Serbia – annual report 2020

Strategic Framework 

Legal Policy Starting Point

The Republic of Serbia officially opened negotiations on Chapters 23 (Judiciary and Fundamental Rights) and 24 (Justice, Freedom and Security) in July 2016 as part of the EU accession negotiations and is considered, together with Montenegro, as a pioneer of EU approximation among the West Balkan countries. As the EU considers that special efforts are required in the areas of the judiciary and fundamental rights, as well as in the thematic area of justice, freedom and security, the need for advice on harmonisation of the law and for assistance in training in the practical application of the law has increased.

Overall Concept 

IRZ started its legal cooperation with Serbia in 2000 and has since supported the country on its way into the EU, in keeping with the EU West Balkans Strategy. Within this context, IRZ benefits from Germany’s standing as one of Serbia’s important economic partners. For IRZ, the focus is on effective application of the law in compliance with the principles of the rule of law and European law. In this regard, IRZ emphasises the importance of a clear orientation towards continental European legal principles and models in order to forestall hybrid solutions. It also strengthens cooperation between lawyers in Serbia and neighbouring countries. Bilateral activities also include EU Twinning projects, in particular.

IRZ’s partners include the Ministry of Justice, the Constitutional Court, the law faculties of the Universities of Belgrade and Kragujevac, the German-Serbian Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the Institute of Comparative Law in Belgrade, and the Harmonius association-network of young legal scholars, whose goal is to promote EU legal harmonisation.

Focus of Activity in 2020

Constitutional Law, Human Rights and their Enforceability

  • Participation by Serbian constitutional judges in the virtual regional conference of the Constitutional Courts on the topic of “dissenting votes in the practice of the constitutional courts”
  • Distribution of translated decisions of the Federal Constitutional Court on constitutional matters related to the COVID-19 pandemic and other constitutional issues

Civil and Commercial Law 

  • Online conference “Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on arbitration” for arbitrators, held in cooperation with the German Arbitration Institute (DIS) and the German-Serbian Chamber of Industry and Commerce (AHK) in Belgrade

Administration of Justice

  • Online conference on the continental European legacy in cooperation with the Faculty of Law at the University of Belgrade
  • Regional online workshop series for German-speaking IRZ alumni from the partner states Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia on the topics of:
    • COVID-19 pandemic and German federalism
    • questions of labour law in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic, parts I and II
    • arbitration in Germany
    • questions of constitutional law in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic, parts I, II and III
    • problems of language mediation in the legal field
  • Co-hosting of the hybrid annual conference of the Harmonius association-network of young legal scholars in collaboration with the network and the Judicial Academy
  • Lecture on German law, in particular on the reappraisal of Nazi law in Germany to mark the 180th anniversary of the Faculty of Law in Kragujevac
  • Dissemination of literature on German and European law as a guide to legal transformation for relevant academics and students at the faculties of law in Belgrade and Kragujevac and at the Institute of Comparative Law


IRZ will continue its legislative advice, series of seminars and further training events with the aforementioned partner organisations, with a particular focus on Chapters 23 and 24 of the EU accession negotiations and the EU West Balkans Strategy. In this regard, there are plans to broaden the legislative advice to include the envisaged reform of civil procedural law. Cooperation with institutions and individual national experts committed to the continental European legal tradition and to the study of German law and its reception will also continue. Finally, support for the next generation of lawyers will also be maintained.