Seminar of a delegation of the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice in Wustrau dealing with mediation in the context of the HCCA

The IRZ invited a delegation of the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice to a conference at the German Judicial Academy in Wustrau and in Berlin from 24 to 28 April 2017. The seminar dealt with mediation in the context of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (HCCA).

The event was organised as part of the recently signed renewal of the cooperation agreement between the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection and the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice, which also includes the HCCA as one of the joint fields of activitiy.
The German speakers were Dr. Nicola Wenzel, Head of the Division of the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection in charge of the HCCA, and Tina Rozman from the same division, and Birgit Mix, German Federal Office of Justice as central authority, HCCA liaison judge and local court judge Sabine Brieger and Zoë Schlär, MiKK e.V. (International Mediation Centre for Family Conflicts and Child Abduction).

The conference, which included presentations, discussions and practical mediation exercises, was aimed at improving the handling of cases relating to the HCCA. The IRZ had already organised similar practice-related events on this issue in the past, which led to specific improvements in the handling of many cases. After the meeting in Wustrau, the delegation visited the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection for a follow-up of the working week and for discussing opportunities for further cooperation.

Conference on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine

On 7 and 8 October the international conference “Constitutional Control and the Processes of Democratic Transformation in Modern Society“ took place in Kiev on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine. It was organised by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine in cooperation with the IRZ, the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe and the OSCE project office in Kiev.

A large number of presiding judges and judges from other constitutional courts, many of them from IRZ partner countries, participated in the conference. The conference focused in particular on the role of constitutional jurisdiction in sometimes extremely difficult reform situations. This received much attention, given the fact that in recent months and years the development of democracy and the rule of law had suffered setbacks in some states.

The expert exchange was characterised by an open and problem-oriented discussion. From the German side the former judge at the Federal Constitutional Court Dr. Dieter Hömig, Prof. Dr. Lutz Arnold from the University of Regensburg and Dr. Matthias Hartwig from the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law took part.

The Ukrainian speakers pointed out the model function of German constitutional law several times. The IRZ has been supporting Ukraine for many years not only in the reform of its constitutional law, but also in the drafting of a law on the Constitutional Court, which is currently being revised, and of rules of procedure. With the last amendment of the Ukrainian constitution the instrument of the constitutional complaint was introduced. The IRZ has been asked for advice in this context and is currently playing an important advisory role. The IRZ had several expert talks and has submitted some expert opinions, which are to be followed by more. Now a particular focus must be placed on implementing the constitutional complaint in court practice.

The opening speeches at the conference were given by:

  • Petro Poroshenko, President of Ukraine
  • Yurii Baulin, Chairman of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine,
  • Gianni Buquicchio, President of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe
  • Veronika Keller-Engels, IRZ Director
  • Oleksandr Vodyannikov, representative of the Kiev OSCE Office and
  • Sviatoslav Piskun, former Public Prosecutor General and Chairman of the Union of Lawyers of Ukraine.

New law on enforcement proceedings in Ukraine: Delegation pay a working visit to Bonn

Within the context of the legal reforms of enforcement proceedings, which come into force in Ukraine on 5 October 2016, a working conference was held from 19 to 23 September 2016 at the IRZ offices, bringing together high-ranking representatives of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, including Deputy Minister of Justice Serhij Shkljar. The delegation was welcomed by IRZ Managing Director Veronika Keller-Engels.

The working conference focussed on the texts regulating the implementation of the new laws and on intense discussions between the Ukrainian delegation and the following German experts:

  • Ministerialrat Detlef Wasser from the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV);
  • Jan Laskowski, a local court judge;
  • Hans-Otto Bartels, President of the Regional Court of Aurich and IRZ expert with many years of experience;
  • Helmut Janssen, Bailiff at the High Court of Wittmund.

Even though the German experts take a critical view of the partial privatisation of law enforcement in Ukraine, both sides see the reciprocal exchange of expertise as very fruitful.

The Verhovna Rada adopted two new laws on 2 June 2016, bringing about extensive changes to the law on enforcement proceedings. At the centre of these comprehensive changes is the introduction of a mixed model, which provides for private law enforcement officers as well as state law enforcement officers. By introducing these measures, it is hoped that there will be a significant increase in the efficiency and quality of law enforcement. The IRZ, working in cooperation with the BMJV, has been supporting the reforms in Ukrainian law enforcement for years.

The Ukrainian delegation was primarily interested in the procurement and availability of information about debtors. They were hoping to benefit from the experience of their German colleagues in setting up official registers, which have not been available in Ukraine until now, and in training and educating law enforcement officers. There were also some interesting discussions about the special legal status accorded to selected companies in law enforcement proceedings in Ukraine.

During a final talk between the Deputy Minister of Justice for Ukraine, Serhij Shkljar, and the Deputy Director of the IRZ, Dr. Stefan Hülshörster, both parties agreed that there continues to be a considerable need for support in the field of Ukrainian law enforcement. Together, they have already started to talk about definitive steps for the future of the partnership.