Workshops on the ‘Compatibility of Federal and State Laws’

Somali Legal Advisors trained by the Foundation conduct another round of workshops.

The Max Planck Foundation organised workshops for members of the Somali Federal Member State Legislative Assemblies of South-West State, Hirshabelle, Puntland, and Jubaland on the topic ‘Compatibility of Federal and State Laws’. The workshop series started on 27 June 2023 in Baidoa, and continued in Jowhar on 6 July 2023, and in Kismayo on 30 July 2023. The last workshop was held on 1 August 2023 in Garowe. Following a request from the Speaker of the Galmudug State Assembly, the local project team in Galmudug conducted a workshop on 14 June 2023 on the ‘Review of the Galmudug State Constitution’ instead.

The Somali Legal Advisors trained by the Foundation introduced the workshop topic with the question of how to ensure the compatibility between federal and state laws in a federal system. In addition to providing an introduction to the topic, the principle of federal supremacy as well as the principle of subsidiarity were explained. With a comparative lens on other federal countries, including the United States, India, Germany, and Ethiopia, the Somali Legal Advisors continued their presentation. For the ensuing working group exercise, the participants were asked to work on a hypothetical case involving two conflicting federal and state laws before the constitutional court of a fictious country.

Particularly in light of the participants’ concerns about the current lack of compatibility and coherence between federal and state legislation, the workshop topic was welcomed by the members of the State Assemblies. The participants were eager to learn about the various approaches and mechanisms to ensure compatibility of federal and state laws in other federal jurisdictions and to discuss their applicability in the Somali context. The workshops were part of the project ‘Capacity Building and Legal Advice for the Federal Member State Legislative Assemblies in Somalia, funded by the German Federal Foreign Office.