Implementation of the Professional Qualifications Directive

January 18th, 2016 § 0 comments

Marché interieur

Internal Market

Today, on 18 January 2016, the deadline for Member States to implement the Professional Qualifications Directive 2013/55/EU – which was adopted on 20 November 2013 – expires. Member States will have had to bring into line their laws, regulations and administrative provisions in order to comply with this Directive, which revises Directive 2005/36.

Article 55a of the Professional Qualifications Directive has been of particular concern and interest to the CCBE as it regulates the recognition of professional traineeships carried out in another Member State or in a third country. It provides that professional traineeships required for access to a regulated profession carried out in one Member State must be recognised by a relevant Competent Authority in another Member State. Member States may however “set a reasonable limit on the duration of the part of the professional traineeship which can be carried out abroad”. Furthermore, Article 55a asks competent authorities to “publish guidelines on the organisation and recognition of professional traineeships carried out in another Member State or in a third country, in particular on the role of the supervisor of the professional traineeship”.

The CCBE has started gathering some first information on the implementation of this Article; accordingly:

  • the duration of the traineeship, which may be carried out abroad, varies from 3 months (in the case of Germany) to 19 months (in the case of Austria); on average, the duration of foreign traineeships is between 6 and 12 months; in Finland, Latvia, Romania and England & Wales (solicitors), there is no explicit time restriction;
  • some countries already have guidelines on the organisation and recognition of professional traineeships in place (as they recognized foreign traineeships already before the Directive was adopted), others will be working on the guidelines. For example, the Bar Standards Board in England and Wales barristers published Guidelines in September 2013, which, contain detailed information on the role of the supervisor of the professional traineeship:

– To provide/organise induction for trainees;

– To establish and maintain regular contact with the trainee, ensuring his/her accessibility when advice is needed;

– To provide learning opportunities for the trainee;

– To provide timely, effective and constructive guidance, advice and feedback on the trainee’s work;

– To instil professional ethics and conduct, ensuring that the trainee is aware of the need to exercise probity and conduct him/herself according to ethical principles (and of the implications of misconduct);

– To ensure that compulsory courses are undertaken and passed;

– To act as mentor/advisor/counsellor to trainees (as well as supervisor);

– To perform appraisal of trainees (in addition to feedback) as appropriate in order to monitor the trainee’s overall progress;

– etc.

The CCBE will continue gathering information about the implementation of Article 55a and provide an update in the coming months.

More information on the Professional Qualifications Directive 2013/55/EU is available on DG Growth’s website.

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