1. Main objectives of the project
The main objective of the project was to train 130 lawyers from 5 different Member States (Spain, Greece, Italy, Ireland and Poland) on EU law relating to asylum and immigration. In addition, the project aimed at facilitating networking opportunities for those lawyers participating in the training, who came from 5 different EU Member States and had a specific interest in immigration and asylum cases. Another important objective of the project was to contribute towards the achievement of the EU’s objective of enabling half of the legal practitioners in the EU to participate in European judicial training activities by 2020. Finally, the project comes as a follow-up action to some important recommendations included in the EU-funded “Study on the state of play of lawyers training in EU law”, such as the improvement of quality and relevance of training activities on EU law, online access to EU law training material and information, and the inclusion of EU law content in training activities.
2. Short description of the implemented activities
The project partners managed to achieve, and indeed surpass, the main objective of the project, by training 150 (instead of 130) lawyers from Greece, Spain, Italy, Ireland and Poland on EU law relating to asylum and immigration. Training took place through the organisation of 4 seminars in four different venues, namely Madrid (October 2016), Athens (December 2016), Dublin (February 2017 and Rome (April 2017). The seminars were intended for qualified lawyers from the abovementioned countries who are confronted with legal questions related to asylum and immigration. The duration of each seminar was one and a half days and all seminars were held in English. National coordinators in partner countries were responsible for the selection of national lawyers and the appointment of national speakers for each seminar. The project coordinator, the European Lawyers Foundation, was responsible for the management of the project, for all organisational and administrative aspects of the seminars and ensured the high quality of training and the satisfaction of speakers and lawyers who participated in the seminars. Further, the European Lawyers Foundation undertook dissemination activities, the analysis of evaluation forms from participants and the collection of training material which are now freely available on its website.
3. Key results achieved
The four training seminars were smoothly organised and received a high satisfaction rate from participants (total average rate: 4.22/5). The number of lawyers trained in the 4 seminars surpassed the initial target by 20 (150 in total), whereas the total budget for the project was considerably reduced. According to the analysis of the evaluation forms, the vast majority of participants had a fruitful experience and seemed to enjoy the European context of the seminars, as well as the opportunity to exchange experiences with their counterparts from other countries. Further, the project partners made sure that there were enough networking opportunities in each seminar by organising unofficial networking dinners the day before the seminar for the foreign participants, as well as 3 coffee breaks and 1 lunch break during the seminars. After the end of each seminar, the project coordinator circulated contact lists (names and contact details) of the speakers and participants to consolidate the informal network by facilitating communication between them. Training material for the seminars included presentations from the speakers, influential case-law and the distribution of hard copies of the Handbook on European law relating to asylum, borders and immigration produced by the Fundamental Rights Agency (over 200 hard copies of the FRA Handbook were distributed to speakers and participants in the 4 seminars). All training material from the 4 seminars was also uploaded on the project coordinator’s website, to become publicly available for lawyers interested in such training content. Finally, cooperation and relations between partners were excellent, which was a key factor in the success of the project.
4. Impact on the target groups or other groups affected by the project
The project was a win-win situation for all the parties directly or indirectly involved. First, 150 lawyers from 5 different countries received high quality training from speakers with great experience in immigration and asylum cases. Those lawyers also had the chance to find out more about the legal framework and procedures followed in other countries and exchange experiences and business cards with their counterparts and the highly-qualified speakers who took part in the seminars. The 150 trained lawyers are now more familiar with European law regulating immigration and asylum, which puts them in a position to offer better advice to people when dealing with immigration and asylum cases. Through a multiplier effect, well-trained lawyers can potentially become trainers at national level and disseminate the knowledge they obtained through the TRALIM seminar to their colleagues. Further, partners, which are professional associations of lawyers, had a unique chance through this project to organise co-funded training activities for their members by having control over the selection processes for national speakers and participants in each seminar. Finally, the implementation of this project also helps the European Union to obtain its proposed objective of enabling half of the legal practitioners in the EU to participate in European judicial training activities by 2020 and puts into practice recommendations on training included in the EU-funded “Study on the state of play of lawyers training in EU law”.