Background

The legal and judicial systems of the EU Member States can be quite complex. The same applies for European regulations while the EU law knowledge amongst the different legal practitioners remains approximate while the number of cross-border cases involving EU law is constantly increasing over the years. It has therefore become crucial for legal practitioners to fully master the various EU instruments. Therefore, the training of legal professionals is one of the priorities of the Stockholm Programme and the EU Commission’s 2011 Communication “Fostering confidence in European justice – a new dimension in training”. In fact, the European Commission aims to increase the number of training activities on EU law as well as the number of participants in these activities.

Needs assessment

According to the last report on the European judicial training 2019, bailiffs and lawyers are far behind judges, prosecutors and notaries in terms of training on EU law. Hence, the report states that more training may be required to meet the needs of some professions in some Member States. This assessment confirms the relevance of the FILIT project which responds to a double necessity: (i) the increase of training for bailiffs and lawyers on EU law, and (ii) the necessity to propose a variety of cross-border activities to ensure the correct and coherent application of EU law across the EU, to improve mutual trust and to foster a common judicial European culture. In practice, bailiffs/judicial officers and lawyers very often work together in cross-border cases. For instance, in France, since 8 May 2017, the possibility of setting up multi-professional practice companies (SPEs) allows the professions of law to become more closely associated. In a wider context, bailiffs/judicial officers and lawyers cooperate hands in hands in cross-border files allowing the service of documents to initiate judicial procedures, the enforcement of court decisions, etc. This demonstrates that lawyers and bailiffs/judicial officers’ activities are undoubtedly complementary in cross-border cooperation. In view of ensuring coherence on the application of EU law, the training of bailiffs/judicial officers and lawyers must be provided in a large scale. Hence, the present proposal aims to respond to the recommendations made during the European Commission conference held in October 2015 on the training of judicial staff and judicial officers, which highlighted the training needs on EU law of judicial officers.

Relevance

The proposed project seeks to tackle the above context by providing targeted trainings for bailiffs and lawyers in several Member States. Thus, the foreseen trainings are organised around various priorities of the Call related to the judicial cooperation. Hence, this project is a great opportunity to European judicial officers / enforcement authorities and lawyers to partake in high-level face-to-face and e-learning training activities on EU law.

1) Target public

Two legal professions are targeted by the FILIT project: lawyers and bailiff/judicial officers. According to the CCBE, it is essential that all lawyers who are members of a European Union Bar have access to EU law trainings to perform their tasks. In the framework of this project, the center for professional training for lawyers in Paris and in Rome are members of the Consortium and will ensure the participation of their members in many activities. Bailiffs and judicial officers are represented in the consortium by the UEHJ and the OSAE. These professionals undertake compulsory enforcement of titles and judgements which requires the application of EU law instruments.

2) Synergies

The present project builds on the two previous projects EJT I and II, where EUBF was the only structure representing judicial officers. Since EIPA trainings of the previous projects were a frank success, it was desirable to reproduce this format which is favourable to the cooperation between the practitioners of the various countries of the EU.

In addition to the face-to-face trainings, the FILIT project will offer the possibility to the Beneficiaries to be trained, online. Indeed, 10 “inter-professional” modules will be drafted by professors of law and/or bailiffs and will be available free of charge on the online training platform Academys. The new Academys platform is the successor of EJL (European Judicial e-Learning), co-funded by the EU and managed by EUBF. The existing modules on EJL have migrated to the new Academys e-learning platform.

The same logic can be used towards lawyers. Such mutualisation will allow significant savings in terms of costs and time. The drafting of the new modules by the Beneficiaries will allow the platform to be adapted to the practice of lawyers. In addition, EUBF has received, during the EJT II project, nearly 400 new applications for registration to its e-learning platform. This demonstrates the Beneficiaries’ appetite for e-learning and its ease of use. Similarly, the Academys.eu platform, will follow down this path to offer new digital content to the greatest number of people thanks to a new selection of modules.

Also, EUBF is committed to give access to the new e-learning training contents to former consortium members of the European Judicial Training for Court Staff II project (2017-2019) in order to maintain the relationships established during this previous project, relations which were highlighted during the closing conference as very important for the creation of a European network of legal practitioners and the improvement of cross-border cooperation. The development of e-learning is among the priorities of the European Commission.