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.

Regional Constitutional Court Conference on the Protection of the Right to Family Life

During the online conference
During the online conference

On 8 October 2021, IRZ and the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Serbia organised a regional conference of constitutional courts on the “Protection of the right to respect for family life in constitutional court practice”. The conference, which was made possible thanks to project funds from the German Foreign Office, has been held for many years with the participation of the constitutional courts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia. The importance attached to the conference by the participating constitutional courts is reflected in the fact that it was primarily the presidents of the constitutional courts who presented their case law:

  • Mato Tadić, President of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
  • sc. Kata Senjak, President of the Constitutional Court of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • Irena Mojović, Vice-President of the Constitutional Court of Republika Srpska, and
  • sc. Miroslav Šeparović, President of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia
  • Budimir Šćepanović, President of the Constitutional Court of Montenegro
  • Dobrila Kacarska, President of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of North Macedonia
  • Snežana Marković, President of the Constitutional Court of Serbia
  • Prof. Dr Špelca Mežnar, a judge at the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Slovenia

The German perspective was contributed by IRZ expert Prof. Dr. Udo Steiner, a retired judge from the German Federal Constitutional Court, who presented the relevant case law of the Federal Constitutional Court.

The Permanent Representative of the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Republic of Serbia, Dorothea Gieselmann, gave the welcome speech at this event. She emphasised that this series of events, which began many years ago, provides an important forum for professional cooperation. She added that the conference was dealing with a highly topical issue in terms of legal policy, constitutional law and human rights, which is the subject of controversial debate in Germany, the EU and the region due to changes in social perceptions and advances in biomedicine. 

This conference is of particular importance due to the prominent position of the constitutional courts in the legal systems of their respective countries. Their decisions make a significant contribution to the enforcement of a European standard of human rights, to the unification of the law, and to relieving the workload of the ECtHR. During the event, the speakers pointed out, among other things, that the constitutional courts involved already apply the review procedure of the ECtHR in Strasbourg. 

The practical importance of the issue was demonstrated by various decisions that established the unconstitutionality of state measures but also of legal provisions. In connection with the latter topic, the question of the relationship between the Constitutional Court and Parliament was also intensively discussed under the heading “Constitutional Courts as negative or as positive legislators”.

In order to support the sustainability of the conference and to make its topics available to as large an expert audience as possible, IRZ will publish the papers in its “Jahrbuch für Verfassungsrecht” (Constitutional Law Yearbook).