russland 1V St. Petersburg Legal Forum: Aleksandr Makovski, research director of the Presidential Research Centre for Private Law of the RF; Wolfram Marx, head of division at the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection; Dirk Mirow, Director of the IRZ; Veniamin Yakovlev, advisor on legal matters of the President of the RF; Anton Ivanov, President of the Supreme Commercial Court, ret.; Günther Jannsen, judge at Oldenburg Higher Regional Court, ret. (left to right)

Strategic framework

Legal policy starting point

The open political conflict continued to cast a shadow over cooperation with the Russian Federation in 2015. The tightening up of the law with regard to the work of domestic and foreign non-governmental organisations, which primarily target projects that are funded with foreign financial resources, and the most recent judicial reform, which led to the merger of the Supreme Court and the Supreme Commercial Court, was repeatedly criticised by many parties. This makes it all the more important to maintain the intensive relations with the partners which have been in existence for years at working level, and to not permit the dialogue to be interrupted. This is also particularly stressed by the Federal Government.

The political tensions and the economic sanctions have had little effect on cooperation with the IRZ's long-standing partners in the legal field. The IRZ was thus also able to implement a number of events in 2015, both with funding from the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection and within the further training programme on the promotion of rule-of-law structures, an initiative of the Federal Foreign Office.

Overall concept

Cooperation with the Research Centre of Private Law and the Association of Lawyers once more focussed on civil law reform. Within the fifth Legal Forum in St. Petersburg, the IRZ was able to contribute towards the roundtable discussions on trademark law and the law on obligations and property law, as well as organising a study trip for senior decision-makers on the topic of "Particularities of the settlement of economic disputes with the involvement of companies".

A further focus was placed on the protection of industrial property. The IRZ was able to continue its cooperation with the Court for Intellectual Property in 2015 and to step up consultation on trademark and patent law.

Consultation with the Federal Bar of the Russian Federation, the Association of Patent Lawyers and the Federal Chamber of Notaries were also continued in the tried-and-tested manner. Support for the professional associations is particularly important in today's situation.

The IRZ has also supported for quite some time the efforts to strengthen local self-government, and has stepped up cooperation with the Civil Initiatives Committee (KGI), which started back in 2014.

The IRZ also continued its cooperation with the Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN). Topics such as respect for human rights in prison, protection of these rights, adjustment to European standards, as well as questions related to prison service arrangements, remain topical, and will continue to be the focus of cooperation.

Foci of activity in 2015

Civil and commercial law

  • Conference in Moscow on the topic of "System in the development of legislation via the enforcement procedure: Problems of harmonisation and codification"
  • Conference and further training in Moscow for judges on the topic of "Court practice in industrial property rights"
  • Working visit by a senior Russian delegation on the topic of "Particularities of the resolution of economic disputes with the involvement of companies" in Düsseldorf and Cologne
  • German week 2015 in St. Petersburg: Conference on the topic of "The role of the notary in Russia and in Germany in property transactions"
  • V St. Petersburg Legal Forum 2015, participation by German experts in three sets of roundtable discussions on the reform of the law of obligations and of property law, as well as on trademark law
  • Conference in Moscow on the topic of "Particularities of the application of the law with regard to legal entities, taking current economic conditions into account"
  • International conference in Ulan-Ude on the topic of "Restriction of debtors' rights – legal amendments and their practical application"
  • Study trip to Munich by Russian patent lawyers on the topic of "Case-law in the utility models, inventions and design field"
  • Symposium in Moscow entitled "International arbitration tribunals and mediation in Russia and Germany: Current practice and perspectives"
  • Seminar in Frankfurt a.M. on the topic of "Company law in the legal profession"
  • Publication of the translated legal texts on German protection of industrial property and of intellectual property
  • Study trip by representatives of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as well as of the arbitration tribunal and of the international arbitration tribunal of the Russian Federation on out-of-court dispute resolution/arbitration tribunals
  • Conference in Moscow entitled "International technology transfer: German-Russian experience, selecting the patent strategy and protection of industrial property rights"
  • Study trip to Munich by representatives of the Federal Chamber of Notaries of the Russian Federation, as well as of notaries from Moscow and St. Petersburg, on the topic of "Notaries' professional liability insurance and notaries' insurance funds of the German Chamber of Notaries"

Administration of justice

  • 2nd International Lawyers' Forum in Berlin on "Access to the law – a matter for the legal profession"
  • Seminar in Moscow on lawyers' professional ethics

Public law

  • Working visit to Düsseldorf, Cologne and Bonn by a delegation of NGOs, civil activists and local authority experts from the Russian regions on the topic of "Local politics and civil participation at local level"
  • Study trip to Germany on local self-government by representatives of the Association of Russian Cities, Towns and Local Authorities and of the Kudrin Foundation, as well as by heads of city administrations
  • Event in Moscow on local self-government

Penitentiary Law

  • International forum on questions related to the prison system in Ryasan
  • Study trip to Germany for representatives of FSIN on the topic of "Training of prison staff, healthcare for convicts and security-related matters"
  • Publication of the book entitled "Criminal procedure law" by Prof. Dr. Friedrich-Christian Schroeder

Basic and further training

  • Internship in Berlin for a lawyer
  • Internship in Königswinter for a female and a male notary

Outlook

The IRZ would also like to make its contribution in 2016 towards consolidating and strengthening the rule of law, together with the Russian partners. Consultation is to be continued in the context of the modernisation of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation, in particular in the special law on obligations and commercial law, in cooperation with the Research Centre of Private Law and the Association of Lawyers.

The IRZ would like to further step up the exchange with the Court for Intellectual Property and with patent lawyers. Cooperation with lawyers should also be particularly emphasised, as well as with notaries, which is to be continued in 2016.

Finally, improving the quality of coercive execution, enhancing local self-government and the humanisation of the prison system will be three topics which remain important in cooperation with the Russian Federation in the coming year.