Serbia - annual report 2014

Länderbericht Serbien 2014
Judges from various constitutional courts of the region attending the conference in Zlatibor

Strategic framework

Legal policy starting point

The legal policy starting point in Serbia changed considerably in January 2014 as a result of the official launch of negotiations with the EU on accession. This means that the need for consultation in harmonising the law and support in training for practical application of the law increased considerably. In the view of the EU, particular efforts also need to be made in the topical areas of the judiciary and fundamental rights, as well as of the justice system, freedom and security. The early elections held in the spring of 2014 did not lead to any major changes in the political situation.

Overall concept

The IRZ began legal cooperation with Serbia in 2000 in the framework of the Stability Pact for South East Europe. It has focussed since then on consultation on important EU-compatible reform statutes, on the structure of the judicial system, as well as on the basic and further training of legal practitioners. The many years of cooperation with the Serbian Constitutional Court on the successful introduction of the constitutional complaint constitute a special focus. Furthermore, the IRZ implemented a whole series of third-party-funded projects, some of which were very extensive. The IRZ has also worked more intensively with non-governmental organisations in recent years. The IRZ’s partners include the Constitutional Court, the Judicial Academy, the Office for Human and Minority Rights, the Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs, the Law Schools of the Universities of Belgrade and Nis, the Office of Intellectual Property, the German-Serbian Trade Association, the Zoran Djindjic Foundation, the Society for Insurance Law, the Delegate Office of German Industry and Commerce for Serbia, the Singipedia academic Internet portal, the Society for the Study and Reception of German Law, as well as the Harmonius Network of Young Legal Scholars in South-East Europe.

The main goal of the IRZ in Serbia is to support the country on its path to the EU. The focus here is on the application of the law in a manner that is effective and in compliance with rule-of-law principles. The activities aim to continue the consultation through successful implementation. The IRZ stresses the significance of a clear orientation towards continental European legal principles and legal models in order to avoid hybrid solutions. Furthermore, the IRZ is stepping up cooperation between lawyers from Serbia and its neighbouring countries.

Foci of activity in 2014

Constitutional law / human rights and their enforceability

  • Regional conference in Zlatibor on constitutional matters related to the deprivation of liberty and on the prohibition of torture, in cooperation with the Serbian Constitutional Court
  • Publication of a Serbian translation of the Anti-discrimination Handbook of the ECtHR/Council of Europe

Civil and commercial law

  • Support for the annual conference on the law on insurance of the Serbian Society for Insurance Law through a lecture held by a member of staff of the legal department of the German Insurance Association
  • Publication of a commented translation of the German Insurance Contract ActWorkshop in Belgrade entitled “The triangle between companies, lawyers and arbitration tribunals”, together with the German Institution of Arbitration (DIS), the German-Serbian Trade Association (DWS) and the Delegate Office of German Industry and Commerce
  • Working visit to Berlin by Serbian specialists from the Serbian Office of Intellectual Property to the Collecting Society for Neighbouring Rights (GVL)

Administration of justice

  • Presentation of the IRZ as an example of many years of successful German-Serbian cooperation in the 1st Serbian-German Civil Society Dialogue, organised by European Movement Germany and European Movement Serbia
  • Seminar on “Judicial ethics” in Belgrade in cooperation with the Serbian Judicial Academy Translation of materials on the performance evaluations of judges in Germany
  • Support for the conference entitled “Harmonisation of Serbian legislation with the law of the EU” at Nis Law School

Criminal an Penitentiary law

  • Support for the conference in Kopaonik entitled “Reform of criminal law” by the Serbian Association of Public Prosecutors

Basic and further training

  • Support for a Masters course in European Integration at the Law School in Belgrade
  • Course in German legal terminology for German-speaking judges as well as young lawyers at the Law School in Belgrade
  • Participation of young German-speaking Serbian students in the “German law” summer school in Brühl
  • Support for the third edition of the journal entitled “Harmonius Journal for legal and social studies in South East Europe” in cooperation with the Harmonius Network of Legal Scholars
  • Support for the multi-lingual website of the Harmonius Network with material on the law of the region, as well as on European law
  • Dissemination of regional legal specialist publications (co-)published by the IRZ, including the legal journal entitled “Nova Pravna Revija” (“New Legal Revue”)


The IRZ will be continuing the series of seminars and further training events with the abovementioned partner organisations and continuing to support them in the implementation of the Judicial Reform Acts. It will be stepping up cooperation with institutions and individual national experts working in the field of research on German law and its reception, including its contacts and experience from the project work in further countries of the region. This includes support for young lawyers, in particular those with a knowledge of German language and law.