Berlin – Hannover – Trier – Munich.

We will remember the exchange programme forever. We have never thought that we would have opportunity to participate in something like that. Our visit was dedicated to the exchange of experience in the work of law clinics.

Two days we were in Berlin together: we had some excursions in Berlin, in Bundestag and Reichstag. So, we visited the Migration Hub. The mission of this centre is to support international social projects working with migrants and refugees. This is a platform for people staying in Germany, helping them to create their own business projects and register microenterprises.

The founder of this center Ana Alvarez shared her story with us. By her own example she proved that if there is no free workplace for you in the host country, it is necessary to create it by yourself. This meeting was very informative. It gave us a ground for new ideas.  

After that, our delegation was shared on four small groups: the first group stayed in Berlin, the second group went to Hannover, the third group went to Trier and the fourth group went to Munich.

The Hannover group got acquainted with German legal system and the structure of a court. They started to understand the procedure of the recognizing citizens as refugees and learnt about alternative options for the obtaining a residence permit. They found out the problems refugees run into after the arrival. They seminars were focused on cultural and professional integration of refugees, an application of the Dublin Agreement, the work of ANKER centers.

In addition, they took part in the moot court on the appellation of  negative decision on the granting the refugee status. Furthermore, they compared the work of law clinics in Russia and Germany. Moreover, they started to feel more comfortable while discussing legal issues in English.

The Berlin group had got acquainted with the work of the legal clinic. Wonderful guys Leonie and Andreas had showed them The Humboldt University of Berlin, had told how students study in Germany and had told about the device of legal clinics in Germany. It was an interesting conversation because they learned a lot of new and interesting and this experience will be useful to us and we can use it in Russian clinics. They were also struck by the story of the refugees, which the guys had told. After this conversation they seriously thought about how important it’s to help such a category of people as refugees.

They also enjoyed the excursion to The Berlin Wall Museum where they saw the panorama and life on both sides of the Berlin Wall. It was very unusual for them to feel part of a historic moment, standing next to the panorama.

The Trier group visited administrative court and told with a judge about practice problems in cases of refugees. They didn’t know before, that refugees must registry in the first country of the EU, which they visit and it’s reason why Germany departures refugees return to the other country after decision of judge. Also they had meeting with real refugees from Pakistan. They asked each other about refugees life and refugee status in Russia and Germany. As well they listened two lectures in University about German Constitutional Law and Ecological law of the European Union.

The Munich group met with the students of the University of Munich Ludwig-Maximilian, who work on the legal clinic like they, so they had something to discuss.

Colleagues told them about the basic principles of work in their clinic, and also offered us to present at their consultations. They understand that consultation in a clinic in Munich is very similar to the procedure with consultations in Russian law clinics. But also they managed to find some differences in the rules of work in legal clinics in Germany and Russia. In General, it was a very illustrative experience of consultations. Meeting with the staff of the Munich law clinic gave them a lot of new ideas, impressions and readiness for new achievements.

Thanks to the members of the Refugee Law Clinics Association and their partners, we now know how Germany supports people forced to flee their own country. Germans proved to us that assistance to the refugees then returns to the state in the form of a significant increase in GDP.

We want to thank everybody who dedicated their time to us for this great experience and a lot of positive emotions. After analyzing the information received, we are full of ideas on improving Russian law clinics. We will definitely share the knowledge gained in this probation with our Russian colleagues and will do our best to put them into practice to modernize Russian law clinics.