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Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law

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The GIZ-Project “Turkmenistan – Promotion of the Rule of Law in Central Asia”

Participation on the GIZ-Project “Turkmenistan – Promotion of the Rule of Law in Central Asia”

Since obtaining independence at the start of the 1990s, the nations of Central Asia have taken im-portant steps designed to foster an independent justice system and to develop a modern, democratic and market-oriented system of law. In Turkmenistan as well, the ongoing legal dialogue with the West is playing a significant role, particularly in light of the fact that the Turkmenistan Civil Code is strongly influenced by the German BGB.


The Russia Unit of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law in Hamburg is supporting efforts undertaken by the Deutschen Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)  which aim to promote the consolidation of reformed laws (especially in the areas of private law and business law), the formulation of new legislative proposals, and the development of qualified and independent administrative entities.

In the context of this GIZ project, in 2011/2012 the Institute received two delegations of high-ranking Turkmenistan jurists who were members of a working group commissioned by the Turkmenistan government to draft a commentary to the Turkmenistan Civil Code with the assistance of Western experts. As part of each visit, the delegations participated in a seminar which was commenced with an introductory lecture given by Eugenia Kurzynsky-Singer, the research fellow heading the Institute’s Russia Unit. The content of the talk focused on methodology in the application of law, examining in particular the differences between jurisprudence premised on interests and values as opposed to a formalistic approach to the application of law, the latter approach typically being favoured in post-Soviet states. Subsequent to her lecture, the considered problems were discussed with the participants. An additional component of the delegation visits was a working session on the commentary to the Turkmenistan Civil Code, also attended by Eugenia Kurzynsky-Singer.


Since 2015, Eugenia Kurzynsky-Singer has been participating on the work on the fourth volume of the commentary, looking at the law of succession. The first meeting of the working group was held in Ashgabat on 14 April 2015 and was attended by Eugenia Kurzynsky-Singer. Further trips occurred in July and November 2015. With the participation and support of German legal scholars, it is hoped that the commentary’s authors, themselves high-ranking Turkmenistan jurists, will be able to achieve a Civil Code commentary in the style of its German counterparts. Numerous questions raised in the framework of the Turkmenistan Civil Code were discussed at meetings attended by German experts. This, in turn, allowed the presentation of both the German approaches to the individual problems as well as the systematics and principles of German succession law.


After the Turkmenistan authors presented the first drafts of their contributions, they were reviewed by Eugenia Kurzynsky-Singer, who annotated the texts with numerous comments, additions and suggestions for improvement. The revisions were then discussed at length with the participants. A final meeting of the working group, at which the revised second versions of the contributions will be discussed, is scheduled for April 2016.


Additionally, in connection with each of these trips, a continuing education seminar was held. These sessions, which were primarily prepared and conducted by Eugenia Kurzynsky-Singer, were attended by Turkmenistan judges and attorneys. Topics considered included succession law, property law and contract law. The main goal of these seminars was to make the Turkmenistan participants more familiar with the German methodology for analysing and resolving legal problems; the previously existing Soviet approach to civil law problems was quite different, with the focus there being placed rather on the legal relationships and its social context than on private law based claims and objections in the relationship between parties. The return to a private-law-centred perspective is thus a necessary step in the development of a civil law system.


Lectures by Eugenia Kurzynsky-Singer in connection with the project:


  • Методика решения гражданско-правового казуса: Право требования из договорных обязательств. Право требования в случае оспаривания договора [Methodology in the Civil Law Analysis of Cases: Claims based on contractual obligations. Claims in case of the avoidance of a contract.], Seminar for Turkmenistan Lawyers and Judges, organised by the GIZ and the Turkmenistan Ministry of Justice, 26.11.2015, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
  • Совместное завещание. Расчет обязательной доли [Joint Wills. Calculation of Compulsory Portions], Working Group Talk on the Commentary to the Turkmenistan Civil Code, 27.11.15, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
  • Отдельные вопросы наследования по завещанию в наследственном праве Туркменистана [Individual Questions on Testamentary Succession in Turkmenistan Law], Working Group Talk on the Commentary to the Turkmenistan Civil Code, 03.07.2015, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan 
  • Завещание и обязательная доля в наследственном праве Туркменистана [Wills and Compulsory Portions in Turkmenistan Succession Law], Seminar for Turkmenistan Lawyers and Judges, organised by the GIZ and the Turkmenistan Ministry of Justice, 02.07.2015, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan 
  • Основопологающие принципы наследственного права [Basic Principles of Succession Law], Working Group Talk on the Commentary to the Turkmenistan Civil Code, 14.04.2015, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan 
  • Рецепция немецкого вещного права в Грузии [The Reception of German Property Law in Georgia], Seminar for Turkmenistan Lawyers and Judges, organised by the GIZ and the Turkmenistan Ministry of Justice, 13.04.2015, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan 
  • Юриспруденция ценностей как основа методики немецкого права [Wertungsjurisprudenz (Principle-Based Jurisprudence) as a Pillar of German Legal Methodology], Lecture for a Group of Turkmenistan Lawyers and Judges, MPI for Private Law, Hamburg, 10.11.2011 and 15.11.12


Participation at the “St. Petersburg Legal Forum”

From 27 to 30 May 2015, Eugenia Kurzynsky-Singer attended the St. Petersburg International Legal Forum as a member of the German Foundation for International Legal Cooperation’s expert team.  Since first being held in 2011, the Forum has grown to become one of Russia’s most important platforms for communication and exchange in the area of law.

More than 3,000 academics, judges and legal professionals from approximately 80 countries were present at this year’s Forum, comprising over 50 lectures, panel talks and discussion sessions. Eugenia Kurzynsky-Singer took part in the roundtable looking at the reform of the law of obligations in Russia. The roundtable, featuring high-ranking Russian representatives from the areas of practice and research as well as experts from German and France, addressed core amendments to the Russian law of obligations, including rules on compensatory damages, lien reform, and the implementation of foreign legal principles. In her contribution, Eugenia Kurzynsky-Singer elaborated on the principles of culpa in contrahendo.

Legal consultation in Ukraine

In the years 2010 and 2011 the Institute participated in a consultation of the Ukrainian government concerning the questions of privatisation which was arranged by the GIZ. During this period Dr. Kurzynsky-Singer made several journeys to Kiev to discuss the change of the current legal situation with the group of experts of the GIZ and with the management of the Ukrainian State Property Fund. The main focus of the consultations was the protection of investors and the privatisation of the factory premises of the enterprises.

Opinion on the evasion of law

The Institute made a contribution to the current debate about the reform of the Russian Civil Code on the initiative of the Chair of International Private and Civil Law of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO). An opinion on the prohibition of the evasion of law in German law was written by Eugenia Kurzynsky-Singer with regard to the question, whether the legal institution of the prohibition of the evasion of law should be codified in Art. 10 of the Russian Civil Code and what consequences would follow the implentation in the Civil Code. The opinion was passed on to the different institutions that dealt with the reform of the Civil Code and was published in the learned journal Вестник гражданского права [Vestnik Graždanskogo prava] 2011, No. 2, pp. 271-285.