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On 15 May 2018, the IRZ brought the study course it had initiated on an introduction to German law with European references to a successful conclusion for the eighth time. The IRZ has been running this course at the Ivan Franko University of Lviv in Ukraine since 2009/2010.
Successful graduates were awarded their certificates at a ceremony attended by the permanent representative of the German Embassy in Ukraine, Wolfgang Bindseil.
The introductory lectures in the 2017/2018 academic year covered the following areas of the law:
administrative law and administrative procedure law,
constitutional court law,
civil law and civil procedure law,
criminal law and criminal procedure law and
company and commercial law.
The lectures for this course take place in the German language. The lecturers come from German universities and from the professional field. Written tests are held at the end of the course of lectures. As has been the case every year, all the successful graduates were once again this year invited to attend the “IRZ Summer School on German Law”, which will take place in Bonn in July. The graduate with the best results, Anastasia Kotliarchuk, also receives a scholarship from the IRZ for a study visit to a German university.
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.
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.
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.