The Education, Licensing, and Training of Lawyers in the European Union, Part II: The Emerging Common Qualifications Regime and its Implications for Admissions in Europe
Birmingham Law School, University of Birmingham, UK
Bar Examiner, Vol. 79, No. 4, pp. 25-35, November 2010
The Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE), founded in 1960, is a representative body covering more than 1,000,000 European lawyers through its member Bars and Law Societies from 31 full member countries and 10 further associate or observer countries. It acts as a liaison between the EU and Europe’s national Bars and Law Societies, whose national delegations represent its members, and is concerned with all European cross-border matters as they affect lawyers. It has no overt regulatory powers of its own (except over its own internal affairs) but seeks out common positions in its representative and consensus-building roles. In the sphere of legal education and training, achieving common positions has proved, in the past, to be very difficult. The CCBE has agreed that all lawyers should be professionally competent. But what does this mean?
As discussed in Part I of the article, there are many separate legal professions in Europe. The national educational requirements for becoming a lawyer vary considerably from country to country and, indeed, within some countries. The CCBE has nevertheless now adopted several measures on the education and training of lawyers in Europe, which are explore shortly. As noted in Part I of the article, the EU has very limited authority over the laws and regulations of the member states relating to the content and organization of education and training. The EU must fully respect the responsibility of the member states for the content of teaching and the organization of education systems and vocational training. However, the EU has managed to adopt several legislative measures that help translate the results of one system of training into those of another system. Recognizing that a common set of educational standards would promote confidence in cross-border recognition of professional licenses, the EU has also been moving toward the establishment of a European Higher Education Area (EHEA, the aim of the Bologna Process described below), including a European Qualifications Framework designed to create transparency and focus on common educational standards. These initiatives are examined in this article.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 11
Keywords: Lawyer, Legal Profession, Legal Education, EU, European, Professional Qualification, Mutual Recognition
JEL Classification: F22, F01, I21, I21, I28, K19, K23, K33, L41, L43, L49, L89
Date posted: November 26, 2010