Legal Practitioner Training in 2018
18 February 2020
2018-Max_Planck_Herr_Wahl_1355_black white_Zuschnitt.jpg Thomas Wahl

After the European Commission announced in December 2018 that the EU achieved its goals of training legal practitioners on EU law in 2017 already – two years ahead of schedule (see eucrim 1/2019, p. 10) – the Commission confirmed that even more records were broken in 2018. In 2018, more than 190,000 legal practitioners (judges, prosecutors, court staff, bailiffs, lawyers, and notaries) took part in trainings on EU law or the law of another Member State. Altogether, there was a 148% increase in training between 2011 and 2018. In total, more than one million legal practitioners have attended trainings on EU law since 2011. As in previous years, an upward trend in the number of participants and training activities since 2011 is noticeable. This trend especially applies to judges, court staff, and bailiffs in 2018.

These are the main results of the eighth Commission report on European judicial training in 2018, which was published at the end of December 2019. For the first time, the report includes the progression of the number of participants for the professions monitored over the last eight years; this is based on the European Commission Staff Working Document on the evaluation of the 2011-2020 European judicial training strategy. Other conclusions of the report are as follows:

  • Although the absolute number of participants increased, there is a considerable difference if the percentage of participants is interpreted in relation to the total number of their profession;
  • While over 63% of judges of the responding Member States received continuous training on EU law, for example, only 4,83% of lawyers in private practice did.
  • Again, judges, prosecutors, and notaries received far more training on EU law or on the law of another Member State than members of other legal professions did.
  • In Germany, for instance, nearly 80% of prosecutors were trained on EU law, but less than 10% of lawyers.

The Commission concedes, however, that the picture of the real training situation is incomplete due to data gaps. There is, for instance, a lack of data from private training providers for lawyers, which means this only allows for a limited assessment. Also, date collection varies from Member State to Member State and some Member States do not even respond to the questionnaire. The Commission concludes that the results nonetheless indicate differences in trainings between professions and Member States. There are still challenges ahead, most notably for lawyers, court, and prosecution office’s staff and bailiffs’ training. The lessons from the report and the above-mentioned strategy evaluation will feed into the Commission’s reflection on the post-2020 strategy for European judicial training, which is currently being elaborated.

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