European Commission sets goal of training 700,000 legal professionals in EU law by 2020
Brussels, September 2011 - The European Commission has set a clear target for increasing the numbers of judges, prosecutors, lawyers and other legal practitioners trained in European law. In a policy paper agreed today, the European Commission aims to ensure that half of all legal practitioners in the European Union around 700,000 participate in some form of European judicial training by 2020. The aim is to equip legal practitioners to apply European law which is part of their role as judges and lawyers at national level. It will also help to build mutual trust between Europe's different legal systems and improve the implementation of European legislation. This will benefit people and businesses in Europe, who will be able to rely on swift decisions and proper respect for the rules.
"An independent, well-trained and efficient judiciary is essential for a functioning judicial area and single market in Europe. It caters for good and prompt judicial decisions strengthening predictability and legal certainty. As European law is part of everyday life, citizens and businesses want to know that they can count on a knowledgeable and well-trained judiciary across the Union enabling them to exercise their rights and get justice. But judges and lawyers delivering such justice need to know the rules to be able to apply them effectively, said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner. "Thats why I want to set a clear and ambitious target for expanding training in how the judiciaries in Europe apply European law. This will help cement our efforts to create an EU-wide area of justice, improving the way the internal market operates. Judicial training is central to a modern and well-functioning judiciary capable of reducing the higher risks and higher transactions costs that impede economic growth. European judicial training is therefore a much needed investment to develop justice for growth."
There are around 1.4 million legal practitioners in the EU, including judges, prosecutors, lawyers, notaries, bailiffs and court staff. The Commission wants to enable at least half of these legal practitioners to participate in European judicial training at local, national or European level by 2020. It has set an additional target of ensuring that all legal practitioners benefit from at least one week's training in EU law during their career.
To achieve this, it has called on national governments, councils for the judiciary, professional bodies and judicial training institutions both at EU and national level to commit to integrating EU law into their training programmes and to increasing the volume of courses and participants.
The Commission itself intends to facilitate access to EU funding to support high-quality training projects, including e-learning. Under the EU's new multi-annual financial framework, the Commission has proposed to make European judicial training a major priority, with the aim of training more than 20,000 legal practitioners a year by 2020.
To help build a common European judicial culture based on mutual trust, the Commission will launch a two-week exchange programme for new judges and prosecutors from 2014 onwards. The Commission will support training through the European e-Justice Portal the EU's one-stop shop for laws and access to justice in all EU countries and by sharing practical guidelines on training methodologies and evaluation.
For more information:
European judicial training:
European e-Justice Portal judicial training section