First workshop for IRZ alumni from South-East European states

Participants of the workshop
Participants of the workshop

From 7 to 9 December 2018, the first workshop for IRZ alumni from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia was held in Belgrade under the motto “News on German law and the law of the region”.

The aim of the workshop was to inform German-speaking alumni from previous IRZ programmes about current developments in German law. The participants had either already attended one of the annual “IRZ Summer Schools on German Law” in Bonn and Cologne, taken courses on legal terminology at the Faculties of Law in Belgrade and Sarajevo or graduated from a supplementary course in German Law in Sarajevo. The workshop offered a good opportunity for participants to discuss legal issues in the German language. Almost twenty of the more than fifty participants also gave short speeches on the new developments in the laws of their own countries of origin. The event was also an opportunity for people to develop their own professional networks.

During the opening ceremony, Matthias Schikorski from the German Embassy gave a speech, stressing in particular that measures such as thIs, which provide an “update on German law”, enhance the sustainability of previous IRZ measures considerably.

On the opening evening, various German-speaking law professionals from Serbia, including a judge at the Constitutional Court of Serbia, Professor Dr. Milan Skulic, reported on their own references to Germany and German law, as well as on the developments in German law that they consider to be particularly important.

The first half of the second day of the conference was devoted to the latest developments in German law, with the following speakers:

  • Eva Weinbeer from the department of Public Law at the University of Regensburg: German constitutional law;
  • Presiding Regional Court Judge Dr. Ulrike Phieler-Morbach (Regional Court of Potsdam): criminal law and criminal procedural law;
  • Lawyer Dr. Karoline Mihaljevic-Schulze (Berlin): civil law.

Some intense discussions followed on from the lectures by the legal experts.

In the afternoon, three working groups were held to discuss the topics

  • “Latest developments in the law of the region”,
  • “New jurisdiction at the German Federal Constitutional Court (BVerfG)” and
  • “How to set up a law firm”.

The last working group was carried out in the local language, so that participants from the English-speaking internship programmes run by the IRZ could also get involved.

As the participants agreed, this new type of event was a great success. They praised in particular the great opportunity to participate actively in German and the exchange of experiences with colleagues from other South-East European countries.

Supporting arbitration and Germany as a place of arbitration

Lawyer Korinna von Trotha, Head of the Berlin office of the DIS
Lawyer Korinna von Trotha, Head of the Berlin office of the DIS

On 5 December 2018, the annual conference on current arbitration issues was held jointly by the German Arbitration Institute (DIS), the German-Serbian Chamber of Commerce (AHK) and the IRZ in Belgrade.

At the opening ceremony, Martin Knapp, Managing Director of the AHK in Serbia, emphasised the traditional nature of this joint event. The representative from the German Embassy, Matthias Schikorski, said in his opening speech that events such as this also contribute towards promoting Germany as a place of arbitration.

This was followed by more speeches:

  • Prof. Dr. Vladimir Pavić (Vice-President of the Permanent Court of Commercial Arbitration at the Serbian Chamber of Commerce): Costs of arbitration proceedings
  • Lawyer Korinna von Trotha (Head of the Berlin office of the DIS): New rules of procedure at the DIS;
  • Former Minister of Justice Prof. Dr. Tibor Varady: Who can be an arbitrator these days?

Since the majority of the participants had experience of arbitration proceedings, the discussions following each of the lectures were extremely lively and covered, as well as the lectures themselves, the presentation of many practical cases.

With regards to the new arbitration rules at the DIS, it was agreed that these make a significant contribution towards making arbitration proceedings according to DIS rules even more appealing.

Trilateral exchange of experiences on property transfer and registration procedures in Belgrade

Judicial advisor, Richard Bock, Vice-President of the BNotK; Srbislav Cvejiæ, President of the Serbian Chamber of Notaries; notary Dr. Lovro Tomašić; Matthias Schikorski, German Embassy Belgrade (from right to left)
Judicial advisor, Richard Bock, Vice-President of the BNotK; Srbislav Cvejiæ, President of the Serbian Chamber of Notaries; notary Dr. Lovro Tomašić; Matthias Schikorski, German Embassy Belgrade (from right to left)

On 13 and 14 November 2018, the first joint event between the IRZ and the Serbian Chamber of Notaries was held on “Property transfer and procedures for entry in the property register” with the participation of the German Federal Chamber of Notaries (Bundesnotarkammer or BNotK).

The event was opened by the President of the Serbian Chamber of Notaries, Srbislav Cvejić, and the Vice-President of the BNotK, judicial advisor Richard Bock, both of whom emphasised the long cooperation between their two chambers.

They also made it clear that an exchange of experiences between Serbia and Germany is particularly fruitful in this area, since notaries’ offices in both countries share a lot of similarities.

The German Embassy’s advisor on political issues, Matthias Schikorski, gave a welcome speech and emphasised the various German measures to support notaries' offices in the administration of justice in South-East Europe.

Dr. Lovro Tomašić, a notary from Melrichstadt, introduced the professional part of the event, speaking in the local language on the subject “Dealing with homes under construction and land register entries in Germany”.

This was followed by an overview of controversial issues concerning the application of the “Law on the procedure for entry in the property and water register”, given by Sava Dedajić, a notary in Stara Pazova.

Afterwards, Prof. Dr. Enes Bikić from the Faculty of Law in Zenica (Bosnia and Herzegovina) provided a comparative analysis of the current Serbian regulations. He also presented the various types of registers in different legal systems and pointed out that the German “Grundbuchsystem” (land register system) fits in best with the legal tradition of West Balkan countries.

This trilateral approach provided the right prerequisites for an exchange of experiences, the discussion of problems and the development of suggestions for solutions with regard to the “law on procedures for entry in the property and water register”. This law gives notaries the right to carry out the registration procedure, but it does present some problems. That’s why changes are planned, for which the results of this event should also be taken into account. The significance of the subject and the interest of more than 150 participants are also reflected in the fact that the exchange continued well beyond the time originally scheduled in the programme.