High-ranking delegation during expert talks at the Federal Patent Court with Sabir Kekhlerov, Advisor to the Public Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation (on the left); Beate Schmidt, President of the Federal Patent Court (5 th from left); Denis Novak, Deputy Minister of Justice of the Russian Federation (7 th from left)
High-ranking delegation during expert talks at the Federal Patent Court with Sabir Kekhlerov, Advisor to the Public Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation (on the left); Beate Schmidt, President of the Federal Patent Court (5 th from left); Denis Novak, Deputy Minister of Justice of the Russian Federation (7 th from left)

Legal Policy Situation

Russia is not part of the Eastern Partnership of the EU, as Russia opted against participating in the European Neighbourhood Policy when it took effect in 2003. Thus, relations between Russia and the EU are still based on the 1997 Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. The plan was to develop relations with the EU further based on this Agreement. Russia’s relations with the EU as well as the German-Russian relations were overshadowed, however, by the annexation of Crimea and actions taken in Eastern Ukraine, which is why Russia’s negotiations for a new agreement with the EU were suspended in 2014. At the same time, the Federal Government has repeatedly emphasised that it is strongly and actively committed to overcoming this conflict through dialogue.

As a state neighbouring on the EU and a member of the G8, Russia is an important partner also for the Federal Republic of Germany in many respects. That is why good and close cooperation is not only crucial in fields that are becoming increasingly global, such as energy, the economy and climate policy, but also in the field of law. The challenge, for instance regarding a comprehensive modernisation of the country, lies in supporting the further development of a democratic society and the establishment of the rule of law.

The legal policy situation in the Russian Federation did not change significantly in 2017 as compared to the situation in previous years. The existing political tensions and the economic sanctions persisted. These factors are shaping cooperation with Russian partners increasingly also in the legal field.

Overall Concept

Since its foundation, the IRZ has been involved in almost all legal fields of the Russian Federation. A key focus will continue to be the civil law reform, in particular the collaboration with the Research Centre of Private Law.

As part of the VII. International Legal Forum in St. Petersburg, the IRZ and its experts were able to participate in the insolvency forum and the round tables on questions of tenancy law and matters of intellectual property. General civil procedure and mediation issues were also addressed in joint activities.

The year 2017 saw the protection of intellectual property as a key aspect once again. The IRZ collaborated with the Association of Patent Lawyers, Innopraktika (NGO for economy innovation) and Rospatent (Russian Federal Service for Intellectual Property). Cooperation was also continued with the Russian Federal Chamber of Lawyers in a tried and tested manner. Support for the professional associations continues to be crucial. Contacts and networks also still need to be maintained intensively.

In the year under review, the IRZ vigorously supported efforts to strengthen local self-administration. Due to its federal state structure and its resulting vertical separation of powers, the German municipal system is of great interest to Russian municipal representatives. For this reason, the IRZ strives to organise a study trip with different goals each year to give Russian participants the opportunity to experience various communal models.

The IRZ also continued its cooperation with the Penitentiary Service and the Federal Service of Bailiffs. 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.

The cooperation is partially conducted within the framework of the initiative for legal cooperation sponsored by the Federal Foreign Office.

Foci of Activity 2017

Constitutional Law/Human Rights and their Enforceability

  • German Week 2017 on the topic of “Constitutional justice in Russia and Germany” in St. Petersburg
  • Publication of the Handbook of the Russian Constitution

Civil and Commercial Law

  • Seminar on “Civil procedure and its influence on the development of economic activity in modern society: issues, challenges and integration of the legal system” in Moscow
  • VII St. Petersburg International Legal Forum, Insolvency Law Forum in St. Petersburg
  • Conference on the topic of “Current issues in international and supranational financial law” in Kaliningrad
  • Study trip to Munich on the topic of “Legal regulation of technology transfer”
  • Study trip to Munich on the topic of “Training Patent Lawyers”
  • Working visit to Munich by a high-ranking delegation on the topic of “Specifics of German commercial and civil law”
  • Seminar on the topic of “Debtor’s rights in Germany and Russia” in Moscow
  • Beck-online access for professors, PhD students and students of the Russian Institute for Private Law with the President of the RF in Moscow

Criminal Law and Penitentiary Law

  • Conference on “National Criminal Law Policy in Russia and Germany” in Kaluga
  • Working visit to a prison in the Vologda region and participation in the international academic and practical conference on Penitentiary Law in Vologda
  • Penitentiary service forum on “Crime, Atonement and Reform” in Ryazan

Public Law

  • Publication on local self-administration in Russia (“Local self-administration in modern society”) in Russian
  • Support of the conference on the occasion of the 10-year anniversary of the European Club of Experts in Local Self-Government on the topic of “Local self-administration and challenges for modern society” in Moscow
  • Conference on the topic of “Local self-administration” in Petrozavodsk
  • Seminar on the topic of “Effective models for the division of responsibilities between state and municipalities using the example of implementing cultural tasks” in Moscow
  • Study trip of the Civil Initiatives Committee (KGI) to Berlin and Potsdam on issues of territorial transformation and agglomeration development

Administration of Justice

  • Supporting the 3 rd German-Russian Lawyers’ Forum in Berlin on the topic of “Independence of self-administration – responsibility of the lawyers”
  • VIII. International Conference on the topic of “Information technology in the sphere of enforcement” in Suzdal
  • 3 rd German-Russian Lawyers’ Forum on the topic of “Digitising Legal Advice” in Berlin

Basic and Further Training

  • Language course on “Translation of German legal texts” for young Russian lawyers in Moscow
  • Round table discussion on “Organisational and legal safeguarding of information security” in Moscow
  • Participation of Russian participants in the seventh IRZ’s “Summer school German law” in Bonn
  • Participation in the multilateral notary internship for Russian participants in Königswinter
  • Study trip to Berlin by a Russian delegation on the topic of “Migration policy: regulation in the face of today’s challenges”

Outlook

In 2018, the IRZ plans to continue its intensive cooperation with its longterm Russian partners. The focus will once more be on civil and commercial law and the development of the judiciary. Consultations within the framework of the modernisation of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation are also to be carried on, especially in the areas of the law of obligation, contract law and property law. The ongoing cooperation in the areas of notary law, the law on lawyers, the humanisation of the penitentiary system, the promotion of alternative dispute resolution methods, such as business mediation, the improvement of the effectiveness of enforcement and the strengthening of local self-administration as well as basic and further training measures in other legal areas will also be continued.