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Abstract judicial reviews – Regional Constitutional Court Conference in Serbia

Published: October 24, 2018
Ambassador Thomas Schieb (left); Vesna Ilić Prelic, President of the Constitutional Court of Serbia (on his right); Prof. Dr. Udo Steiner, a former judge at the German Constitutional Court (2nd from right)
Ambassador Thomas Schieb (left); Vesna Ilić Prelic, President of the Constitutional Court of Serbia (on his right); Prof. Dr. Udo Steiner, a former judge at the German Constitutional Court (2nd from right)
Serbia

From 8 to 10 October 2018, a regional conference on “Decisions of constitutional courts in abstract judicial reviews as a contribution towards supporting the rule of law” was organised jointly by the Constitutional Court of Serbia and the IRZ in Belgrade. Judges from the following constitutional courts took part in the conference:

The opening of the event by the President of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Serbia, Vesna Ilić Prelić, and Dr. Stefan Pürner, representing the IRZ as head of section, was followed by a welcome speech by the German Ambassador to Serbia,Thomas Schieb, who emphasised in particular the long cooperation between the IRZ and the Constitutional Court of Serbia.

In preparation for the subsequent intense discussions, the following representatives of the participating constitutional courts presented the relevant case law in their countries: 

Afterwards, Prof. Dr. Udo Steiner, a former judge at the German Constitutional Court, presented the case law of the German Constitutional Court concerning abstract judicial reviews, during which he also referred to the previous speeches. The ground had therefore been prepared for some intense discussions, during which the similarities and differences were brought to light.

The discussions focussed less on the material grounds for the ineffectiveness of laws as on the practice of constitutional courts in cases where the court establishes the unconstitutionality of a law. 

The issue of a time limit for the legislator was discussed particularly intensively. Some diametrically opposing views were expressed on the point as to whether the court’s own laws allow for such a time limit and whether and in which cases it makes sense to impose such a time limit. The same also applies to the question of whether the constitutional court should merely establish the unconstitutionality of a standard or whether it should also give indications as to the potential content of a constitutional replacement standard.

There was, however, general agreement on the point that some valuable ideas for their own practice could be drawn from the practice of the German Constitutional Court. 

In order to increase the effectiveness of this event, the speeches for this regional conference will also appear in the series of books Godišnjak za Ustavno Pravo (Constitutional Law Yearbook) published by the IRZ.