Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Who you gonna call?

While we are all awaiting a following episode on the harmonization of European Contract Law, the European Commission beings to anticipate what will happen when that series will be over. Imagine that we have harmonized European Contract Law in the form of the Optional Instrument that citizens of the Member States and businesses registered in the Member States may choose to apply to their contract instead of a national law system. This means that their contractual relations will be regulated by the provisions of the Optional Instrument, in as far as the Optional Instrument will have substantive rules on that matter. Would you choose, however, to have the Optional Instrument governing your contractual relations if you knew that in case there is a conflict between you and the other party and you end up needing legal counsel and maybe even judicial decision - it would be difficult to find lawyers and judges specializing in European Contract Law to an extent that would enable them giving you a helping hand???

That's one of the questions that I've been wondering about for a long time now, and it surprised me that this subject wasn't further elaborated on by the European Commission. Apparently, they waited until the end of the process of substantive harmonisation was in sight, before they set up plans regarding its enforcement. Maybe I'm too much used to multi-tasking myself... Commissioner Reding mentioned yesterday:

"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. That’s 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." 

The plan is to give some training on European law to half of the legal practitioners in the EU (which means to 700,000 people) by the end of 2020. 

More on that may be found in the press release: European Commission sets goal of training 700,000 legal professional in EU. There is also a website for the European judicial training initiatives and European e-Justice Portal.

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