Former judges at the German Federal Constitutional Court, Prof. Dr. Udo Steiner and Prof. Dr. Reinhard Gaier; Dr. Stefan Hülshörster, Managing Director of the IRZ (from left to right)
Former judges at the German Federal Constitutional Court, Prof. Dr. Udo Steiner and Prof. Dr. Reinhard Gaier; Dr. Stefan Hülshörster, Managing Director of the IRZ (from left to right)

From 26 to 29 November 2017, a delegation from the Constitutional Court of Ukraine once again attended expert talks in Bonn by invitation of the IRZ.

As well as the acting Presiding Judge of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, Victor Kryvenko, the delegation also included three other constitutional court judges from Ukraine and two research employees of judges at the constitutional court.

The German speakers were the same as for the two previous expert discussions of this kind held in May 2017 and November 2016: Prof. Dr. Reinhard Gaier and Prof. Dr. Udo Steiner, both of whom used to be judges at the German Federal Constitutional Court, and Dr. Matthias Hartwig from the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg.

Once again, the focus of the talks was on handling constitutional complaints. After all, as we have already reported (Conference on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine), this means of filing an individual complaint (as a legal complaint) has since been introduced in Ukraine in accordance with the bill to amend the constitution adopted in June last year.

German experiences of handling constitutional complaints are of great interest and benefit to the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, in so far as helping citizens to exercise their rights as effectively as possible is concerned.

Practical issues concerning written and oral procedures and the allocation of responsibilities between the two Senates of the German Federal Constitutional Court were also discussed. The talks also covered the question of whether a constitutional court can help with the process of dealing with the past during the transition from an authoritarian to a democratic form of government. Finally, they also discussed how various fundamental rights can be weighed up against each other.

The format of carrying out this kind of constitutional expert discussion in a small group has proved to be successful, since it allows a much more intensive exchange of expertise than is possible in large conferences.

The IRZ will also aim to include, where possible, one or two expert discussions of this kind in its agenda for 2018.