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In 2015, Erasmus+ enabled 678,000 Europeans to study, train, work and volunteer abroad, more than ever before. In the same year, the EU invested €2.1 billion in over 19,600 projects involving 69,000 organisations. These are the main findings of the Erasmus+ Annual Report for 2015 published by the European Commission yesterday…..(see Commission press release, 26 January 2017).
The CCBE has addressed a letter of concern to the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova concerning a draft law which would allow, amongst others, “persons that hold or have held positions of members of the Parliament and who have acquired at least 10 years of experience in field of law” to become lawyers without having to sit the bar exam and without having to follow the otherwise mandatory traineeship for lawyers. The CCBE points out that: a) no other European country has such a provision, b) “a high standard of professional competence of lawyers is essential in the protection of the rule of law and the democratisation of a country” and c) “the practice of law requires very specific competences and skills” (see CCBE Training Outcomes for European Lawyers of 2007). Find the letter here and the CCBE Training Outcomes here EN version – FR version).
Training material on the following topics is ready for use by legal practitioners and/or training providers:
See also the European e-Justice portal.
The European Commission published today the 2017 EU Citizenship Report ‘Strengthening Citizens’ Rights in a Union of Democratic Change’.
The section on “Increasing opportunities for students, trainees, teachers and other workers” states, inter alia:
“The work done in 2016 to roll out the New Skills Agenda for Europe with the Members States will promote skills development and matching, and support better recognition of qualifications: this will contribute to removing obstacles for workers, students and trainees in the EU. Public consultations have suggested that Europeans consider that a platform hosting cross-border placements or offers for apprenticeships and trainees would further help young people looking for opportunities beyond (or prior to) employment. The mobility of teachers across borders can benefit learners and teachers alike, who could share good practices with their peers. Another way to benefit learners is to give them the opportunity to attend seminars with staff invited from companies from other countries. (…)
Professional qualifications is another area where modernised rules will increase opportunities for EU citizens. At least 21% of the labour force in the EU (50 million people) works in a regulated profession. Over 20,000 persons with a professional qualification from an EU Member State had their professional qualifications recognised in another EU country in 2014. In addition, professionals from five professions86 have since January 2016 been able to pursue their professions more freely in other EU countries thanks to the first EU-wide electronic procedure for the recognition of professional qualifications (European Professional Card). The card simplifies professional qualification recognition procedures in other EU countries.”
See speech of President Juncker at the Annual Reception of the Academy of European Law (ERA) on 19 January 2017.
Malta has officially taken over the EU’s rotating presidency on 1 January 2017.
Education is amongst the priorities of the Maltese Presidency:
“The Maltese Presidency will focus on the relevance of achieving a High Quality Education for all through ‘Inclusion in Diversity’ with a view to draw up Council conclusions on this theme. The quality and relevance of education should be linked to the requirements of the labour market and directed towards the provision of relevant skills, aptitudes and life-long values required to become active citizens. In this context, education systems should be more inclusive and capable of moving away from a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to one that is just, flexible, diversified and comprehensive. In this regard, focus will be placed on inclusiveness as a primary element for effective education mechanisms to ensure long-term effectiveness and quality retention, whilst concurrently taking into account the relevance, function and incorporation of digital skills.
The Maltese Presidency will also strive to make progress on the New Skills Agenda for Europe, the Proposal for a Council Recommendation on the European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning, and the Proposal for a Decision on Europass.”
Last December, HELP published the 2nd edition of the e-Newsletter of the EU-CoE Programme “HELP in the 28”. The newsletter can be obtained here.
This year’s annual conference of HELP will take place on 29-20 June 2017. ‘HELP in the 28’ will also organise a European Seminar on Legal Training and Evaluation Methodology which will be held on 20-21 March 2017. More information on these events will follow as soon as available.
Today, the European Commission has published a Services Package which is aimed at making “it easier for companies and professionals to provide services to a potential customer base of 500 million people in the EU”.
Amongst others, the package contains a Communication which provides “Guidance for national reforms in regulation of professions”.
The section on lawyers contains, inter alia, information on the training of lawyers and some recommendations:
“In view of their particular role, the rules on the access to and the pursuit of the legal profession are among the most stringent in the business services sector. In terms of qualification, higher education is required in the large majority of Member States (a law degree being compulsory), followed by a mandatory traineeship and/or additional professional experience and bar examination. The total duration of the training varies between 3 years (Ireland) and 9 years (Slovenia). It appears, however, that in some Member States (Greece, Italy), training and experience obtained abroad are not duly taken into account when allowing access to legal traineeships for lawyers. Recently, Spain introduced new rules on the qualification of lawyers, but clarity is lacking regarding the registration of graduates who started their studies before the reform entered into force.
Mandatory continuous professional development is provided for in most Member States, except for the Czech Republic, Greece, Malta, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain where it is voluntary. Despite the extensive case-law on recognition of qualifications, mutual recognition of lawyers’ cross-border continuing professional development appears to be problematic, especially for lawyers wishing to benefit from the rights granted to them under the two Lawyers’ Directives.”
In the Recommendations part, the Commission specifically refers to Greece and Italy:
“Greece and Italy should ensure that training and experience obtained abroad are duly taken into account so that lawyers can access legal traineeships in line with Case C-313/01.”
The European Commission is also proposing to streamline and clarify how Member States should undertake a comprehensive and transparent proportionality test before adopting or amending national rules on professional services. According to the proposals, the competent authorities shall consider in particular: (…) the link between the complexity of the tasks and the necessary possession of specific professional qualifications, in particular as regards the level, the nature and the duration of the training or experience required, as well as the existence of different routes to obtain the professional qualification; (…).
For more information, see:
Commission Press Release of 10/01/2017
Commission Communication on reform recommendations for regulation in professional services
Staff Working Document accompanying the Communication
Professional Speed-Dating as part of training
Professional speed dating, or sometimes called speed networking, is derived from traditional speed-dating which is defined as an organised event for the purpose of meeting people you would like to date. However, professional speed-dating just uses the same format in order to facilitate business contacts. Usually, the participants have one-to-one conversation in a very limited time (usually less than 5 minutes). Once the time limit expires, a bell ring signals that it is time to move to a next chair or table in order to interact with another colleague. Professional speed-dating focuses on business interaction, i.e, the participants will inform each other about their professional background, field of specialisation, business goals, they will exchange their business cards and could also try to identify common professional interests and/or opportunities for potential business cooperation.
The Czech Bar Association, through its International Department, organises many international training events for its lawyers and trainee lawyers. The International Department has decided for the first time ever, to integrate professional speed-dating as part of a conference, namely the Czech-Slovak-German Lawyers Forum, a two-day event for lawyers from the Czech Republic, Slovakia and German Sachsen and Bamberg which took place in November 2016 in Pilsen on the topic „International cooperation between lawyers“.
The first ever professional speed-dating went extremely well and we have received great positive feedback from all the 80 participants. Speed dating plays a major role as an ice-breaker and has a lasting effect even after the end of the speed-dating. Participants are curious to learn more about each other, they approach others more easily and the whole atmosphere of the training shifts towards a friendly and more informal one. This is also why many Bars and international organisations (a pioneer in this regard is AIJA, International Association of Young Lawyers) start to integrate speed dating as part of their training, conferences or trade fairs.
The International Department of the Czech Bar Association will certainly continue in the pursuit of new, informal and innovative approaches within its training activities, speed-dating included.
Dr. Eva Indruchová, LL.M., Head of International Department of the Czech Bar Association and Representative of the Czech Bar Association in Brussels, Member of the Czech Delegation to the CCBE, Member of the CCBE Training Committee.