At the beginning of the nineties the prospects of the Croatian state did not seem good. Jurists in Germany, professionally interested in Croatia and seeking information about its legal system, fared no better. Starting from the premise that there had to be more jurists in Germany of Croatian origin or jurists who had a special interest in Croatia and its legal system and who would benefit from the exchange of experiences, a first nationwide search began for “like-minded people”.

Publications in legal journals helped finding other colleagues in Germany dealing with Croatian law and, amongst others, the lawyer Dr. iur. Stefan Pürner. It soon became apparent that the time had not yet come to start an interest-based community. This impression was confirmed after visits to the jurists and the Croatian Bar Association in Croatia.

Implementation of the idea of forming a forum for lawyers interested in Croatia has been put off until some future time, but with a strong commitment not to lose sight of it.

In the course of 1995, the contacts with Dr. iur. Pürner, and Mr Pintarić revealed that in the meantime further connections had been established, not only legal but also personal. True to the motto “I know someone who knows someone who is a lawyer and has something to do with Croatia”, it soon became apparent that more than a handful of people had an interest in forming a bilateral lawyer group.

The constitution of the German-Croatian Jurist Association (DKJV) on 27 January 1996 in Frankfurt / Main was covered by publications in relevant legal journals. Thanks to this, the colleagues who had not yet heard by “word of mouth” about the idea of constitution of the association could establish contacts with the initiators and participate in DKJV’s foundation.

Further course of events was described by Dr. iur. Pürner in the introduction to 2001 „Zbornik Radova“ of the Faculty of Law of Split, on page 5 ff. From today’s view it may be said that the foundation of a forum which provided further specialist knowledge to the jurists interested in Croatia and contacts with their Croatian colleagues was indeed a success.

Admittedly, the interest of some colleagues was short-lived. On the other hand, connections have been established through the DKJV between colleagues, most of which have continued for many years.

The membership reflects the balanced age structure of the association, with a growing interest of younger lawyers of Croatian origin in particular, many of whom born in Germany, in the exchange of experiences and the use of the existing structure of the DKJV. The symposia, which have taken place almost every year since 1997 in Split, Berlin and most recently in Zagreb, have also led to a transnational exchange of legal and other thoughts. Furthermore, the association, through its members, was able to establish a network with other organizations and their representatives.

At the beginning was the idea of creating a forum for like-minded people. After more than two decades of continuous activity, it has fortunately been shown that we succeeded in the following of ideas and words with deeds.

Ranko Pezo, Attorney at Law
Law Office Pezo & Vennemann, Köln
One of the initiators and since 1996 a Board member of the German-Croatian Lawyers Association.