Focus on constitutional adjudication

Speakers at the German-Ukrainian expert talks on constitutional law held on 3-4 November 2022 with the Constitutional Court of Ukraine.

IRZ continued the long tradition of German-Ukrainian expert talks on constitutional law with the Constitutional Court of Ukraine online on 3-4 November 2022. IRZ had already participated in a multilateral online conference of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine in June 2022.

On the German side, these expert talks were conducted by former judges of the Federal Constitutional Court Prof Dr Reinhard Gaier and Prof Dr Udo Steiner, who have both been working for Ukraine for many years. The acting Chair of the Court, Vice-President Prof Serhiy Holovaty, and numerous other constitutional judges of Ukraine participated throughout the two-day conference for the Constitutional Court of Ukraine.

Administrative mangers and other representatives of the court also attended.

Prof Holovaty first reported on constitutional jurisprudence under war conditions. The talks then explored the possibilities of enforcing constitutional court decisions and the question of the disciplinary responsibility of constitutional judges. The introductory presentations on the subject by Constitutional Judge Prof Oleh Pervomaiskyi and Constitutional Judge Dr Halyna Jurov'ska (on enforcement) and Constitutional Judge Prof Vasyl Lemak (on disciplinary law) were followed by an expert discussion with their German counterparts, who in turn reported on their experiences in Germany. Finally, Prof Gaier described the selection process for the judges of the Federal Constitutional Court and emphasised the importance of the involvement of all the stakeholders to reach a consensus.

The selection procedure for the Constitutional Court of Ukraine is highly relevant, as the opinion of the EU Commission on granting Ukraine EU candidate status is demanding a reform of this procedure. A corresponding reform bill is currently being prepared in the Ukrainian parliament for a second reading. An opinion on this draft from the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe has not yet been issued.

It is hoped that further expert exchanges can take place again soon in face-to-face format in Germany or Ukraine.

Solidarity Statement


IRZ is appalled and outraged by the unilateral military aggression of Russian forces in Ukraine and condemns this war of aggression, which is contrary to international law and is bringing endless suffering to the people of Ukraine. We have a long-standing partnership-based collaboration with both Ukraine and Russia. In doing so, we and our experts have always worked with our partner institutions in both countries in a way that is politically neutral. We are giving our full solidarity and support to Ukraine during these times.

This is a difficult situation and a test for Europe, for the principles of democracy and the rule of law! Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians are now fleeing the country and are dependent on humanitarian aid. Our thoughts and prayers are with the colleagues, friends and acquaintances who have been unable to leave the country or who are forced to stay.

We will continue to monitor events and hope for an early end to the conflict and that Ukraine can continue on its independent path of democratic reform and rule of law. At the same time, we see the events as a call to continue to work tirelessly for a free democratic social order, for human rights and for the standards of international law.

Christian Lange 

Dr. Frauke Bachler
General Director

Dr. Stefan Hülshörster

Work on reforms to the Civil Code of Ukraine continues


Despite the war Russia is currently waging against Ukraine, the ZGB-AG, based at the Ukrainian parliament, is pressing ahead with work on reforming the Civil Code. The IRZ will provide further consultation on this project. Director of the Kyiv regional centre of the National Academy of Legal Sciences of Ukraine, Professor Oleksiy Kot, who is also the Deputy Chair of ZGB-AG, and former Deputy Minister of Justice Efimenko had approached the IRZ with an initial request for an online discussion on how to continue the previous cooperation on reform of the Civil Code. Professor Natalia Kuznetsova, member of the ZGB-AG and the Academy of Legal Sciences, also took part in this discussion. It was agreed to hold an initial online expert talk on the existing Civil Code reform concept at the end of June 2022; further follow-up meetings are planned. The IRZ had already advised on the drafting of the current Ukrainian Civil Code, which dates back to 2003. Two experts from the IRZ already prepared initial expert opinions on the overall concept of the First Book of the draft reform of the Civil Code in early 2022; and the experts are ready to continue the consultations. Despite the current exceptional situation, the IRZ and the Ukrainian partners will attempt to advance the efforts to reform civil law in Ukraine oriented towards European standards.