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.

Students on a scholarship from the Konrad Adenauer Foundation are welcomed by the IRZ

The Konrad Adenauer Foundation scholarship students during their visit with Dr. Stefan Pürner (centre)
The Konrad Adenauer Foundation scholarship students during their visit with Dr. Stefan Pürner (centre)

On 25 November 2019, a group of German and foreign students, who are at the University of Bonn on a scholarship from the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, visited the IRZ to learn about its activities as part of their programme for the semester.

IRZ Head of Section Dr. Stefan Pürner gave a lecture and presented practical examples of the activities of the IRZ to introduce the students to the international legal advice provided by Germany. Afterwards, the guests made the most of the opportunity to ask questions and discuss various aspects.

The visit had been initiated by a young Serbian lawyer, Peter Brudar, who is currently working on his MA thesis on competition law issues in connection with algorithms in Bonn, with a grant from the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. During the round of introductions, Peter Brudar pointed out that he had predominantly acquired the necessary background knowledge to get his grant through the activities of the IRZ in his home country. Brudar graduated from the legal terminology course for German-speaking law professionals from Serbia, which has been organised jointly by the IRZ and the Law Faculty in Belgrade for more than a decade now. He has also attended the IRZ Summer School on German Law. As he emphasised during the visit, both measures allowed him to develop the ability to work on German law in the German language.

Regional conference in Belgrade on the opportunities and limitations of legal transplants

During the conference
During the conference

On 29 November 2019, a conference on “Legal Transplants – Lending Standards or the silent Fight for legal Domination?” took place in Belgrade. This conference was organised jointly by the IRZ, the Judicial Academy of Serbia and the non-governmental organisation Harmonius. Harmonius is a network of South-East European legal experts, who are working to ensure that their respective national laws are aligned with EU law.

The conference dealt with issues concerning the adoption of legal institutions from other laws and the resulting competition between the traditional continental European legal system and common law. It was aimed at law professionals in the region.

The event was opened by Dr. Nenad Tešić, Chairman of Harmonius, Nenad Vujić, Director of the Serbian Judicial Academy and lawyer Dr. Stefan Pürner, Head of the South-East Europe I section at the IRZ. Dr. Vujić used the opportunity to emphasise that one of the goals of this joint event held by the Judicial Academy and Harmonius is also for the academic world and practitioners to discuss legal innovations in more depth, which is not common practice.

The conference was made up of five panels with contributions by experts from various South-East European countries, who dealt with issues concerning substantive as well as adjective law.

Subjects ranged from property law to private international law and consumer protection. In terms of procedural law, one of the issues discussed was abridged procedures for the recovery of claims due to authenticated deeds. Other presentations covered the protection of human rights in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights. The lectures presented plenty of opportunity for discussion and bilateral exchange, which the participants took advantage of even outside the actual agenda for the meeting.

Apart from individual legal transplants, the conference also covered the present general conditions, under which institutions from other laws are incorporated. In this respect, Dr. Nenad Tešić pointed out that legal transplants can also be a means for large countries to exercise political influence on smaller states. Following on from this, Dr. Christa Jessel Holst, a former Head of the South East Europe Unit at the Max Planck Institute in Hamburg, emphasised the regional nature of the conference and pointed out that exchanging ideas with colleagues from other countries with the same legal tradition also helps participants to recognise their own needs in the future development of the law in their own countries. This means that this dialogue also helps them to disengage from foreign influences, some of which are not very appropriate.

During the discussions, a new legal transplant in Serbian law was also mentioned, which is viewed with criticism by many participants. This is about a sentencing regulation, which was introduced to the penal code with the latest changes to the law in this area and is set out based on the American “three strikes law”. It means that compulsory sentences are increased for repeat offenders. However, some participants expressed reservations as far as the protection of human rights is concerned. They pointed out that this approach counteracts EU efforts to reduce prison populations in Europe.