Alexandra Albrecht (2nd from left), Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection; Svetlana Beniaminova (3rd from left), President of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Karelia; Veronika Keller-Engels, General Director of the IRZ (right)

Study visit in Berlin and Potsdam on the topic “Statutory regulation of the working methods of constitutional courts in the federal states of the Federal Republic of Germany”: Alexandra Albrecht (2nd from left), Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection; Svetlana Beniaminova (3rd from left), President of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Karelia; Veronika Keller-Engels, General Director of the IRZ (right)

Strategic Framewok

Legal Policy Starting Point

The legal policy situation in the Russian Federation did not change significantly in 2016 when compared to the situation in previous years. However, the law became significantly tighter in the Criminal Code and other statutes within the framework of a package of anti-terror laws which considerably increase the powers of the security authorities and raise data protection law problems. In spite of extensive criticism, the new provisions for the most part entered into force. There are very positive tendencies in the sphere of civil and commercial law: The Civil Code was supplemented in particular in the spheres of contract law and the law of ownership, and the Private Insolvency Act was revised. In addition, the statutes covering the work of a patent lawyer are also intended for preparation.

The political tensions and the economic sanctions have had little effect on cooperation with the IRZ’s long-term partners in the legal field, although a certain reticence is evident in the cooperation with the Russian court system. The IRZ was also able to implement a number of events in 2016, both bilaterally and within the framework of the further training programme established and supported by the German Federal Foreign Office on the promotion of structures in the rule of law.

Overall Concept

Cooperation with the Research Centre of Private Law continued to focus on civil law reform. During the sixth Legal Forum in St. Petersburg, IRZ experts participated in roundtable discussions on insolvency and residential ownership law. Detailed advice was also provided on residential ownership in Germany. The problems in this sphere which arose after privatisation in the 1990s are still very current and are intended to be resolved within the framework of a reform.

A further focus was placed on the protection of intellectual property in the reporting year. The IRZ in particular worked with the Association of Patent Lawyers and the Federation Council. Cooperation was also continued with the Russian Federal Chamber of Lawyers in the tried and tested way . Support for the professional associations is particular important in today’s situation in order to maintain contacts and networks. The IRZ has also long since supported efforts to strengthen local self-administration and intensified the cooperation with the Civil Initiatives Committee that started last year (KGI).

The IRZ also continued its cooperation with the Federal Penitentiary Service. Current events have shown that issues such as protection of human rights in prison, adjustment to European standards and issues relating to prison service arrangements remain as topical as ever.

Foci of Activity 2016

Constitutional Law / Human Rights and their Enforceability

  • Support for the specialist conference on the occasion of the fifteenth anniversary of the German language study course “German law” at the Law Institute of the Siberian Federal University in Krasnoyarsk
  • Study trip to Berlin and Potsdam on the topic of “Statutory regulation of the working methods of Constitutional Courts in the Federal states of the Federal Republic of Germany

Civil and Commercial La

  • German Week 2016 in St. Petersburg: Problems and development perspectives in the field of intellectual propert
  • Study trip to Bonn on the topic “Residential ownership
  • VI. St. Petersburg International Legal Forum: Participation in the round-table discussions on insolvency law and residential ownership law in St. Petersbur
  • Summer school on intellectual property of the University of Bon
  • Conference in Moscow on the topic “Law and business: Innovative solutions for the legal regulation of business life” – roundtables on insolvency law and unfair competitio
  • Beck-online access for students and PhD students of the Russian Institute for Private Law in Mosco
  • Study trip to Munich by members of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation and the Russian Association of Patent Lawyers on the topic of the “Establishment of a patent lawyers’ chamber”
  • Study trip to Düsseldorf by Russian patent lawyers on the topic “Protection of inventions, design and trademarks”
  • Seminar in Moscow on “Legal protection of the objects of intellectual property abroad: Technical solutions, design, means of individualisation”
  • Conference in Moscow on “International arbitration tribunals and mediation in Russia and Germany: Current practice and perspectives”
  • Seminar in Moscow on the topic of “Insolvency law”
  • Roundtable on the topic “Final alterations to the regulation of arbitration tribunals in Russia and Germany”

Administration of Justice

  • VII. International Conference in Ufa on “The order of enforcement for non-property demands contained in the enforcement documents: problematic issues and ways to solve them”
  • Specialist discussions in Bonn on the enforcement law and the SCHUFA system
  • Second German-Russian Lawyers’ Forum in Munich on “Data protection – handling of personal data, the lawyer’s professional duty of secrecy, public monitoring”

Public Law

  • Seminar in Moscow on the topic of “Economic development of local authorities: The role of organs of local self-administration”
  • Study trip to Munich, Nuremberg, Erlangen, Schweinfurt and Frankfurt am Main on the topic of “Economic development of local authorities –legal bases and practical implementation”

Criminal Law and Penitentiary Law

  • Working visit to a prison in the Vologda region
  • International conference in Vologda on the topic of “Criminal sanctions in Russia and abroad: imposition and enforcement” on the tenth anniversary of the passing of the European correctional principle

Basic and Further Training

  • Language course on “Translation of German legal texts” for young Russian lawyers in Moscow
  • Participation in a course in Bonn called “German for lawyers” offered by the Goethe Institute
  • International conference in Moscow and Kaluga entitled “Internet for public authority work: Legal structures and security”
  • Participation by four Russian students at the IRZ “German law” summer school in Brühl and Bonn
  • Internship for a lawyer in Königswinter and Berlin
  • Internship for a notary in Königswinter and Landsberg am Lech
  • Internship for a judge in Königswinter and Halle
  • Support for the German-Russian workshop “The responsibility of the employer for social security in Russia: Comparative law aspects” at the Max PIanck Institute in Munich
  • Seminar in Moscow on the topic of “The growing role of NGOs in civil society: Law and politics”

Outlook

In 2017 the IRZ plans to make its contribution towards the consolidation and strengthening of the rule of law together with its Russian partners. The focus will continue to be on civil and commercial law here. In particular, the intention is to intensively continue the consultations on contract law and in the field of intellectual property. This also affects cooperation with the lawyers and the notaries. Improving the quality of enforcement, strengthening local self-administration and the humanisation of the prison system likewise remain important topics in the cooperation with the Russian Federation in the forthcoming year.

Download the entire IRZ annual report in PDF format here: annual report 2016.