Conference on continental European civil law and civil proceedure law in Belgrade

Catrin Czyganowski (2nd from right), Head of Economic Affairs at the German Embassy, during her welcome speech
Catrin Czyganowski (2nd from right), Head of Economic Affairs at the German Embassy, during her welcome speech
Serbia

On 21 June 2018, the second joint annual conference on continental European law was organised by the IRZ and the local Law Faculty in Belgrade. This time, the focus was on civil law.

The conference was opened by the acting Dean of the Law Faculty, lecturer Dr. Milena Đorđević, the head of the national accreditation body for quality assurance in higher education, Prof. Dr. Sima Avramović, and Dr. Stefan Pürner, representing the IRZ. Catrin Czyganowski, Head of Economic Affairs at the German Embassy, then welcomed the participants and took the opportunity to emphasise the importance of the IRZ’s commitment in Serbia.

The conference programme included a presentation of various IRZ publications on continental European law and two lectures, in which the differences between continental European law and common law were addressed.

The first of these lectures was given by Prof. Dr. James Maxeiner from the University of Baltimore on the subject of “Judgements based on the law as a benchmark for civil proceedings”. He underlined the fact that the objective of the US founding fathers was to set up a legal system based on the continental European model. Jefferson was even an advocate of a US Code Civil. Since then, however, the US system has moved away from this ideal. According to Maxeiner, the result of this is that the US civil process, for example, has a number of disadvantages compared with the continental European system, and in particular compared with the German system. He gave extensive reasons for this during his lecture.

Afterwards, Prof. Dr. Mirjana Radović analysed the impact of Anglo-Saxon law on Serbian company law. She came to the conclusion that in Serbia, despite fundamentally different structures in business and the economy, various legal institutions from US law have been incorporated, which do not fit in very well with Serbian legal tradition.

As well as these lectures, a series of current South-East European IRZ publications on continental European and German law was also presented. Prof. Dr. Milan Škulić and Prof. Dr. Milos Zivkovic, both judges at the Constitutional Court of Serbia and members of the Law Faculty in Belgrade, gave lectures on the latest edition of the journal “Kontinentalno pravo – časopis za održiv i skladan razvoj prava” (Continental law - journal for lasting and practical legal development” or KoPRa for short), for which they are part of the editorial team. This publication will be presented in more detail at a later date in a special report to be given at the same venue.

The lecture by a member of the board of the Association of German Judicial Officers, Klaus Rellermeyer, on the Institution of Judicial Officers in Germany, also attracted great attention. Klaus Rellermeyer, together with his colleague Manfred Georg, introduced the volume, with a dual language edition of the law on judicial officers .

The presentation of these new editions of IRZ publications in the Bosnian-Croat-Montenegrin-Serbian language was rounded off with a contribution by Prof. Dr. Slavko Kragujevc on his translation of the general section of the German Civil Code (BGB), which has also been published as a dual language book.

At the event, a participant who had recently completed the English-language notarial internship in Bonn, even came from the Bosnian capital Sarajevo. This should prove not only the attractiveness of the event, but also the commitment of the IRZ alumni and their affiliation to the IRZ.

Presentation of the IRZ as part of a course for trainee diplomats in the Western Balkans

-	Lawyer Dr. Birgit Grundmann, former  Secretary of State at the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection and Executive Board member of the IRZ
- Lawyer Dr. Birgit Grundmann, former Secretary of State at the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection and Executive Board member of the IRZ

The Diplomatic Academy of the German Foreign Office organised its eighth course for trainee diplomats from the Western Balkans from 13 February to 10 March 2018. Once again this year, the course programme included a presentation of the IRZ.

The following people gave lectures on the activities of the IRZ in South-East Europe:

  • Lawyer Dr. Birgit Grundmann, former Secretary of State at the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection and Executive Board member of the IRZ and
  • Lawyer Dr. Stefan Pürner, Head of Section at the IRZ for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.

The short introductory lectures given in English were followed by intense discussions, which were moderated by Gudrun Steinacker, Head of the West Balkans course at the Diplomatic Academy and a former ambassador. She had supported the activities of the IRZ on site in Bulgaria, Macedonia and Montenegro.

Sixteen participants from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia took an active and dynamic role in the discussions

The topics discussed were very wide-ranging:

  • the professional execution of legislative procedures,
  • the fight against corruption,
  • competition between legal systems,
  • the significance of consistent legislation and legal certainty for economic growth and
  • the advantages and disadvantages of harmonisation at EU level.

The participants also showed a particular interest in IRZ legal publications in their own languages.

Conference in Belgrade: Conflict management – Preparation and avoidance of arbitration proceedings

Prof. Dr. Jörg Risse, lawyer at Baker & McKenzie, during his presentation
Prof. Dr. Jörg Risse, lawyer at Baker & McKenzie, during his presentation

The event “Conflict management – Preparation and avoidance of arbitration proceedings“ on 12 December 2017 in Belgrade was the sixth annual conference on various aspects of arbitration jointly organised by the IRZ, the German Institution of Arbitration (DIS) and the German-Serbian Chamber of Industry and Commerce (AHK).

The conference was opened by the German business delegate in Serbia, Martin Knapp, and Dr. Stefan Pürner, IRZ, who welcomed the participants also on behalf of the DIS as co-organiser. The opening was followed by a welcome address by Matthias Schikorski from the German Embassy in Serbia in which he emphasized the importance of arbitration in particular in cross-border business relations.

Prof. Dr. Tibor Varady, former Minister of Justice and author of numerous international publications on arbitration, then spoke on the importance of the arbitration agreement for later dispute resolution.

Prof. Dr. Jörg Risse, LL. M. from the law firm Baker & McKenzie, then gave the presentation “Don’t be afraid of the ‚Dispute Beast‘ – How to assess arbitration risks and opportunities in a structured way and resolve conflicts effectively”

The presentations by these two internationally renowned arbitrators were followed by many questions and intensive discussions. They focused on the methodology for determining the prospects of success in contentious proceedings and on the preparation of the results for the clients. The relationship between lawyer and client in general was also discussed.