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Multilateral Exchange of Lawyers: Our best-rated project!

The European Lawyers Foundation has led the effort for the establishment of a comprehensive and provenly effective multilateral exchange scheme for lawyers in Europe. The Multilateral Exchange of Lawyers project, co-funded by the Justice Programme of the European Union, commenced with high hopes and ended with the necessary results to prove its feasibility and success. In the two years of the project (July 2017 – July 2019), 75 lawyers from 7 EU Member States have benefited from the possibility of working abroad in host institutions of the legal sector and have rated their experience with an average of 4.75 out of 5.

This is how the exchange mechanism roughly works: lawyers who have passed a national selection process are offered a placement in host institutions abroad (in bars or law firms) according to their preferences, profile, spoken languages and areas of expertise. During their placement, which lasts 10 working days, participants are supervised by a lawyer in the host institution, who is responsible for giving them assignments, providing information and insights on national legislation and accompanying them in day-to-day professional work. Further to this, participants may be able to attend court hearings, to participate in conferences and seminars, to visit national institutions based in the host country, or to attend networking events.

Alongside the excellent ratings, participating lawyers and host institutions stress the added value of the project in the following regards: a) greater mobility of lawyers in Europe b) increased knowledge of foreign legal systems c) consolidation of cross-border networks of lawyers and law firms and d) contribution to the development of a European judicial culture. But the effort cannot stop here. Based on the successful mechanism in place, the European Lawyers Foundation has been awarded by the European Commission a continuation project called LAWYEREX, so that more European lawyers can benefit from the knowledge and experience gained from the exchanges abroad.

Testimonials from participants in the project can be found below.

The European Lawyers Foundation: an organisation for the benefit of bars and lawyers of the EU

The European Lawyers Foundation (ELF) is headquartered in The Hague, The Netherlands. It was established by the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) in 2014.

ELF’s objective is to undertake projects that relate to the exercise of the profession of lawyers, the development of the law and practice pertaining to the rule of law and administration of justice and substantive developments in the law itself, both at a European and international level. ELF works mainly in two areas:

A) European projects: these are projects implemented within the EU, and mostly funded by the European Union. They cover a broad spectrum of issues: from training lawyers in different areas of law to drafting studies on important EU instruments.

B) External projects: these are focused on issues related to the profession (for example, our projects funded by the International Bar Association in Ukraine and Kazakhstan on improving the quality of legal services in these countries) and to issues on the rule of Law (such as our project on re-establishing the rule of law in Venezuela).

European lawyers and the European Arrest Warrant

The European Lawyers Foundation (ELF) and the CCBE were awarded last year a project to carry out a study on “EAW-Rights: analysis of the implementation and operation of the European Arrest Warrant from the point of view of defence practitioners”. The project, which ended on 2nd November 2016, aimed to contribute to the correct and consistent implementation of the European Arrest Warrant; in particular, the project focused on the following objectives:

  • Identification of the implementation at national level of the Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA on the European Arrest Warrant in all EU Member States.
  • Identification of good practices carried out in the 28 Member States in order to ensure defence rights
  • Presentation of recommendations focused on the improvement of defence rights in EAW cases

The project’s main result was the development of a study that addresses these objectives. It can be downloaded for free at the following link. Further to this, ELF continues working on the EAW due to the importance of this legal instrument for those detained under it and their lawyers. ELF is now working on a proposal called EAW-Net. The object of this new project is to allow experienced practitioners from different Member States to network around a theme of mutual learning and exchange of best practices. The need for a network between EAW defence practitioners, especially in the context of dual representation in both issuing and executing states, was highlighted by the national experts who contributed to the EAW-Rights study.