Documentation of German law in south Slavic languages substantially extended

Publications of the IRZ on German law in south Slavic languages
Publications of the IRZ on German law in south Slavic languages

The states of former Yugoslavia have traditionally leant towards Austrian and German law. It therefore makes sense to take the provisions of German law into consideration in the transformation and further development of their legal systems. What also speaks in favour of doing so, is that German law as continental European law has already been harmonised with the acquis of the EU.

However, since only a small group of experts in these countries speak German and, especially in view of the competition in consulting from other legal systems, translations of the relevant German legal norms are required, so that in particular they can be taken into account within the legislative procedure. Inspired by these findings, the IRZ initiated a series of translations of German legal norms into various south Slavic languages so that German law is also accessible in the local language.

After a very positive reception these activities have been intensified. In the last few months the following publications have been published:

  • Translation of the German Judicial Officers Act (Rechtspflegergesetz – RPflG) with an expert introduction by Manfred Georg and Klaus Rainer Meyer of the Association of German Judicial Officers (Bund Deutscher Rechtspfleger);
  • Translation of the General Part of German Civil Code (BGB) with an expert introduction by Professor Dr. Slavko Djordjevic, Kragujevac;
  • Guidelines with commentary on the German Limited Liability Companies Act (GmbHG) by lawyer Dr. Wolfgang Ott, Munich, who is also known as the author of other works on company law and insolvency law;
  • Translation of the German Commercial Code (HGB).

This series of books also aims at supporting academic work and research on German law. In addition, the translations of civil law regulations might help foreign courts in the application of German law in cases of Private International Law.

Since in most publications the translation and the German original text of each provision are printed side by side, they are also very helpful for learning German legal terminology in the respective fields of law.

Finally, the publications also include translations of original cases from German training practice and thus give students and professors a deeper insight into German case methodology in the training of lawyers. For this purpose, exams with model solutions are currently being prepared which can be resolved by using the translated legal provisions.

The text books are not only available in print but also via the Internet as pdf files, so that their dissemination rate and their sustainability are increased.

Translations of the following legal provisions have already been published before:

  • German Code of Criminal Procedure (StPO)
  • Guidelines for Criminal Proceedings and Proceedings for the Imposition of Administrative Fines (SBV)
  • Insurance Contract Act (VVG) as well as
  • Book 10 of the Code of Civil Proceedings (Arbitration Proceedings)

New edition of the regional South-East European journal on continental European law

Screenshot of the KoPra website
Screenshot of the KoPra website

The latest edition of the KoPra journal has just been published [LINK]. KoPra stands for “Kontinentalno pravo – časopis za održiv i skladan razvoj prava” (= “Continental law - journal for lasting and practical legal development”). KoPra is published by the IRZ in partnership with Prof. Dr. Milan Skulic, a judge at the Constitutional Court of Serbia, and Prof. Dr. Milo Zivkovic, a professor in civil law, both of whom are from Belgrade. The journal is distributed in all the succession states of the former Yugoslavia.

The journal was introduced because it was established that the system imposes limits on the takeover of institutions from foreign jurisdictions within the framework of the transformation. The objective of this publication project is therefore to work out the common foundation for continental European legal tradition and, on this basis, provide ideas for legal development, avoiding unnecessary frictional losses, experiments and hybrid provisions. Undesirable legislative developments should also be detected.

The current issue of the journal once again covers a broad range of topics. These range from civil and civil procedure law to public law and criminal law.

Civil law

Prof. Dr. James Maxeiner, Baltimore (USA), warns in his article of the dangers of transferring continental European legal thinking to the US American civil process. Prof. Dr. Milos Zivkovic gives a critical account of judgements in Serbian courts, which deal with the recently introduced potential for the private enforcement of mortgages.

Criminal law

In the field of criminal law, the focus in this edition is on sentencing.

On the one hand, there is the translation of the decision of the Constitutional Court of Macedonia, which has been used to declare the law on sentencing based on American sentencing guidelines as unconstitutional due to breaches in judicial disunity. Prof. Dr. Milan Skulic gives his opinion on this decision with some approving comments.

On the other hand, Norbert Koster, a judge at the Higher Regional Court of Hamm, who also has a lot of experience in the region, writes about the practice of sentencing in German law.

Public law

In his article on Public Law, Harald Walther, a former administrative judge and current Local Court Director and lecturer at the German University of Administrative Sciences Speyer, presents independent administrative jurisdiction as a guarantee of legal protection to the state in continental European countries.

Other articles in this issue include:

  • In the “History of continental European law” column: Ernst Eduard Hirsch - a German Jew who supported transformation to continental European law in Turkey,
  • Event reporting on the annual Kopaonik law school (discussions of issues with criminal proceedings) and on the 19th conference on “Insurance law in practice: Challenges, new technologies and management” in Palic and
  • A review of the book “Rechtsstandort Deutschland im Wettbewerb - Impulse für Justiz und Schiedsgerichtsbarkeit” (“The legal position of Germany in competition - the drive for justice and arbitration”) by Prof. Dr. Gerhard Wagner.

The journal has its own website. On this website, you can also download an abstract of the current edition in German.

Conference on continental European civil law and civil proceedure law in Belgrade

Catrin Czyganowski (2nd from right), Head of Economic Affairs at the German Embassy, during her welcome speech
Catrin Czyganowski (2nd from right), Head of Economic Affairs at the German Embassy, during her welcome speech

On 21 June 2018, the second joint annual conference on continental European law was organised by the IRZ and the local Law Faculty in Belgrade. This time, the focus was on civil law.

The conference was opened by the acting Dean of the Law Faculty, lecturer Dr. Milena Đorđević, the head of the national accreditation body for quality assurance in higher education, Prof. Dr. Sima Avramović, and Dr. Stefan Pürner, representing the IRZ. Catrin Czyganowski, Head of Economic Affairs at the German Embassy, then welcomed the participants and took the opportunity to emphasise the importance of the IRZ’s commitment in Serbia.

The conference programme included a presentation of various IRZ publications on continental European law and two lectures, in which the differences between continental European law and common law were addressed.

The first of these lectures was given by Prof. Dr. James Maxeiner from the University of Baltimore on the subject of “Judgements based on the law as a benchmark for civil proceedings”. He underlined the fact that the objective of the US founding fathers was to set up a legal system based on the continental European model. Jefferson was even an advocate of a US Code Civil. Since then, however, the US system has moved away from this ideal. According to Maxeiner, the result of this is that the US civil process, for example, has a number of disadvantages compared with the continental European system, and in particular compared with the German system. He gave extensive reasons for this during his lecture.

Afterwards, Prof. Dr. Mirjana Radović analysed the impact of Anglo-Saxon law on Serbian company law. She came to the conclusion that in Serbia, despite fundamentally different structures in business and the economy, various legal institutions from US law have been incorporated, which do not fit in very well with Serbian legal tradition.

As well as these lectures, a series of current South-East European IRZ publications on continental European and German law was also presented. Prof. Dr. Milan Škulić and Prof. Dr. Milos Zivkovic, both judges at the Constitutional Court of Serbia and members of the Law Faculty in Belgrade, gave lectures on the latest edition of the journal “Kontinentalno pravo – časopis za održiv i skladan razvoj prava” (Continental law - journal for lasting and practical legal development” or KoPRa for short), for which they are part of the editorial team. This publication will be presented in more detail at a later date in a special report to be given at the same venue.

The lecture by a member of the board of the Association of German Judicial Officers, Klaus Rellermeyer, on the Institution of Judicial Officers in Germany, also attracted great attention. Klaus Rellermeyer, together with his colleague Manfred Georg, introduced the volume, with a dual language edition of the law on judicial officers .

The presentation of these new editions of IRZ publications in the Bosnian-Croat-Montenegrin-Serbian language was rounded off with a contribution by Prof. Dr. Slavko Kragujevc on his translation of the general section of the German Civil Code (BGB), which has also been published as a dual language book.

At the event, a participant who had recently completed the English-language notarial internship in Bonn, even came from the Bosnian capital Sarajevo. This should prove not only the attractiveness of the event, but also the commitment of the IRZ alumni and their affiliation to the IRZ.