Legal policy starting point
The legal policy starting point in Serbia changed considerably in 2012, partly as a result of parliamentary and presidential elections, and the concomitant change of government. Serbia was also awarded the status of an EU accession candidate at the EU summit in March 2012. Since the EU’s Progress Report for 2012 nonetheless called for efforts in the justice system to be stepped up, the new Justice Minister Nikola Selaković had a critical review carried out of the reform steps taken by the previous government, so that one may anticipate renewed reform efforts and legislative procedures.
Cooperation to date
The IRZ began its legal cooperation with Serbia in 2001 in the framework of the Stability Pact for South East Europe. It has focussed since then on consultation on important EU-compatible reform statues, on the structure of the judicial system, as well as on the basic and further training of legal practitioners. The many years of cooperation with the Serbian Constitutional Court on the successful introduction of the constitutional complaint constitute a special focus. Furthermore, the IRZ planned a whole series of longer and in some cases very extensive projects. The IRZ has also worked more with non-governmental organisations in the last two years.
Focus of activity
Strategy and method
The main goal of the IRZ in Serbia is to support the country on its path to the EU. The focus most recently was on the institutional reform of the public prosecution office in preparation for its new role as the “authority in charge of the investigative proceedings” along German lines. The future activities aim to continue the consultation by successful implementation. To this end, amongst other things training courses and further training are on the agenda. The IRZ will emphasise the significance of a clear orientation towards continental European legal principles and legal models in order to avoid hybrid solutions. Furthermore, it will amplify the regional approach by means of which Serbian lawyers will be networked with their professional colleagues in the neighbouring countries.
Civil and commercial law
- Two short expert reports for the Serbian Office of Intellectual Property by staff members of the Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property and Competition Law;
- Five seminars in Belgrade, Novi Sad, Niš and Kragujevac for judges of the commercial courts on topics related to coercive execution in cooperation with the Judicial Academy;
- Four lawyers working in the field of insurance law from other states of the region sent to attend a conference organised by the Serbian Society for Insurance Law in Palić on questions related to the harmonisation of national insurance law.
Rule of law and justice
- Attendance by members of the Committee on Legal Affairs of the Serbian Parliament at the II International Conference for Members of Committees on Legal Affairs of National Parliaments in Donaueschingen;
- Conference on international arbitration, together with the German Institution of Arbitration (DIS), the German-Serbian Trade Association (DSW) and the delegation of German industry;
- Internship for a Serbian lawyer at the German Institution of Arbitration in Cologne;
- Translation and publication of the 10th Book of the German Civil Procedure Code (arbitration procedure law) in the regional specialist journal entitled “Nova Pravna Revija” (NPR);
- Successful participation by the moot court team of the Law Faculty of the University of Novi Sad in a competition in The Hague.
- Seminar for Serbian administrative court judges and administrative court judges from other countries of the region, inter alia on the topic drafting of administrative law judgments.
Criminal law and criminal procedure law
- Workshop entitled “Cooperation between the public prosecution office and the police in the investigation proceedings” on the new Code of Criminal Procedure in Belgrade;
- Working visit by a delegation from the Ministries of Justice and of the Interior on questions related to cooperation between the public prosecution office and the police in Berlin;
Support for the group of experts on the reform the Code of Criminal Procedure through the deployment of a long-term adviser;
- Publication of a study on the application of the new Code of Criminal Procedure in Serbia; Translation of the Guidelines for Criminal Investigation and Administrative Fines Proceedings (RiStBV) including its annexes, with an introductory text as material for the training course of the public prosecution office and the police in Serbia, but also other countries in the region;
- Conference of the Institute for Comparative Law on the fight against corruption;
- Conference on the fight against corruption by the Serbian Association of Public Prosecutors and Judges.
- Multilateral symposium on constitutional law at the University of Regensburg with the participation of a judge from the Serbian Constitutional Court;
- Roundtable on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the International Association of Constitutional Law (IACL);
- Roundtable of the Constitutional Courts of the region in Sremski Karlovci;
- Attendance by the President of the Constitutional Court and of a constitutional court judge at the event with Professor Jutta Limbach, President of the Federal Constitutional Court, ret., in Sarajevo.
- Cooperation with the Harmonius Network of Young Legal Scholars in South-East Europe: Support for the new journal entitled “Harmonius – Journal of Legal and Social Studies in South East Europe”, Two winter schools lasting several days in Zlatibor and Kopaonik on current legal topics with participants from the region, Establishment of a multilingual website on the harmonisation of national law with EU law.
- Legal terminology course entitled “German for lawyers” for Germanspeaking Serbian lawyers;
- Presentation of the book published by the Institute for Comparative Law “Uvod u pravo Nemačke” (Introduction to German law) at the Law Faculty of the University of Belgrade;
- Attendance by young Serbian lawyers at the “German law” summer school in Brühl and Bonn;
Information event for young Serbian lawyers on grants, legal terminology courses and internships, as well as on the German law summer school, together with the German Academic Exchange Service at the Law Faculty of Belgrade;
- Presentation of the journal entitled Nova Pravna Revija - Časopis za domače, njemačko i evropsko pravo (“Journal for domestic, German and European law”, shortened to: NPR);
- Roundtable on the reception of German law in the region at the Law Faculty of Belgrade;
- Distribution of further specialist publications to selected project partners.
The IRZ will be continuing the series of seminars and further training events with the abovementioned partner organisations and sustaining its support for these events in the implementation of the Judicial Reform Acts. It will be stepping up 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 further countries of the region. This includes support for young lawyers, in particular those with a knowledge of German language and law.