Parliamentary question on Erasmus for lawyers & Commission reply

September 28th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Question, Nikos Androulakis (S&D), 8 June 2017

The Athens Association of Trainees and Young Lawyers recently unveiled a proposal for cooperation between the Greek bar associations and those of the other Member States. Under the proposal, trainee lawyers could practise in law firms and offices of another Member State from that where they obtained their degree, which would have multiple benefits for beneficiaries.

It would enable them to enrich their knowledge and acquire experience from different legal systems and, at the same time, it would create the right conditions for the exchange of best practices in the areas of application of European Union law and approximation of national legislations.

— Can such a scheme be funded through Erasmus+ or other financial tools?

— Is the Commission aware of other similar schemes for lawyers that are applied in other Member States?

— How could the Commission contribute to setting up the initiative?

Answer given by Mr Navracsics on behalf of the Commission, 17 August 2017

In higher education, the Erasmus+ Programme offers students and staff transnational mobility to study, teach or carry out traineeships (work placements) abroad. The scheme is open to all higher education students. Traineeships abroad at a workplace are also open to graduates within 12 months after graduation. All this also applies to law students and graduates.

According to the EU definition of Small and Medium-size Enterprises, self-employed professionals, like lawyers are considered entrepreneurs, thus young lawyer exchange schemes might be also covered by Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs. This cross-border exchange programme offers exchange of knowledge and experience and networking opportunities across Europe. The exchange of experience takes place during a stay, partially funded by the EU.

Under the 2016 call for proposals for action grants to support European judicial training of the Justice Programme, the Commission awarded a grant to the European Lawyers Foundation (in cooperation with the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe and national bars).

The MULTILAW project aims at setting up a multilateral exchange of 75 young lawyers with up to 5 years professional experience from Greece, the Netherlands, Spain, Czech Republic, Poland, Lithuania, Romania and France over a period of two weeks, as an experiment for future exchanges. This project will help to increase the knowledge of EC law and share experience and best practices between lawyers practicing in different Member States.

The Commission is not aware of other similar schemes for lawyers applied in other Member States.

Given the scope of the opportunities offered by existing EU initiatives, the Commission does not intend to set up an additional scheme.

Briefing on ‘Economic effects of reform in professional services’

September 28th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

The briefing was prepared by Policy Department A for the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee. (External Author: Dr Erik Van Der Marel).

The briefing notes, amongst others, that high entry barriers for professions markets are linked to lower productivity in the EU and that regulatory barriers must consider how a country will carry out any guidelines.

Professional services such as legal, accounting, engineering and architectural still have high entry barriers. Many firms are prevented from emphasising competition in their sectors, whilst these barriers decrease consumer choice and any positive effects of a single European services market. For example, the high restrictions or entry barriers in the legal profession limits the supply of legal services detrimentally impacting on equal access to justice. Higher entry barriers are linked with lower productivity rates in European Union countries overall.

The proportionality test announced in the Services Package shall ensure that professional qualification is justified and proportionate.

Any services reform package in the future from the EU should consider the capability and how well equipped a Member State is in governing that service market.

The brief can be found here.

ERA-CCBE Young Lawyers Competition on EU Law in Practice, 7-8 December 2017, Trier

September 27th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

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The European Academy of Law (ERA) and the CCBE are organising a ‘Young Lawyers Contest: EU law in practice’ which will take place on 7-8 December 2017 in Trier, Germany.

The aim of the Contest is is to bring together future lawyers from different European countries at a time when they are undergoing entry level training to enable them to share common values and to exchange new experiences/discuss new perspectives in areas of common interest.

Bars/Law Societies/Lawyers’ Schools from the following countries will participate: Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Poland and Romania.

As part of the Contest, teams (mixed by nationality, experience etc.) will have to prepare a written report on a legal question/oral defence session and a negotiating exercise. The two best teams will take part in the final oral debate.

Information about the Contest can be found here.

The New Restrictiveness Indicator for Professional Services: An Assessment

September 21st, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

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The study, which was prepared at the request of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee of the European Parliament, analyses the Restrictiveness Indicator which was developed by the European Commission as part of the Services Package. It cautions that the use of the new indicator has to be combined with assessments of proportionality, and that more attention should be paid to barriers to free movement.

Executive summary – extracts:

(…) professional services are regulated with the aim to minimize market failures such as (insufficient) consumer protection (…)

(…) whereas with unjustified or disproportionate regulation, ‘less is good’, that is, less restrictiveness is helping the better functioning of markets, this is not the case with regulation dealing with ‘societal risks’ (i.e. market failures). Such risk regulation is in principle justified, although this ought to be carefully verified, and it should be proportionate and effective (target, in EU case law called ‘suitable’), but one cannot a priori go with the motto ‘less is good’. (…)

(…) studies need to be embedded in a policy evaluation where justification of rules, their proportionality and effectiveness (‘suitability’) are included as well. (…)

The study can be downloaded here. For the Services Package, see Blog of 10 January 2017.

CCBE supports Georgian Bar Association’s reforms re internship

September 18th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

In a letter to the Chair of the Parliament of Georgia, the CCBE expressed its support for the proposed Georgian Bar Association’s reform to provide for a comprehensive framework for the internship programme.

According to the proposals of the Georgian Bar Association, future lawyers would have to follow three months of training at the High School of Advocates which includes courses on legal skills, management skills, as well as other professional skills which are important to the practice of the profession. The trainee lawyers would then need to carry out nine months of practical training in a law firm, supervised by a lawyer. Trainee lawyers will need to observe the standards of professional conduct of the Georgian Bar during their internship.

The CCBE believes that the proposed reform will greatly contribute to further a high standard of legal training and professional competence. They take account of the CCBE Training Outcomes for European Lawyers of 2007.

The CCBE letter can be downloaded here.

Professional services: How does regulation matter?

September 13th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

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On 9 November 2017, the European Commission will organise a conference on ‘Professional services: How does regulation matter?’ (which will take place in Brussels).

Stakeholders (including national authorities, professional, and consumer organisations) will have the opportunity to discuss initiatives under the Services Package that are related to professional services, i.e. a legislative proposal for a proportionality test and a Communication on reform recommendations in regulated professions.

The conference programme can be downloaded. More details on the conference, including registration, can be obtained here.

For more information on the Services Package, please see the relevant posts on the Training Blog.

Now Available: Free online HELP course on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings

September 12th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

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Click here to access the course.