HELP recently published a video on admissibility criteria of the European Court of Human Rights and the HELP Programme. The 15-minute video gives a detailed overview of the admissibility criteria of the Strasbourg Court to give judges, lawyers and other legal professionals, as well as civil society actors and other interested parties practical information on the procedure used to bring a claim before the Court.
The video is available with subtitles in 14 different languages: English, French, Albanian, Armenian, Croatian, Czech, German, Italian, Lithuanian, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Turkish and Ukrainian. It is accompanied by background documents on the relevant case-law of the Court, which are available here.
The video provides a useful and informative introduction for the self and distance learning courses offered on the HELP e-learning platform. It can be used as a training tool on the national level, as well as being supplemented by the extensive Admissibility Guide produced by the Court.
Further information can also be downloaded from the HELP website.
Interview with Thierry Wickers, Head of the French delegation to the CCBE
You published a book last year on « La grande transformation des avocats ». Can you tell us about it – what are the drivers of this transformation of lawyers?
In « La grande transformation », I was first interested by the evolution of the relation of lawyers with the market, highlighting the significant influence of EU legislation. With its sectorial directives of 1977 and 1998, the EU seemed to take fully into account the specificity of lawyers, but then has tended more and more to consider them as any other profession of services. However, tackling the challenge of innovation should probably be the priority. All intellectual professions must adapt to the digital revolution and to the developments in artificial intelligence. But lawyers have to face one phenomenon in particular: that information technologies have facilitated the entry of new actors into the legal market. All law firms are solution shops. Those new actors develop new business models, different from the solution shop. They seem able to deliver simpler, more understandable and cheaper legal services.
What are the main challenges for lawyers’ training in this context?
Lawyers are perfectly structured to deliver personalized advice that address specific legal issues submitted to them; they deliver “bespoke” advice for relatively high costs. This requires high-level legal skills and very little else. It is now necessary to promote a positive environment for innovation for young lawyers and to stop encouraging only the reproduction of what already exists. Lawyers need to master a great deal of other knowledge. They also need to acquire a genuine entrepreneurial spirit. So far lawyers’ training was only learning “in business” skills. It is now necessary to promote “on business” skills. We need to implement a deep reform of initial training in order to avoid a situation where lawyers are very well trained to face issues that do no longer exist.
Has your Bar – i.e. le Conseil National des Barreaux de France – started considering the impact of these challenges on the training of lawyers?
In France, initial training of lawyers requires a law degree, and then, candidates need to pass an exam to access a Bar School. This part of the training is essentially financed by the lawyers themselves and is controlled by the National Bar Council (CNB), which runs the Bar Schools’ network. The CNB decided that schools should provide a minimum training on information technologies and on the evolution of the profession. This is a start. Furthermore, each school can freely dispose of 20% of the training time. Some of them already go beyond the minimum requirement. However, the profession cannot lose interest in what is happening at the University where future lawyers spend 5 years or more, only learning about the law!
How do you believe can Bars and Law Societies across Europe best meet these challenges and what is the CCBE’s role?
Bars can take initiatives in several areas. The Paris Bar has set up an ‘incubator’ in order to disseminate new ideas. Some initiatives, as the “Justice Entrepreneurial Project” of the Chicago Bar, deserve consideration and should be imitated. Bars have a crucial role to play in the area of professional regulation. They must interpret the regulation in order to make it evolve and to facilitate innovative practices; they also have to remove barriers to the development of law firms and enable them to face new competitors as mentioned above.
The European Commission now seems committed to act in the crucial area of platforms and the CCBE, which is its interlocutor, will have an essential role to play. Moreover, the CCBE, given its position, is the only one which has access to information about national trends and reactions of European bars. Its decision to put in place a working group dedicated to the future of legal services is very important, as well as the fact that it is interested in the initiatives taken by other national and international organizations of lawyers. In October 2016, in Paris, the CCBE will hold a symposium about all these issues. It will be an important moment to mobilize all European lawyers and show them that the representative bodies are ready to meet the challenges of the future.
Advice for training providers
In the pursuit of improving co-operation and trust in the European Area of Justice, the European Commission has published its ‘Advice for Training Providers’ (links to a PDF). The advice covers rather practical matters such as assessing training needs, who should train and the frequency and duration of such training. It then moves on to advise regarding topics, types of training activities, training methodologies and cross-professional training. It also offers guidance on evaluation, assessment, dissemination and elearning as well as a section on cross-border and legal language training.
Throughout there are links to best practice examples and at the end there are further links to useful documents. European judicial training – Advice for training providers
The European Commission have just published their 4th European Judicial Training Report 2015 on the Justice Website. Despite its title, it actually deals with the training of legal practitioners (includes judges, prosecutors, court staff, lawyers, bailiffs and notaries) in EU law and/or in the national law of another Member State and catalogues the progress towards their 2020 target to reach 700,000 of all EU legal practitioners in Europe (50% of the EU total) with pan-European legal training. According to the Report, in 2014, 132,000 legal practitioners across Europe received such training and 25,000 of them received EU co-funding. One long-term aim of the funding programme is to improve the trust that lawyers should have in each other in order to make the European area of justice and fundamental rights more of a reality. (More on funding opportunities at the foot of this blog)
Statistics on the training of lawyers
The report presents figures on the training of lawyers per Member State, but recognises the weaknesses in the data used (primarily collected by questionnaires) to inform the statistics. Some of the data was only available for 21 Member States and, even where available, often did not give a complete picture as, for example, it covered only some regions of the State, or did not include data from important “private” training providers.
Figures and Tables
» Read the rest of this entry «