Regional workshop on the latest developments in German law for IRZ alumni from four countries

Participants in the workshop
Participants in the workshop

The second regional workshop on “News on German law” took place from 13 to 15 December 2019 in Belgrade. Most of the participants were German-speaking alumni of various IRZ programmes. People came from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, North Macedonia and various parts of Serbia to take part in the workshop.

On the opening evening, Matthias Schikorski, the German Embassy’s advisor on political issues and migration, welcomed the participants. One of the subjects he talked about was the importance of this kind of event for the networking of legal experts in South-East Europe.

The opening lecture on the subject of “The role of German law in teaching and research at the Law Faculty of the University of Kragujevac” was given by Prof. Dr. Slavko Đorđević. His lecture made it clear to the participants that the systematic consideration of German law can open up some new areas of professional activity

To prepare for the topics covered during the two-day workshop, a quiz was organised as an unusual way of providing information on German law. The participants got together in small groups to discuss the problems and solve them together, before getting to know one another (even better) at the subsequent dinner.

They were also able to find out at first hand about the possibilities of funding from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), since its Director in Serbia, Dr. Simone Heine, also attended the event.

On the second day of the workshop, the speakers presented various current topics of German law:

  • Eva Weinbeer, Research Assistant, Regensburg: Current developments in the case law of the German Constitutional Court
  • Dr. Ulrike Phieler Morbach, Presiding Judge at the Regional Court of Berlin: Current developments in German criminal law and criminal procedure law
  • Lawyer Dr. Karolina Mihaljević-Schulze, Berlin: Current developments in German civil law
  • Dr. Bertram Morbach, a former personnel manager and honorary judge from Berlin: Current developments in German labour law

Special consideration was also paid to the lectures given by two IRZ alumni, who are currently studying for a Masters in Bonn on scholarships. They spoke in German about their work on German law for their Masters degrees:

  • Peter Brudar: Algorithms and collusion
  • Nikola Dašić: The recognition of under-age marriages that have taken place abroad

The participants discussed the lecture topics in more detail in German during various working groups and discussion groups. Despite the language barrier, intense discussions took place, with the participants also talking about their own experiences in their home countries. It soon became clear, for example, that there are considerable differences in the labour law of Croatia, which is already a member of the EU, compared with the previous legislation that covered the whole of Yugoslavia; whilst in Bosnia and Herzegovina, for example, they are still working with the traditional models in many areas. In the field of criminal law, there are also considerable differences between the two entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Federation of Bosnia and the Republic of Srpska. Whilst in the Federation, prison sentences of up to one year can be avoided by paying daily rates, in the Republic of Srpska even short prison sentences are enforced. According to a lawyer working as a criminal defence lawyer in both entities, this leads to a significantly larger number of defendants in the Republic of Srpska than in the Federation being forced to enter a “plea bargaining”, which was introduced in Bosnia and Herzegovina according to the US model.

The key results of the working groups in the workshop were presented in a plenary session to give the participants an overview of all the topics discussed. At the same time, this also prepared the way for concluding general discussions, which continued with bilateral talks after the event had officially ended.

As the participants agreed, this type of event, which was first introduced last year and has now been further developed, was a great success. As well as bringing their own knowledge up to date and networking with others, the short lectures and reports also provided quite a number of the participants with their first opportunity to hold legal talks in a relaxed atmosphere in the German language.

Continuation of the series of seminars on arbitration

Anne-Kristin Piplica, German Embassy; Patryk Kulig, DIS; Dr. Stefan Pürner, IRZ
Anne-Kristin Piplica, German Embassy; Patryk Kulig, DIS; Dr. Stefan Pürner, IRZ

On 12 December 2019, another practical seminar on arbitration took place in Belgrade. The seminar was organised jointly by the German-Serbian Chamber of Commerce, the German Institute of Arbitration (DIS) and the IRZ.

The seminar was opened by Doris Danilovic from the German-Serbian Chamber of Commerce, Patryk Kulig from the DIS and lawyer Dr. Stefan Pürner from the IRZ. Afterwards, Anne-Kristin Piplica, Head of Economic Affairs at the German Embassy, gave a welcome speech. She also underlined the importance of supporting Germany as a place of arbitration for the German government. She also confirmed that the series of events, which have been taking place for more than five years, creates a powerful synergy effect thanks to the long-term cooperation between the three organisers.

The speeches were given by:

  • Patryk Kulig: “Efficient case management and the early closure of arbitration proceedings – advantages and/or disadvantages”
  • Prof. Dr. Tibor Varady: “The significance of language for the checking of arbitration awards by the court”

As Case Manager and Counsel at the DIS, Patryk Kulig stressed in particular the concept of DIS regulations, according to which the arbitration court can, with the agreement of the parties, give a preliminary assessment of the factual and legal situation in order to encourage consensual dispute resolution.

Prof. Dr. Tibor Varady, a former Minister of Justice of Yugoslavia and a renowned expert on arbitration for many years, presented a lot of practical cases during his lecture, in which the decisions of arbitration courts had been later challenged because they had supposedly violated the written agreements relating to the language of the proceedings.

The cases related in particular to the loss of the right to appeal to the original agreement, if one engages in the communication in a language, without objections, that is very closely related to one’s own native language.

As is usually the case for this series of events, lawyers, company lawyers and other company employees took part in this seminar. This composition of participants in the event helped to ensure that the seminar topics were discussed intensively and were complemented by detailed case examples.

Conference on the latest edition of the KoPra journal covering the topics “Continental European legal Heritage and “70 Years of the Basic Law”

During the conference
During the conference

On 6 December 2019, a joint event was held in Belgrade between the Law Faculty, the Institute of Comparative Law and the IRZ to present the latest issue of the KoPra journal. The newspaper “Kontinentalno pravo – časopis za održiv i skladan razvoj prava” (Continental law - journal for lasting and practical legal development) is published by the IRZ in partnership with Serbian legal experts. The KoPra journal presents the shared continental European heritage in the laws of South-East European states and Germany, provides ideas for the suitable and workable further development of the law in harmony with this tradition and with social conditions and pinpoints any undesirable developments because of hybrid laws.

The latest edition features the following articles:

  • Models for modern criminal proceedings: Germany or USA? (Prof. Dr. Thomas Weigend)
  • The controversial system for the presentation of evidence by parties in accordance with the Serbian Code of Criminal Procedure (constitutional judge Prof. Dr. Milan Škulić)
  • Collective consumer complaints in Slovenia and Hungary (Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Herbert Küpper)
  • The official duties and general behavioural obligations of notaries (former notary and judicial advisor Richard Bock)
  • The clarification and reappraisal of National Socialist (in)justice in post-war Germany (lecturer Dr. Aleksandar Lj. Spasov)
  • The situation of the subordinated mortgagee in out-of-court recovery procedures (Prof. Dr. Miloš Zivković)
  • The English language and continental European law (Dr. Stefan Pürner)

Within the framework of the conference, Professor Dr. Dragor Hiber gave a lecture on the Latin notary’s office as a traditional continental European legal institution of preventive administration of justice. Professor Hiber gave the speech on behalf of Richard Bock, who wrote a journal article on the subject for the new edition of the KoPra. Professor Hiber talked, for example, about the requirements for the form of notarial powers created abroad. This is a highly significant issue, since many Serbs live in the diaspora and Serbian notary processes follow the Swiss model, according to which the principle of parallelism applies for a legal transaction and the powers created for this.

The second part of the event was devoted to a series of subjects celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Basic Law of Germany. The German-speaking judge at the Constitutional Court of Serbia, Prof. Dr. Milan Škulić, began by talking about “Constitutional Law and Criminal Law”, pointing out the huge significance of the standardisation of case law. Prof. Škulić and his colleague in civil law, Prof. Dr. Miloš Živković, make up the Serbian part of the KoPra reporting team.

In a second lecture on the subject, university assistant Eva Weinberg from Regensburg/Barcelona provided an overview of the role of the German Federal Constitutional Court, in which she talked about the differences between the national role and the relationship with the case law of the European Court of Justice. Eva Weinberg presented the role of the German Federal Constitutional Court by means of new resolutions on the “Right to be forgotten”, which is still little known in Serbia.

Short presentations by the younger Serbian experts in constitutional law, Dr. Miloš Stanić (“Valuable German experience with regard to constitutional complaints”) and Mirsoslav Djordjević (“The culture of the Basic Law and the role of the Federal President”) rounded off the spectrum of contributions. Both experts gave their lectures in German.

As has been the case in the past, the participants also made the most of the opportunity for discussion and exchange at this event.

The KoPra newspaper is also available for download from the website. You can also find short editions of the journal containing the table of contents, the full editorial and abstracts of individual articles translated into German.