Delegation of the Ukrainian High Judicial Qualifications Commission visits Munich for expert talks

The Ukrainian Delegation with Beate Schmidt (mid-left), President of the Federal Patent Court, Dr. Stefan Hülshörster (second from right), Managing Director of the IRZ, and Dr. Nikolaus von Hartz (right), Judge at the Federal Patent Court.
The Ukrainian Delegation with Beate Schmidt (mid-left), President of the Federal Patent Court, Dr. Stefan Hülshörster (second from right), Managing Director of the IRZ, and Dr. Nikolaus von Hartz (right), Judge at the Federal Patent Court.

From 11 to 14 December 2017 a delegation of the High Judicial Qualification Commission (HRQA) of Ukraine held expert talks in Munich.

Ukraine is currently undergoing a judicial reform in the course of constitutional changes. Within this reform it is planned to establish an independent Supreme Court for intellectual property issues. The HRQA is currently dealing intensively with determining the criteria for the qualification and selection of future judges for the court. This applies in particular for the so-called technical judges who have undergone scientific-technical training.

Since the IRZ tries to support the Ukrainian judicial reforms in many ways with expert recommendations and advice, advice regarding the establishment of such a new court fits into the IRZ’s consultation concept.

First, the Ukrainian experts gathered information about the foundations of selecting judges for the German judicial system in two talks complementing each other. They met with Andrea Titz, Director of the Local Court of Wolfratshausen and Chairwoman of the Bavarian Association of Judges, and Lore Sprickmann Kererinck, Presiding Judge at the Higher Regional Court of Munich, Deputy Chairwoman of the Bavarian Association of Judges and Deputy Chairwoman of the Board of the German Association of Judges.

After the President of the Regional Court of Munich, Dr. Hans-Joachim Heßler, had welcomed the Ukrainian guests, Dr. Martin Ebner-Vittinghoff, Judge at the Regional Court of Munich, explained the specifics of the infringement procedures before courts of general jurisdiction.

There were further expert talks with Marielle Piana at the European Patent Office, in which the efforts setting up a European Patent Court were also discussed.

In a comprehensive and intensive discussion round with the President of the Federal Patent Court, Beate Schmidt, and Dr. Nikolaus von Hartz, Judge at the Federal Patent Court, the issues of revocation proceedings and in particular the qualification and selection of patent judges were discussed. Later, the participants had the opportunity to participate in a court hearing of the VI Senate.

Ukrainian constitutional court judges attend expert talks at the IRZ in Bonn

 

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.

Delegation from the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine visit Berlin to discuss the prison system

The delegation from the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine with Oksana Reiter and Oksana Paschenko with the Head of the “Law Enforcement” department at the Senate for Justice, Consumer Protection and Anti-discrimination, Susanne Gerlach (front row from the left)
The delegation from the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine with Oksana Reiter and Oksana Paschenko with the Head of the “Law Enforcement” department at the Senate for Justice, Consumer Protection and Anti-discrimination, Susanne Gerlach (front row from the left)

From 13 to 16 November 2017, a delegation from the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine led by Oksana Reiter, Head of the External Relations Department, were in Berlin on a working visit. The delegation included, amongst others, the Director of the state prison service department, Oksana Paschenko, as well as its Deputy Director, Oleksii Bondarenko.

To begin the visit, the Head of the “International Legal Cooperation; Proceedings” department, Alexandra Albrecht, welcomed the guests to the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV). Whilst there, Claudia Eller-Funke gave a speech about the structure and work of the Ministry.

Afterwards, the Head of the “International Fight against Terrorism; penal legislation for the protection of the state” department, Dr. Martin Hiestand, informed the guests about the regulations for the enforcement of life sentences. Talks with the Head of the “Law Enforcement” department at the Senate for Justice, Consumer Protection and Anti-discrimination, Susanne Gerlach, dealt with this focal point of the visit in more detail.

A visit to the Tegel penal institution and talks with its Director, Martin Riemer, and the Public Relations officer at the JVA, Rafael Galejew, presented an opportunity for further discussion of prison system regulations and practices.

To conclude the visit, the Ukrainian guests visited the Berlin young offenders’ institution and held talks with its Deputy Prison Director, Silvia Hawliczek.

The subject of the prison system and in particular conditions of detention for life prisoners, which is covered by the cooperation agreement between the BMJV and the Ministry of Justice in Ukraine, was met with great interest by the Ukrainian visitors and is set to be continued next year with a focus on open prisons.