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Legal Education in Changing Europe

The 2017 ELFA Conference took place at the Špilberk Castle, Brno, the second  largest city in the Czech Republic by population and area, and the historical capital city of the Margraviate of Moravia.

The first day of the Conference included the plenary sessions chaired by Assoc. Prof. Věra Kalvodová, from Masaryk University and by Prof. Michele Graziadei, from University of Turin.

The 2016 ELFA Award was also announced at the Conference.

The Conference also included a number of Parallel Sessions regarding the following topics: Assessment of Law Faculties, Central European Experience in Legal Education, Cooperation in Legal Research and Training Lawyers for International Mobility.

On Friday, the session included a panel session entitled Guardians of the Bar as well as some panel reports before the 2017 ELFA Annual General Meeting took place.



Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting took place on 21 April 2017.

The agenda included a number of issues including the presentation of both the President and the Treasurer‘s Reports and the approval of the 2017 Budget.

The AGM elected the new President as well as a new First-Vicepresident and a new Board Member.

Further plans for the future were discussed.



„Legal Education in Changing Europe”

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

18.00 – 19.30              Opening Reception

Location: Špilberk Castle, Brno

Thursday, April 20, 2017

9.00 – 9.30                 Registration

9.30 – 9.45                Welcome Addresses

JUDr. Robert Pelikán (Minister of Justice, Czech Republic)

Assoc. Prof. Mikuláš Bek (Rector, Masaryk University)

Assoc. Prof. Markéta Selucká (Dean, Masaryk University)

9.45 – 11.15                Plenary Session

Chair: Assoc. Prof. Věra Kalvodová, Masaryk University

Prof. Jaroslav Fenyk (Vice-President of the Czech Constitutional Court, Professor at Masaryk University): Theoretical and Practical Aspects within Legal Education

Prof. Diana Wallis (President of the European Law Institute): The European Law Institute; Developing European Law in Challenging Times

Assoc. Prof. David Kosař (Head of the Judicial Studies Institute, Masaryk University): Recent Challenges to Judicial Independence

11.15 – 11.30             Coffee Break

11.30 – 12.45             Plenary Session

Chair: Prof. Michele Graziadei, University of Turin

Prof. Laurence Gormley (University of Groningen): Implications for law faculties and the legal profession

Prof. Josep Maria De Dios Marcer (Autonomous University of Barcelona): Brexit and Academia

ELFA Award 2016 Announcement

12.45 – 14.00             Lunch

14.00 – 15.30             Parallel Sessions

Assessment of Law Faculties

Chair: Prof. Andreas R. Ziegler, University of Lausanne

Prof. Leo P. Martinez (Albert Abramson Professor of Law, University of California): U.S. Legal Education Through the Looking Glass: Education Standards

Prof. Nigel Duncan (City, University of London): Assessment of Law Faculties in the UK

Central European Experience in Legal Education

Chair: Prof. Marek Grzybowski, Warsaw University

Assoc. Prof. Izabela Krasnicka (University of Bialystok): (Legal) education challenges for young students with Autism. Comparative Perspective

Dr. Ondrej Blažo (Vice-Dean, Comenius University): Central European Legal Education: Comenius University in Bratislava

Prof. Janina Ciechanowicz-McLean (University of Gdańsk): The role of law in ecological education

Prof. Iurii Barabash (Vice-Rector, Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University): Legal training reform in Ukraine

15.30 – 16.00             Coffee Break

16.00 – 17.30             Parallel Sessions

Cooperation in Legal Research

Chair: Assoc. Prof. Begüm Bulak Uygun, Yeditepe University

Dr. Pamela Gorini (European Commission for the Research Executive Agency): EU-funded opportunities for researchers: Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions

Assoc. Prof. Michal Radvan (Vice-Dean, Masaryk University): Foreign instructors as the base for legal research cooperation

Training Lawyers for International Mobility

Chair: Prof. Michele Graziadei, University of Turin

Prof. Barbara Pozzo (Università degli Studi dell’Insubria): Training Lawyers for International Mobility

Prof. Anne Klebes – Pelissier (University of Strasbourg)

Mark Maxwell (Deputy Legal Councel, U.S. Africa Command): Perspectives of Training Lawyers to build Governance

19.00                           Conference Dinner

Location: SONO centrum, Brno

Friday, April 21, 2017

9.00 – 10.30               Panel SEALS

Guardians of the Bar

Chair: José Maria De Dios Marcer, Autonomos University of Barcelona

Prof. Richard V. Meyer (Director of the Foreign Master of Laws Programme, Mississippi College, School of Law): A Comparative Look at How U.S. States and other Countries Restrict Access to the Practice of Law

Dr. Marta Isern (Deputy General Director and Director of life-long learning program, Barcelona BAR Association): Do Bars restrict access to the practice of law?

10.30 – 11.00             Coffee Break

11.00 – 11.30             Panel Reports

11.30 – 12.30             Annual General Meeting

Chair: Assoc. Prof. Věra Kalvodová, Masaryk University


Adoption of the Resolution

Presentation and Approval of the President’s Report

Presentation and Approval of the Treasurer’s Report

Presentation and Approval of Budget 2017

Election of the New President

Election of the First Vice-President

Election of the New Board Member

Future Plans

Presentation of Membership Certificates to the new Members and Affiliated Members

Any other Business

12.30 – 13.30             Lunch

14.00                           Social Programme

Guided Tour in the Historic Centre of Brno 

Dear ELFA members,

During my Presidential year the following events have occurred.

I have had the honour to represent ELFA at two major conferences. In August 2016, me and former ELFA President, Laurence Gormley, attended the Annual Conference of SEALS (the Southeastern Association of Law Schools) in Amelia Island, Florida. We visited number of panels with specialized legal focus as well as those, devoted to the issues of education. Within this conference, there was a meeting with representatives of SEALS where repeated organization of SEALS panel on the 22nd ELFA Annual General Meeting and Conference 2017 in Brno and arrangement of ELFA panel on the SEALS Conference 2017 in Florida were agreed. Thus, I may conclude that cooperation commenced years ago by Prof. Haluk Kabalioglu continues successfully and enables a very valuable exchange of knowledge and experience.

Furthermore, I attended the 111th Annual Meeting of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) that was held in San Francisco, in January 2017. Here, ELFA in conjunction with Leo Martinez from Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, organised a panel on “Current Issues Affecting Rule of Law and Legal Education in Europe”. Besides me, Prof. Haluk Kabalioglu, Prof. Laurence Gormley, Prof. Jose Maria De Dios Marcer and Prof. Karsten Thorn delivered their presentations here. This panel was rewarded with a very positive reaction of its participants and brought a brisk discussion about presented contributions. We agreed to continue in this form of cooperation with AALS, the next meeting will take place in San Diego, in January 2018.

There has already been the fourth year of ELFA Award, the competition for excellent dissertation thesis focused on the topic of European law. Due to a continuously pleasing number of submitted works as well as their high quality, this year was undoubtedly a success so the Board has decided to continue in ELFA Award for 2017. I would like to give many thanks especially to Prof. Laurence Gromley for organization of the whole competition procedure. The fifth year of ELFA Award has been already announced on the ELFA website.

After the ELFA AGM and Conference in Groningen, the Board met twice in previous year – in Brno (July 2016) and Barcelona (January 2017). These meetings were devoted to current issues of ELFA and mainly to preparations of the ELFA Annual General Meeting and Conference 2017 in Brno. They could be characterized as beneficial, factual and effective.

ELFA as an organization has continued to attract new members and associate members. It is a great pleasure for me to announce that ten law faculties joined ELFA during passed year:

– LATVIA, The University of Latvia

– UNITED KINGDOM, University of Edinburgh

– ITALY, Universita degli Studi Suor Orsola Benincasa

– MONTENEGRO, University of Montenegro

– ITALY, University of Bergamo

– CROATIA, Josip Juraj Strassmayer University of Osijek

– SPAIN, University of Las Palmas

– MONTENEGRO, University of Montenegro

– UKRAINE, National University “Odessa Academy of Law”

– SPAIN, Universitat de Les Illes Balears

In conclusion, I would like to thank all the Board members who have served with me during this year – and indeed, during the whole period of my membership in the Board. I would also like to thank my Secretary, Katarina Kandova, for her wonderful work that has enabled smooth functioning of ELFA in previous year and as I believe, to the content of all its members. It only remains for me to wish my successor a great year as the President.

Vera Kalvodova Brno, April 2017



At its Annual General Meeting held in Brno on 21st April 2017
Adopted the following RESOLUTION on


Whereas Law Faculties in Europe and elsewhere find themselves faced with continuing challenges as to their future development to respond to changes in the demand for and type of legal services provided to European Citizens and other market participants;
Whereas the proper safeguarding of legal systems governed by the rule of law demands well educated
law graduates who are capable of understanding and responding to changing developments in society;
Whereas the independence of the judiciary and a high level of expertise of the judiciary are essential to the proper functioning of the rule of law;
Whereas the independence of the judiciary has been under serious attack in certain Member States of the Council of Europe
Whereas the academic freedom of Central European University in Budapest has been seriously threatened by recent legislative developments;


Calls upon its members and all European Law Faculties:
– to ensure that respect for the rule of law and for the independence of the judiciary is emphasized in law teaching;
– to emphasize the need for judges to be highly competent and properly trained;
– to set a good example in mooting, particularly at national and international level by ensuring that those judging moots are highly competent in the subject-matter under discussion;
– to take full account of the need to ensure that law graduates are properly educated to a high intellectual standard;
– to press for adequate funding of law faculties to ensure that law students are properly educated in critical legal skills;
– to ensure that new law faculties which open are properly staffed by highly qualified law teachers, and that the value of the title ‘University’ is not compromised;
– to ensure that their legal education is either subject to an accreditation system recognized as conforming to best practice or, where such a system is not yet available, that their legal education curriculum and delivery responds at least to the requirements of their national (or regional in federal systems) judiciaries and Bar Councils (without preventing the curriculum from including a wider range of legal subjects and allied subjects) and is externally evaluated;
– to encourage joint and double degrees, both with law faculties in other countries and with faculties in other disciplines, recognizing that law graduates do not operate in a vacuum and that increasing internationalization and the development of transnational relations faces legal education with new and exciting challenges;
– to ensure that law graduates understand the role of whistleblowers in uncovering abuses that go to the heart of the integrity of the legal system and the rule of law;
– to ensure that law graduates are well-equipped with an understanding of the challenges of the digital age, and of the need to respect individual privacy;
– to encourage law graduates to stand up for the freedom of speech and democratic society in the terms recognized in the European Convention of Human Rights.
Calls upon the Institutions of the European Union and of the Council of Europe and the Member States of both of these bodies:
– to continue to strive for respect for and maintenance of the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary in all European countries, and to take all legal steps available to react to actions by governments which threaten these core values of European integration and cooperation;
– to ensure that legal education is provided in universities which are entitled to full academic liberty to encourage freedom of thought and expression as well as academic mobility;
– to ensure that in their funding programmes projects designed to foster the rule of law and respect for the fundamental rights of individuals receive a high priority;
– to ensure that European funding is available to complement action by the Member States to maintain and develop the highest quality of legal education in European countries as an essential contributor towards the maintenance of the rule of law;
– to take appropriate steps to ensure that university academic freedom is not diminished by politically motivated interests.

Calls upon the Bar Councils and Law Societies of Europe and major law firms
– to fund or continue to fund new initiatives in legal education aimed at responding to the changing naturof the provision of legal services and to the changing nature of legal instruments affecting individuals and business, which are increasingly European in origin and pan-European in their consequences;
– to do all in their power to ensure that access to justice remains affordable, open to all, and that the right to effective remedies is not eroded.