During the online conference
During the online conference

On 8 October 2021, IRZ and the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Serbia organised a regional conference of constitutional courts on the “Protection of the right to respect for family life in constitutional court practice”. The conference, which was made possible thanks to project funds from the German Foreign Office, has been held for many years with the participation of the constitutional courts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia. The importance attached to the conference by the participating constitutional courts is reflected in the fact that it was primarily the presidents of the constitutional courts who presented their case law:

  • Mato Tadić, President of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
  • sc. Kata Senjak, President of the Constitutional Court of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • Irena Mojović, Vice-President of the Constitutional Court of Republika Srpska, and
  • sc. Miroslav Šeparović, President of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia
  • Budimir Šćepanović, President of the Constitutional Court of Montenegro
  • Dobrila Kacarska, President of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of North Macedonia
  • Snežana Marković, President of the Constitutional Court of Serbia
  • Prof. Dr Špelca Mežnar, a judge at the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Slovenia

The German perspective was contributed by IRZ expert Prof. Dr. Udo Steiner, a retired judge from the German Federal Constitutional Court, who presented the relevant case law of the Federal Constitutional Court.

The Permanent Representative of the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Republic of Serbia, Dorothea Gieselmann, gave the welcome speech at this event. She emphasised that this series of events, which began many years ago, provides an important forum for professional cooperation. She added that the conference was dealing with a highly topical issue in terms of legal policy, constitutional law and human rights, which is the subject of controversial debate in Germany, the EU and the region due to changes in social perceptions and advances in biomedicine. 

This conference is of particular importance due to the prominent position of the constitutional courts in the legal systems of their respective countries. Their decisions make a significant contribution to the enforcement of a European standard of human rights, to the unification of the law, and to relieving the workload of the ECtHR. During the event, the speakers pointed out, among other things, that the constitutional courts involved already apply the review procedure of the ECtHR in Strasbourg. 

The practical importance of the issue was demonstrated by various decisions that established the unconstitutionality of state measures but also of legal provisions. In connection with the latter topic, the question of the relationship between the Constitutional Court and Parliament was also intensively discussed under the heading “Constitutional Courts as negative or as positive legislators”.

In order to support the sustainability of the conference and to make its topics available to as large an expert audience as possible, IRZ will publish the papers in its “Jahrbuch für Verfassungsrecht” (Constitutional Law Yearbook).