C.H. Beck, Munich.

The workshop offered former participants of various IRZ activities organised in German (e.g. work shadowing for various legal professions, courses in German legal language, summer school in German law, (former) accompanying studies in German law at the Faculty of Law in Sarajevo) an occasion to learn about current developments in the legal system in Germany and in the participating countries and to exchange ideas with each other in German. The participating lawyers from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia and Serbia also had the opportunity to expand their own regional networks.

This year's event focused however on presentations in German, which were given by the alumni themselves and by German-speaking researchers (Professor Dr Alexander Spasov, Skopje, Professor Dr Marko Knežević, Novi Sad, Professor Dr Slavko Djordjević, Kragujevac and – via video link – Professor Dr Meliha Povlakić, Sarajevo).Of particular interest to the practising lawyers was the presentation by Dr Veronika Denninger, Managing Director for International Affairs at the German Federal Bar, on the topic of "Current developments in the German legal profession – digitalization of the judiciary, legal tech, demographics".

The participants also received selected German-language legal literature.

They judged the workshop to be a complete success.  

European integration in focus

Die Teilnehmenden am Europäischen Gerichtshof für Menschenrechte.
Die Teilnehmenden am Europäischen Gerichtshof für Menschenrechte.

Together with the Faculty of Law of the Master's degree programme in European Integration in Belgrade, the IRZ organised a study visit to the European institutions from 10 to 16 December 2023.

The eleven students and one professor visited the Council of Europe, the European Parliament and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, the European Commission in Brussels, the Mission of Montenegro and the Mission of the Republic of Serbia to the European Union and the European External Action Service. (The Master’s degree programme is well known there, as both the Ambassador of Montenegro to the European Union, Petar Marković, and the First Secretary of the Mission of the Republic of Serbia to the European Union, Isidora Mitić, had completed this programme).

In Karlsruhe, the participants visited the Federal Constitutional Court to find out about the working methods and the jurisdiction of Germany's highest constitutional body.

The aim of the project was to familiarise the students with the workings of the European institutions through direct, first-hand discussions.  Topics relating to Serbia's integration into the EU and current proceedings against this country before the European Court of Human Rights were also dealt with in depth. The students also received information about career opportunities in these institutions.

The prominent dialogue partners also included lawyers from the states of the former Yugoslavia, such as the Advocate General at the ECJ Tamara Čapeta from Croatia (who previously also worked on behalf of the IRZ as an expert on the Western Balkans), the Croatian and Slovenian judges at the ECJ Siniša Rodin and Marko Ilešić as well as the Croatian judges at the Court of Justice of the European Union, Vesna Tomljenović and Tamara Perišin.

The study visit was made possible by project funding from the German Federal Foreign Office.