Training of legal practitioners in EU legislation and in the national law of another Member State

November 2nd, 2015 § 0 comments

Introduction

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

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 12.05.11

The European Commission observed that:

  • For lawyers, some data is available for many Member States, but does often not cover all (particularly private) training providers.
  • The ratio of practitioners participating in continuous training activities on EU law and on judicial systems of another Member State to all existing practitioners per profession is approximately: 6 % (45 148) of all lawyers in private practice in the respondent Member States.

 Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 12.09.53Again, in the table with percentages, a red line indicates the minimum percentage of trained participants needed to reach the 2020 target of training half of the practitioners in EU law or in the law of other EU Member  States i.e. 5% per year between 2011 and 2020. According to the available data, this target is currently reached for eleven Member States. As for judges  and prosecutors, Member States with a small absolute number of lawyers can reach high percentages of trained practitioners with the organisation of only a few training activities. Therefore, we also show the absolute number of lawyers trained in EU law. A bigger group size or a smaller e-learning offer can be other reasons leading to bigger numbers of participants.

The European Commission also noted, in relation to the duration of the European law training, that:

Even during their whole initial training, almost half of the participants do not receive more than two days of training in EU law. However, in initial training, the participants’ limited time resources should not prevent them from following more training in EU law. Prior training in EU law at the university can decrease the need for comprehensive EU law training as a trainee. Nevertheless the EU law needs to be kept up to date and its practical application should be learned during the initial training. Compared to the overall length of the initial training, two days or less for EU law does not seem to reflect the importance of EU law in the professional practice of future legal practitioners.

The report also has sections on the range of training topics covered, the size of training cohorts, and information on training of other legal practitioners.

Financial support

Regarding financial support for European judicial training, the Commission makes it a priority of its Justice financial programme to facilitate training for more than 20 000 legal practitioners per year by 2020. These funds are accessible to support high-quality training projects with European impact.

The development of training activities is supported notably through grants. The criteria for awarding such grants rely on the development of practice oriented projects, which use active training methodologies, produce sustainable results and reach a large target audience.

More information about EU financial support may be found here:

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