Lectures and discussions for lawyers in Ukraine

On 14 June 2016 a second successful expert discussion took place in Odessa involving the National Lawyers’ Association of Ukraine (NAAU) and the German Federal Bar Association dealing with the issues “access to law” and “free legal assistance”. The first expert discussion which was held in partnership with the IRZ in April this year had covered the issues “regulation of the legal advice market in Germany and Ukraine“ and “professional liability insurance“.

The Federal Bar Association was represented at both expert discussions by lawyer and notary Dr. Ulrich Wessels, Vice-President of the Federal Bar Association and member of the IRZ’s board of trustees, who gave a lecture on the regulation of the legal advice market and the access to law.

Furthermore, the lawyer Bertin Chab and the lawyer and notary Dagmar Beck-Bever, chairwoman of the lawyer’s fees committee of the Federal Bar Association and Vice-President of the Bar Association in Celle gave presentations on lawyer’s policy issues. The Bar Association of Ukraine was represented at the expert discussions by the lawyer Lidiia Izovitova, NAAU President, and her deputy, lawyer Valentyn Gvozdiy.

Both events were financed by the “promoting the rule of law in Ukraine“ project of the Federal Foreign Office and have met with great interest from the Ukrainian side. This is particularly the case as the “part relating to the judiciary” of the draft amendment to the Constitution adopted by Verhovna Rada in early June of this year also envisages a gradual introduction of the lawyer’s monopoly. Even though this development constitutes a major step in the right direction, there are still many problems in Ukraine as regards the legal profession and its self-administration which have not been finally regulated yet.

The issue of a (professional liability) insurance for the services of lawyers is not sufficiently regulated from the German point of view and also meets with scepticism among Ukrainian lawyers. The present regulations on free assistance are moreover in some parts too complex and do not take the Ukrainian reality adequately into consideration. And for that very reason, the professional exchange of the two bar associations on this and other topics, supported by the IRZ, is particularly important to contribute to further reforms in this area and hence to support the legal profession in Ukraine.

Ukrainian Constitutional Judges attend expert talks in Berlin

From 21 to 24 June 2016, a delegation from the Constitutional Court of Ukraine attended expert talks in Berlin by invitation of the IRZ. The delegation was made up of three Constitutional Judges and the administrative head of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine.

The discussions involved Dr. Dieter Hömig, a former judge at the Federal Constitutional Court, and Dr. Matthias Hartwig from the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg, and dealt with the relationship between constitutional courts and legislators, as well as the relationship between constitutional courts and European or supranational courts. Another important topic was the constitutional reform currently taking place in Ukraine.

The part of the constitutional reform relating to justice was adopted as recently as 2 June 2016. This provides, amongst other things, for the introduction of individual constitutional complaints, which can be perceived as a significant step in the development of the rule of law in Ukraine.

The discussions with German experts were aimed at deliberating which changes to the law on the functioning of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine are made necessary by the introduction of this legal institution, how the Constitutional Court can process the expected constitutional complaints as effectively as possible, etc. Representatives of the Ukrainian Constitutional Court had already discussed this topic with the IRZ in Bonn in December last year, when the changes to the constitution were still in the draft stage, enabling them to prepare for these changes as far in advance as possible. These expert discussions are to be expanded further with three other constitutional judges, since the reform is now taking shape.

Ukrainian delegation on a working visit to Bonn, Cologne and Düsseldorf to learn about legal training

From 4 to 8 April, a high-ranking Ukrainian delegation is visiting Germany to find out about legal training in Germany. The IRZ organised the working visit along with USAID (US Agency for International Development).

The delegation includes Verhovna Rada representatives, Dmytro Storozhuk (justice committee) and Liliia Hrynevych (education committee), and representatives of the Ministry of Education and Justice as well as of well-known Ukrainian universities and law academies. As a member of the Supreme Judicial Council, Professor Andriy Boyko joined the delegation. The former Minister of Justice for Ukraine, Serhiy Holovaty, who is currently a member of the President's Constitutional Commission, also took part in the working visit.

IRZ Managing Director Veronika Keller-Engels welcomed the guests to the IRZ. The programme focussed in particular on expert discussions about state law examination procedures at the state office for law examinations for the North Rhine-Westfalia region in Düsseldorf and on a welcome by Vice-President Christian Schmitz-Justen to the Higher Regional Court of Cologne, followed by expert discussions on procedures for legal internships.

The guests had already talked with the former president of the Higher Regional Court, Johannes Riedel, on selecting, recruiting, assessing and promoting judges, and spent half a day in intense expert discussions with Professor Martin Böse at the Juridicum in Bonn. The delegation also learned about bachelor's and master's courses in economics and law at TH Köln (University of Applied Science of Cologne) and about revision courses in law during another meeting.

This delegation visit follows on from the working visit made by representatives of the National School of Judges of Ukraine, which - as already reported - took place in mid-March. In view of the constitutional reforms that are currently underway in Ukraine, legal training and case law play a significant role.