Serbia - annual report 2018

Workshop on the new Serbian Registration Act: Judicial Counsel Richard Bock, then Vice-President of the Federal Chamber of Notaries (on the right) giving his welcome address; Srbislav Cvejić, President of the Serbian Chamber of Notaries; Dr Lovro Tomašić, notary from Melrichstadt; Matthias Schikorski, German Embassy in Belgrade (from right to left)
Workshop on the new Serbian Registration Act: Judicial Counsel Richard Bock, then Vice-President of the Federal Chamber of Notaries (on the right) giving his welcome address; Srbislav Cvejić, President of the Serbian Chamber of Notaries; Dr Lovro Tomašić, notary from Melrichstadt; Matthias Schikorski, German Embassy in Belgrade (from right to left)

Strategic Framework

Legal Policy Starting Point

The Republic of Serbia, with which the EU started formal accession negotiations in January 2014, opened Chapters 23 (judiciary and fundamental rights) and 24 (justice, freedom and security) in July 2016. For this reason, the need for advice on the harmonisation of law and for assistance in training courses in the practical application of law has increased even further. What is more, the EU considers that special efforts are required in the areas of the aforementioned chapters.

Overall Concept

The IRZ began legal cooperation with Serbia in 2000 within the framework of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe. A particular priority of the cooperation with Serbia is the long-standing collaboration with the Serbian Constitutional Court, which began with the consultation on the successful introduction of the constitutional complaint and is now being continued with the joint staging of regional constitutional court conferences. These and other bilateral activities are complemented by projects with third-party funding (IPA and Twinning) The partners of the IRZ include the Constitutional Court, the faculties of law at the Universities of Belgrade and Kragujevac, the Delegation of German Industry & Commerce in Serbia, the Society for the Study of German Law and its Reception as well as the Harmonius Network of Young Law Scholars, which aims to promote harmonisation of the EU legal system.

The main objective of the IRZ in Serbia is to support the country on its way into the EU, in keeping with the EU Strategy for the Western Balkans. The focus here is on an effective application of the law in accordance with the rule-of-law principles of a constitutional state and the requirements of European law, as well as on advice in regard to suitable legislative reform projects. The IRZ emphasises the importance of a clear orientation towards Continental European legal principles and legal models in order to prevent hybrid solutions. Furthermore, it strengthens cooperation between lawyers from Serbia and its neighbouring countries.

Foci of Activity in 2018

Constitutional Law / Human Rights and their Enforceability

  • Regional constitutional conference “Decisions by the constitutional courts in the area of abstract judicial review as a contribution to promoting the rule-of-law principles of a constitutional state“ in Belgrade
  • Participation by Serbian constitutional judges in the regional conference in Budva, Montenegro, on the relationship between constitutional court jurisdiction and the supreme courts, which was aimed to promote cooperation with the Constitutional Court of Montenegro
  • Participation by Serbian constitutional judges in the regional constitutional court conference “Tax law in the case-law of constitutional courts“ in Brčko District, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Co-hosting of the conference “Human Rights in the 21st Century“ in Belgrade together with the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts

Civil and Commercial Law

  • Conference “News from Arbitration“ together with the German Arbitration Institute (DIS), the German-Serbian Chamber of Industry and Commerce and the Delegation of German Industry & Commerce in Belgrade

Administration of Justice

  • Counselling for the Serbian Ministry of Justice in the form of expert reports and information
    • on the treatment of small claims in German law
    • on legal test cases in Germany and class action suits by consumers in other legal systems
    • on fee laws in Germany
  • Two workshops on practical issues relating to the new law on registrations in the property and water cadastre, held in cooperation with the Serbian Chamber of Notaries and the German Federal Chamber of Notaries (BNotK), also attended by an expert from Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Publication of the second issue of the journal “Continental Law Journal for sustained and appropriate legal development“ in cooperation with legal scholars in Belgrade
  • Book publication with a translation of the German Administration of Justice Act, including an introduction by Manfred Georg and Klaus Rellermeyer from the Bund deutscher Rechtspfleger e.V.
  • Support in the publication of the conference transcript from the “Law and Transformation“ conference, which was held at the Faculty of Law in the University of Belgrade in 2017
  • Publication of a conference documentation for the symposium “Legal transformation in Southeastern Europe using former Yugoslavia as an example: prerequisites, parties involved, failures“, which was organised by the Southeastern Europe Association

Basic and Further Training

  • Conference on civil law in Continental Europe with launch of the journal “Continental Law – Journal for sustained and appropriate legal development“ at the Faculty of Law in the University of Belgrade
  • Operation and expansion of the website for the aforementioned journal (www.kontinentalno-pravo.info
  • Organisation of the first regional conference “News from German law and the legal systems in the region“ during the first event for German-speaking IRZ alumni from the states of Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia in Belgrade
  • Co-organisation of a conference on the role of case-law under the rule-of-law principles of a constitutional state in cooperation with the Harmonius Network of Young Legal Scholars
  • Support for the study trip to Brussels, Strasbourg and Karlsruhe by the master’s programme “European Integration“ at the Faculty of Law in the University of Belgrade
  • Course in German legal terminology for German-speaking judges and young lawyers at the Faculty of Law in the University of Belgrade
  • Participation by German-speaking Serbian students in the “IRZ Summer School on German Law“ in Bonn
  • Support for the seventh issue of the publication “Harmonius – Journal of Legal and Social Studies in South-East Europe“ in cooperation with the Harmonius Network of Young Legal Scholars
  • Support of the Harmonius Network website with extensive downloadable materials
  • Participation by Serbian doctoral candidates in the workshop for legal methodologies at the Faculty of Law in the University of Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Dissemination of legal publications on regional issues published by the IRZ in other countries of the region, especially the regional journal “Nova Pravna Revija“ (“New Legal Review“), as well publication of various translations of German laws, including technical introductions

Criminal and Criminal Procedure Law

  • Translation of the German Code of Criminal Procedure (StPO) and publication of the translation as a book with a technical introduction by Serbian and German experts
  • Translation of the German Criminal Code (StGB)

Projects Financed by the European Union

EU Twinning Project: Improving capacities and capabilities within the prison system in the Republic of Serbia

Since mid-2017, the IRZ has supported Serbia in reforming its execution of punishments system as part of the EU Twinning Project with the Austrian Agency for Economic Cooperation and Development (aed) as its junior partner. As part of the “Strategy for the Improvement of the Penitentiary System in the Republic of Serbia until 2020“, which was adopted by the Serbian government in December 2013, the project aims to provide assistance in the following key areas: counselling of the Centre for the Training and Vocational Further Training of Detainees, basic and further training for prison guard officers, basic and further training of detainees in the women‘s detention centre in Požarevac. The project office is located in the “Centre for Training and Vocational Education of the Administration for Enforcement of Penal Sanctions“ in Niš.

In 2018, two key areas of the project focusing on advice at the Centre for the Training and Vocational Further Training of Detainees and the basic and further training of detainees in the women‘s detention centre in Požarevac were brought to a successful conclusion in close cooperation with the Department for the Implementation of Penal Sanctions in the Serbian Ministry of Justice. Among other things, this involved the successful preparation of training requirements‘ analyses and programmes, training programmes for managerial staff in Serbian penitentiary systems, as well as a programme to teach manual/craft skills to 50 detainees at the women‘s detention centre in Požarevac.

Moreover, a study trip to Bremen by a high-level delegation from the Serbian penitentiary system was organised in September 2018 as part of the basic and further training for prison guard officers. Included in the trip‘s itinerary were visits to the prisons in Bremen-Oslebshausen and Bremerhaven, the University of Public Administration and the Social Services of the Judiciary in the State of Bremen. During the visit, a pilot project from Bremerhaven prison was presented to the delegation, in which the Social Services of the Judiciary take charge of social services within the facility, which are then closely organised and coordinated with the probation officers working there. Members of the delegation had the opportunity to learn more about the technical standards and practical work within enforcement in the State of Bremen and the Social Services of the Judiciary during numerous discussions with experts. There were also extensive talks on the topic of managing detainees and former detainees with drug addiction problems. The project is scheduled to run until the end of March 2019.

EU Technical Assistance Project: Policy and Legal Advice Centre (PLAC II)

Since 2016, the IRZ has been supporting the European Integration Ministry of the Republic of Serbia and other Serbian institutions in the area of EU approximation, particularly in the area of legislation, in a consortium led by the Spanish company Altair Asesores as part of the IPA project “Policy and Legal Advice Centre“ (PLAC II). The principal beneficiary on the Serbian side was the Ministry for European Integration in the Republic of Serbia. There were also more minor beneficiaries, including the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Ministry of Justice and the National Bank of Serbia.

At the heart of the project is the important Chapter 24 (justice, freedom and security), which was opened as part of the accession negotiations with the EU. Other chapters were opened as well, meaning that the project also addressed issues such as animal welfare, greenhouse gas emissions or radiation protection. The project, which built on a previous PLAC project, had a volume of around €2.6 million and a term of 30 months. It was brought to a successful conclusion in December 2018.

Outlook

The IRZ will continue legislative advice as well as the series of seminars and further training events with the above-mentioned partner organisations, in particular with regard to Chapters 23 and 24 of the EU accession negotiations and the EU Strategy for the Western Balkans. There are plans to extend counselling on the legislative process to include the planned reform of the Code of Civil Procedure. Moreover, the cooperation with institutions and individual national experts who are dedicated to the Continental European legal tradition as well as to researching German law and its reception will be continued as well. Finally, ongoing support will be provided to young legal professionals.

In the area of Twinning, the IRZ will complete the project on the penitentiary system and, from February 2019, act as junior partner to the Danish Patent and Trademark Office in the Twinning Project “Protection of Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights“. It will also advise the Serbian Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications on the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights.

The Technical Assistance Project PLAC III, which builds on PLAC II, was put out to tender in the second half of 2018. The IRZ formed a consortium with Altair Asesores (lead partner) and submitted a bid for this project; a decision is expected around the end of the year. If awarded the contract, the consortium could continue its extremely successful work in Serbia.

 

Serbia - annual report 2017

Promoting the journal “Continental law” at the Belgrade Faculty of Law: Prof. Dr. Miloš Živković, professor at the Belgrade Faculty of Law; Dr. Stefan Pürner, IRZ; Alexander Jung, permanent representative of the German Ambassador; Prof. Dr. Sima Avramović, Dean of the Belgrade Faculty of Law; Prof. Dr. Milan Škulić, judge at the Constitutional Court of Serbia and professor at the Belgrade Faculty of Law (from left to right)
Promoting the journal “Continental law” at the Belgrade Faculty of Law: Prof. Dr. Miloš Živković, professor at the Belgrade Faculty of Law; Dr. Stefan Pürner, IRZ; Alexander Jung, permanent representative of the German Ambassador; Prof. Dr. Sima Avramović, Dean of the Belgrade Faculty of Law; Prof. Dr. Milan Škulić, judge at the Constitutional Court of Serbia and professor at the Belgrade Faculty of Law (from left to right)

Legal Policy Situation

The Republic of Serbia, with which the EU started accession negotiations formally in January 2014, opened negotiations on Chapters 23 (Justice and Fundamental Rights) and 24 (Justice, Freedom and Security) in July 2016. For this reason, the need for advice on the harmonisation of law and for assistance in training in the practical application of law has even increased. What is more, the EU considers that special efforts are required in the areas of judiciary and fundamental rights as well as in the areas of justice, freedom and security.

Overall Concept

The IRZ began legal cooperation with Serbia in 2000 within the framework of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe. A particular focus of the cooperation with Serbia is the long-standing collaboration with the Serbian Constitutional Court, which began with the consultation on the successful introduction of the constitutional complaint and is now being continued with the joint staging of regional constitutional court conferences. These and other bilateral activities are complemented by EU funded projects (Technical Assistance and Twinning). The partners of the IRZ include the Constitutional Court, the law faculties of the Universities of Belgrade and Kragujevac, the Society for Insurance Law, the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Serbia, the Society for the Study of German Law and its Reception as well as the Harmonius Network of Young Law Scholars.

The main objective of the IRZ in Serbia is to support the country on its way into the EU. The focus here is on an effective application of the law in accordance with the rule-of-law principles of a constitutional state. The IRZ emphasises the importance of a clear orientation towards Continental European legal principles and legal models in order to prevent hybrid solutions. Furthermore, it strengthens cooperation between lawyers from Serbia and its neighbouring countries.

Foci of Activity 2017

Constitutional Law/Human Rights and their Enforceability

  • Regional Constitutional Conference “Constitutional Court protection in Criminal law ” in Zlatibor
  • Participation of Serbian constitutional judges in the regional conference “Equality before the law in Constitutional Court Practice” in Budva, Montenegro, organised in cooperation with the Montenegrin Constitutional Court
  • Participation of the Serbian President of the Constitutional Court and a further constitutional judge in the Regional Conference of the Constitutional Court “Theory and practice of the independence of constitutional courts” in Jahorina, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Publication: “Yearbook of Constitutional Law 2017/Volume 2”, Belgrade, including publication of papers of the above-mentioned conference

Civil and Commercial Law

  • Annual insurance law conference of the Serbian Association for Insurance Law on “Proportionality and Legal Certainty in Insurance Law” together with the Association of the German Insurance Industry (GDV) in Palić
  • Conference “Conflict Management – Preparation and Avoidance of Arbitration Proceedings” in cooperation with the German Institution of Arbitration (DIS), the German-Serbian Chamber of Commerce and the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Belgrade
  • Translation and printing of the General Part of the German Civil Code (BGB) with an introductory commentary, Belgrade

Administration of Law

  • Regional Conference “Law and Transformation” at the Law Faculty of the University of Belgrade
  • Conference “Justice and Media” together with the Serbian Judges’ Association in Belgrade
  • Working visit of legal scholars to Munich, Nuremberg and Regensburg on the subject of “Methods of coming to terms with the past”, in cooperation with the Institute for Eastern Law of Munich in Munich, Nuremberg and Regensburg
  • Consulting to the Serbian Ministry of Justice on the “Preparation of an expert opinion on the organisation of the judiciary and the organisational position of the Public Prosecutor’s Office”, Belgrade
  • Symposium “Legal transformation in South-East Europe using former Yugoslavia as an example: prerequisites, parties involved, failures and successes” in Berlin in cooperation with the Southeast Europe Association

Basic and Further Training

  • Support for the Master’s programme “European Integration” at the Law Faculty of the University of Belgrade
  • Course in German legal terminology for German-speaking judges and young lawyers at the Law Faculty of the University of Belgrade
  • Participation of German-speaking Serbian students in the IRZ’s “Summer school German Law” in Brühl and Bonn
  • Support for the sixth issue of the publication “Harmonius – Journal of Legal and Social Studies in South East Europe” in cooperation with the Harmonius network of young lawyers
  • Support of the Harmonius network website with extensive downloadable material
  • Publication of the first issue of the publication “Continental Law – journal for sustainable and appropriate legal development” in cooperation with Belgrade legal experts
  • Event for the public presentation of the aforementioned journal in Belgrade
  • Establishment of a homepage of this journal (http://kontinentalnopravo.info)
  • Participation of Serbian students in the regional block seminar “Introduction to German Law” at the Faculty of Law of the University of Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Two lectures on law under National Socialism at the Faculty of Law, Kragujevac University

Projects financed by the European Union

IPA Project: Policy and Legal Advice Centre (PLAC II)

Since 2016, the IRZ has been supporting the European Integration Ministry of the Republic of Serbia and other Serbian institutions in the area of EU approximation, particularly in the area of legislation, in a consortium led by the Spanish company Altair Asesores as part of the IPA project “Policy and Legal Advice Centre” (PLAC II). The project, which is based on a previous PLAC project, has a volume of around EUR 2.6 million and a term of 30 months. It focuses on the important chapters opened during the accession negotiations with the EU.

EU Twinning Project: Improving capacities and capabilities within the prison system in the Republic of Serbia

The IRZ is carrying out this EU Twinning project with the support of the Austrian AED as a junior partner. It is part of the “Strategy for the Improvement of the System of Execution of Criminal Sanctions in the Republic of Serbia until 2020” adopted by the Serbian government on 23 December 2013 and has a total budget of EUR 1 million.

The project aims to provide support in three key areas:

  • Organisational and institutional support for the “Centre for Training and Vocational Training of Detainees”
  • Improvement of expertise and competencies of prison staff
  • Education and training of female inmates of the women’s detention centre in Požarevac

The implementation of the project began on 4 July 2017 with the arrival of the Resident Twinning Advisor at the Centre for Training and Vocational Education of the Administration for Enforcement of Penal Sanctions in Niš and was opened with an official ceremony in September 2017 at the Palata Srbije (Palace of Serbia in Belgrade).

With the first activities in 2017, we have been able to build a solid foundation for the successful implementation of future missions, as some of the important and binding results have already been achieved:

  • Analysis of the legal situation with recommendations on improving the organisational and technical capacities for the “Centre for Training and Vocational Education of the Administration for Enforcement of Penal Sanctions”
  • Analysis of training needs for employees in the penitentiary system
  • Analysis of the current status of the probation assistance system in Serbia with recommendations on the most effective post-release modalities
  • Organisation and implementation of a study visit to Austria for the staff of the Serbian Ministry of Justice

The beneficiary of the project is the Serbian Ministry of Justice (Directorate for Enforcement in the Penitentiary System), the client is the Central Office for Financing and Contracting at the Serbian Ministry of Finance (CFCU).

Outlook

The IRZ will continue the series of seminars and training events with the above-mentioned partner organisations, in particular with regard to chapters 23 and 24 of the EU accession negotiations. It will strengthen the cooperation with institutions and individual national experts who are dedicated to the Continental European legal tradition as well as to researching German law and its reception. In addition, young legal professionals will continue to be supported.

In the framework of the EU funded projects, the IRZ will carry on its activities in technical assistance and Twinning projects for the Ministry of Justice, other legal organisations and law enforcement authorities in the coming years, in particular with regard to EU accession negotiations, institutional and organisational support as well as education and training programmes.

Serbia - annual report 2016

Regional conference on “Protection of ownership by Constitutional Courts”: Mato Tadić, Vice-President of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina; Desanka Lopičić, President of the Montenegrin Constitutional Court; Vesna Ilić-Prelić, President of the Serbian Constitutional Court (from left to right)

Regional conference on “Protection of ownership by Constitutional Courts”: Mato Tadić, Vice-President of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina; Desanka Lopičić, President of the Montenegrin Constitutional Court; Vesna Ilić-Prelić, President of the Serbian Constitutional Court (from left to right)

Strategic Framework

Legal Policy Starting Point

Since the commencement of official accession negotiations with the EU in January 2014, the legal policy starting point in Serbia has changed considerably. There is an even greater need for consultation on the harmonisation of the law and support in training the practical application of the law. In the view of the EU, particular efforts also need to be made in the areas of the judiciary and human rights, as well as on the subject area of justice, freedom and security.

2016 was influenced by early new elections, in which the existing continuation of the coalition government between the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) and the Serbian Socialist Party (SPS) was confirmed, as well as the opening of Chapters 23 and 24 of the EU accession negotiations.

Overall Concept

The IRZ began legal cooperation with Serbia in 2000 within the framework of the Stability Pact for South East Europe. Its topics since then have been consultation on important EU-compatible reform statutes, on the structure of the judicial system and on the basic and further training of legal practitioners.

There is special focus on long-term cooperation with the Serbian Constitutional Court on the successful introduction of constitutional complaints. In addition, the IRZ also implemented a whole series of projects funded by third parties, some of which were very extensive. In recent years, the IRZ has also worked more intensively with non-governmental organisations.

Its partners include the Constitutional Court, the Faculties of Law at the Universities of Belgrade and Niš, the Association for Insurance Law of Serbia, the Delegation Office of German Commerce and Industry in Serbia, the Singipedia academic Internet portal, the Society for the Study and Reception of German Law and the Harmonius Network of Young Legal Scholars in South-East Europe.

The IRZ’s main aim in Serbia is to support the country on its course towards the EU. The focus here lies on effective implementation of the statutes corresponding to the principles of the rule of law. The activities aim to continue consultation through successful implementation. Here, the IRZ stresses the significance of clear orientation towards continental European principles and legal models in order to avoid hybrid solutions. Furthermore, it is strengthening cooperation with lawyers from Serbia and its neighbouring countries.

Foci of Activity 2016

Constitutional Law / Human Rights and their Enforceability

  • Regional constitutional conference in Fruška Gora on “Constitutional court protection of ownership rights”
  • Participation by Serbian constitutional court judges at the Regional Conference in Budva, Montenegro, on “The constitutional court review of elections” organised in cooperation with the Montenegrin Constitutional Court
  • Participation by the President of the Constitutional Court of Serbia and another constitutional judge at the Regional Constitutional Court Conference in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on the topic “Decisions of the European Court of Human Rights and their influence on the national constitutional courts”

Civil and Commercial Law

  • Annual insurance law conference of the Association for Insurance Law of Serbia in Palić, Serbia, on the topic of “Reforms and changes in insurance law” together with the German Insurance Association (GDV e.V.)
  • Conference in Belgrade entitled “Proper choice of arbitrator and counsel in particular in cross-border arbitration proceedings” together with the German Institution of Arbitration (DIS), the German-Serbian Chamber of Commerce and the Delegation of German Commerce and Industry
  • Business law conference on the topic “Corporate law and arbitration” at the Faculty of Law of the University of Niš
  • Workshop on “Free movement of goods in practice: Cross-border contracts – negotiations and wording” at the Faculty of Law of the University of Belgrade

Administration of Justice

  • Study trip to Berlin by Serbian administrative court judges on the topic of “Sequence of courts in administrative court proceedings” on behalf of the OSCE Mission in Serbia
  • Participation at the international academic conference entitled “Legal, social and political control in national, international and EU law” at the Faculty of Law of the University of Niš
  • Event in Belgrade on the topic of “Dealing with and illuminating the legal past” together with the Association for the Study and Reception of German Law
  • Conference in Belgrade on the topic of “Judicial office and freedom of opinion” together with the German Association of Judges
  • Regional block seminar “Introduction to German law” with regional participation at and with the Faculty of Law of the University of Belgrade

Basic and Further Training

  • Support for a Masters course in “European Integration” at the Faculty of Law of the University of Belgrade
  • German legal terminology course for German-speaking judges as well as young lawyers at the Faculty of Law of the University of Belgrade
  • Participation by German-speaking Serbian law students at the IRZ “German law” summer school in Brühl and Bonn
  • Support for the fifth edition of the journal entitled “Harmonius Journal for legal and social studies in South East Europe” in cooperation with the Harmonius Network of Legal Scholars
  • Support for the website of the Harmonius Network with considerable download material
  • Dissemination of regional legal specialist publications (co)published by the IRZ, in particular the regional specialist journal “Nova Pravna Revija” (“New Legal Review”)
  • Guest lecture entitled “Working through the legal past” at the Faculties of Law of the Universities of Belgrade and Niš

EU Project

Outlook

The IRZ will be continuing the series of seminars and further training events with the abovementioned partner organisations, in particular with regard to Chapters 23 and 24 of the EU accession negotiations. It will increase its cooperation with institutions and individual national experts working in the field of research on German law and its reception, including its contacts and experience from the project work in other countries of the region. This also includes support for young lawyers.

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