IRZ alumni discuss the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court on climate protection

Professor Udo Steiner, former Federal Constitutional Court judge, during his presentation.
Serbia – IRZ-Alumni

The annual workshop for German-speaking IRZ alumni in South East Europe took place online again on 14 December 2021. The decision of the Federal Constitutional Court on climate protection was a particular focus of the event.

Alumni of various IRZ programs have been meeting late in the year for some time now. The meeting once again included lawyers, judges, public prosecutors and notaries who have previously attended summer schools in German law, profession-specific internships in Germany and courses in German legal terminology. They valued the opportunity to learn about current developments in German law and used the meeting to engage in some intensive expert discussions in German. They were also able to expand their own professional network.

This event took place in Belgrade in previous years, but was moved into the digital sphere for the second time due to the pandemic.

The 2021 annual workshop was opened by Sonya Z. Ouertani, the IRZ project manager responsible for Serbia, followed by welcoming speeches by Daniel Mohseni, second secretary and political adviser to the German embassy in Belgrade. He emphasised the topicality of "climate protection", also with respect to the new 2021 coalition agreement of the governing parties in Germany.

Professor Udo Steiner, former Federal Constitutional Court judge, presented the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court of 29 April 2021 on climate protection. It aroused interest among the predominantly younger participants, mainly because it addressed the guaranteed protections under objective law, also in terms of future generations.

This presentation and subsequent discussion was followed by information on innovations in German law, presented by Dr. Stefan Pürner, Head of "South East Europe I" at the IRZ, which includes the participating countries Bosnia and Herzegovina, Northern Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. Dr. Pürner also referred to sources on the Internet that detailed the innovations in German law. These are also available outside Germany to enable participants themselves to pursue the topics addressed.

The event therefore once again offered the opportunity to learn more about current developments in German law, to use German legal terminology actively and passively, and to train key qualifications for legal processes and transactions between the countries of origin of the participants and Germany in the context of Euro

Conference on the occasion of the publication of the magazine "Kontinentalno pravo - KoPra”

Participants of the event (top left Snežana Marković, President of the Constitutional Court of Serbia, top right Professor Michael Eichberger, former Federal Constitutional judge, centre: judge Andrea Titz, Chairwoman of the Bavarian Association of Judges, bottom centre: Professor Milan Škulić, judge at the Serbian Constitutional Court)

The IRZ organised a conference with the Faculty of Law of the University of Belgrade on the continental European legal heritage on 15 December 2021 to mark the publication of the magazine "Kontinentalno pravo - KoPra" ("Continental Law - Magazine for Sustainable and Expedient Legal Development"), edition 2021.

The journal is already in its fifth year of publication in cooperation with Professor Milan Škulić, a judge at the Constitutional Court of Serbia and full Professor of Criminal Law in the Faculty of Law of the University of Belgrade, and Professor Miloš Živković, Associate Professor of Civil Law in the Faculty of Law of the University of Belgrade. It represents the common continental European legacy in the law of the states of South East Europe and Germany, offers proposals for the appropriate, practical further development of the law in accordance with this tradition and the social conditions and also highlights less favourable developments through hybrid laws.

The event was opened by Professor Bojan Milisavljević, Vice Dean of the Faculty of Law of the University of Belgrade and Dr. Stefan Pürner as the responsible Head of Section at the IRZ. The fact that the magazine is held in high esteem in the country is demonstrated by the fact that it was followed by a welcoming address by Snežana Marković, President of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Serbia, and then by Daniel Mohseni, Second Secretary and political advisor of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Belgrade.

The authors then gave short presentations, which aroused great the interest of the approximately 35 participants to read the full articles. The articles in this issue range from criminal law through public law to civil law.

This is what former Federal Constitutional Court judge, Professor Eichberger, said about "Special Votes at the Federal Constitutional Court”. This made it clear that continental law also adopts the tenets of common law, but that the design and practice of the relevant legal institutions are modified to adapt to the respective circumstances in one's own law and society.

The presentation by Constitutional Court judge, Professor Milan Škulić. He presented the Serbian youth criminal law as it exists and the law as it should be, referring in detail to the relevant provisions of German law and emphasising that, based on the continental European understanding, the focus here should be on the educational concept.

There are also national differences between states of the continental European legal system, in the mechanisms for ensuring judicial independence. Andrea Titz, Vice President of the Regional Court of Traunstein and Chairwoman of the Bavarian Association of Judges, therefore explained the respective situation in Germany.

An intensive discussion then ensued comparing the independence of the judiciary, in particular the role of the courts and the judiciary.

For more details, please see the latest issue of the KoPra magazine.


The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Serbia reports extensively on the conference on its website:

The magazine is distributed via the IRZ network, both as a digital and printed version, in Serbia and also in all the other countries in the region with compatible languages.

Business Mediation as an Alternative to Court Proceedings between Companies

During the event
During the event

For eight years now, the German Arbitration Institute (DIS), the German-Serbian Chamber of Commerce (AHK) and IRZ have organised an annual event on alternative dispute resolution in Belgrade. After topics on arbitration had been dealt with so far, the focus was now on mediation for the first time.

Accordingly, the title of this year's practical seminar on 14 December 2021 was "Business Mediation as an Alternative to Court Proceedings between Companies?". Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, the event was held in an online format so that interested parties from Serbia's neighbouring countries could also benefit from the practical seminar. The approximately 30 participants were from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia:

  • representatives of companies,
  • lawyers from the field of commercial law and 
  • mediators.  

Kosta Jović, responsible for legal advice at AHK Serbia, Viktor von Essen, Deputy Secretary General at DIS, and Dr Stefan Pürner, responsible Head of Section at IRZ, introduced the participants to the event. And the Head of the Economic Department of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Belgrade, Anne-Kristin Piplica, also spoke words of greeting. All emphasised the relevance of mediation in cross-border, commercial law cases and the resulting relief for the judiciary. But questions of linguistic terminology were also addressed at the beginning of this bilingual event.

Jelena Bajić Urošević and Stefan Milojević presented the procedures and legal basis of mediation in Serbia with a special focus on commercial mediation. Both work at the National Centre for Mediation (Nacionalni centar za posredovanje u rešavanju sporova) and have many years of experience in the fields of mediation and mediation training. They explained that Serbia has had a mediation law since 2014, which was recently amended. There is considerable resistance to this law within the legal profession. Unlike in Germany, final agreements on mediation proceedings are enforceable titles in Serbia. 

Viktor von Essen highlighted commercial mediation in Germany using the example of mediation according to the DIS Mediation Rules, so that a discussion was then possible against the background of the respective situation in both national laws.

In the discussion round, the audience was also interested in finding ways to make mediation as an alternative dispute resolution more attractive and in cooperation with the legal profession.