The Sino-German exchange for judges is a project of the Robert Bosch Stiftung, implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). On the Chinese side, the partners in the cooperation arrangement are the Supreme People’s Court and the higher people’s courts of the participating provinces, while the partners in Germany are the departments of justice and the courts of the participating German states.
The Sino-German exchange for judges aims to establish long-term sharing of expertise between judges of the two countries, a process to be intensified over the course of time. As the participants from either country live and work in a politically and socio-culturally different context, the exchange is intended to deepen the mutual understanding of each other’s justice system and professional working conditions. In the process, alongside its professional objectives, the exchange equally helps to foster international understanding.
The exchange for judges focuses on study trips by Chinese and German judges from selected Chinese provinces and German states to the respective partner state or partner province. Over the ensuing years, the established contacts are consolidated and deepened in the course of follow-up visits. The exchanges take place in various courts of the respective partner provinces and German states. These visits give participants an insight into a normal working day and the practical working conditions of their counterparts in the other country. These are supplemented by visits to other justice institutions, for instance facilities of the state justice departments or the prison service. The professional dialogue centres on fundamental issues concerning the organisation of the judiciary, the judge’s role and procedural as well as substantive law issues. Since 2011, more than 900 judges from the two countries have taken part in the exchange. The exchange for judges thus acts as a bridge between key actors in the judicial systems of the two countries.
The following partnerships are currently in place as part of the exchange:
- between Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region (since 2011), Gansu province and the directly government-controlled City of Tianjin (both since 2016) and the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia;
- between Shaanxi province (since 2012), Sichuan province and the directly government-controlled City of Chongqing (both since 2016) and the Higher Regional Court of Dresden, German Free State of Saxony and (since 2017) also with the Free State of Thuringia;
- between the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region (since 2013), Shandong and Shanxi provinces (both since 2016) and the German states of Berlin and Brandenburg, which are linked at judicial level through common higher courts;
- between the provinces of Henan (since 2010/2014), Hebei and Jiangsu (both since 2016) and the German state of Baden-Württemberg;
- between the provinces of Hainan (since 2015), Guangxi and Yunnan (both since 2016) and the German Free State of Bavaria;
- between the provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning (since 2016) and the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg;
- between the provinces of Zhejiang and Anhui and the German state of Hesse (since 2017) and
- between the provinces of Hubei and Fujian and the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate (since 2018).
Participants are selected in Germany by the participating state departments of justice, and in China by the Supreme People’s Court.
Further information on the Sino-German Exchange for Judges can be found on the Robert Bosch Stiftung website.