Bar Chairman at Assises de Justice Conference, Brussels, November
As part of the EU’s Justice for Growth strategy, the EU institutions are looking at ways to maximise the effectiveness of national legal systems, as well as identifying what else needs to be done in the Justice and Home Affairs field at EU level. To that end, the Commission organised a major conference in Brussels in late November, bringing together policy makers, members of the judiciary and the legal professions from the Member States, to debate future policy. Such was the level of interest that the event was three times over-subscribed. The Chairman of the Bar, Maura McGowan QC was a key member of the panel dealing with challenges and future policy directions in the area of criminal justice. See:

Workshop on Judicial training, 28 November
The European Parliament Legal Affairs Committee held a workshop entitled ‘The training of legal practitioners: teaching EU law and judgecraft’ on 28 November 2013, documentation for which can be found on the JURI website. See:

Career opportunities beyond the Bar in EU law seminar
The Bar Council’s EU Law committee is organising this seminar on Thursday 12 December at 17:00, in Lincolns Inn. Many talented young UK lawyers, by design or necessity, look beyond the Bar for their future careers. Since opportunities
are rife in Brussels and elsewhere, we hope to encourage more of them, not necessarily EU specialists or linguists, to see the possibilities in EU law, and provide some insights into how to avail of them. More information is available through the Inns, Bar vocational courses and the Young Barristers Committee.

European Commission seeking contract staff
For those looking for an immediate opportunity in the EU, the European Commission has recently published a Call for expressions of interest for contract staff. See:

State of play of the Balance of Competences Review 2012 – 2014 (BoC)
You may be aware of the Government’s twoyear-long, detailed review of who does what as between the EU and the UK, launched in the summer of 2012 is due to be completed at the end of next year. So far, the Bar has formally responded to two calls for evidence, the first semester one on the Synoptic Review of the Internal Market (February 2013), and the second semester one on Civil Justice (August 2013). Both responses can be seen on the Bar Council website. See:

The Bar’s EU Law Committee is now coordinating responses to several of the third semester calls, which were launched in October and are due to be submitted by January 2014. These include Fundamental Rights; Internal Market – services; Internal Market – financial services; Competition and consumer policy and Social and Employment. For details including these calls and available reports from earlier semesters. See:

Commission Work Programme for 2014
In late October, the Commission adopted its Work Programme for 2014, in line with its annual practice. With European Parliament elections in May 2014, and a change of Commissioners shortly thereafter, the emphasis is on identifying priority measures to be adopted ahead of those changes by the co-legislators. The list includes several files that the Bar is actively following, some reported on below. In addition, there are a limited number of new initiatives; lists of proposals to be withdrawn, and a list of legislation that becomes applicable in 2014. For the full programme see:

Revision of package travel and assisted travel arrangements
Last July, the Commission adopted a proposal for a directive repealing one, and amending two other, existing EU instruments on package travel (Procedure reference COD(20130246). The EP’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO), which leads on the file, expects to adopt its draft report in February 2014, with the vote in plenary planned for March 2014. This is a tight timeline, especially given the concerns held by stakeholders, including some personal injury lawyers, about elements of the proposal. See:

Review of the European Arrest Warrant
The Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee of the EP (LIBE) is preparing a legislative report on the review of the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) (2002/584JHA), the most high-profile of the 130 existing EU criminal justice measures that are the subject of the UK’s Protocol 36 opt-out decision. LIBE hosted a hearing on the file in October, which revealed broad consensus among stakeholders that the EAW is a key and effective instrument in the EU’s fight against crime; but that it is flawed, both in terms of the drafting of the original Framework Decision and in the way that it is implemented and applied in the Member States. LIBE will seek to identify both legislative and non-legislative solutions in its report.

European investigation order
By the time of reading, the EU legislators may at last have reached agreement on this important 2010 proposal for a Directive creating the European Investigation Order (EIO) (Procedure Reference COD(2010)0817) - a single regime for the collection of evidence (including new evidence, such as conducting interviews) in another Member State, into which the UK opted at the beginning of negotiations. Its adoption would also assist the debate on the EAW (see above). See:

Defence rights - Right of Access to a lawyer adopted
Though it is old news to interested practitioners, the historic adoption in October of this key defence rights roadmap measure deserves to be highlighted. Directive 2013/48/EU sets out minimum rules on:

  • the right of access to a lawyer in criminal proceedings (when and under which conditions) and in European arrest warrant proceedings (including dual representation in the latter)
  • the right to have a third party informed upon deprivation of liberty, and
  • the right to communicate, while deprived of liberty, with third persons and with consular authorities.

It also deals amongst other things with the following:

  • the principle of confidentiality of communications between the lawyer and the suspect or accused person, and
  • the possibility of making temporary derogations to certain rights in exceptional circumstances and under strict conditions only.

The text of the adopted directive can be seen at:

By the time of reading, the Commission should have proposed at least one of the promised three further defence rights measures due in this legislative period, on the right to legal aid; the presumption of innocence and special safeguards for vulnerable persons.

European Public Prosecutor’s offi ce (EPPO) and reform of EUROJUST
I have previously reported on the Commission’s proposal for a regulation setting up the EPPO and the related proposal on European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (Eurojust) (12566/13) (which will share the administrative functions of the offi ce). See links to the legislative package at:

The UK’s was among the 11 Member States’ national parliaments that exercised their Lisbon Treaty prerogative to submit a reasoned opinion objecting to the proposal on grounds of subsidiarity. News emerged at the end of October that the objections were suffi cient in number to require the Commission to reconsider, and possibly withdraw the proposal – the so-called yellow-card – only the second time that it has been shown.

The House of Lords Report of 22 October recommending that the UK opt-in to the Eurojust reform regulation, can be seen at:

EU Data Protection Review
The European Parliament and Council have been making steady progress on this important but complex package of reform measures, on the table since January 2012, but the deadline for completion of the negotiations has been put back to 2015 by the Heads of State at the October Brussels European Summit. For now, the adopted European Parliament committee reports can be found at:

Legal Aff airs committee hearing on Unified Patent Package
In early November, the Legal Affairs Committee of the EP (JURI) hosted a hearing examining the state of play of the Unitary Patents Package. See more on the JURI website at:

Consumer Product safety proposal supported by Internal Market Committee
In late October, the EP’s Internal Market Committee (IMCO) adopted its draft report on the Commission’s February 2013 proposal for a regulation (Procedure reference COD(2013)0049) laying down uniform rules regarding a general horizontal safety requirement for products intended for consumer use / consumption (product safety and market surveillance package). The proposed regulation, if adopted, will repeal Council Directive 87/357/EEC and Directive
2001/95/EC on general product safety. Formal adoption is expected early next year. See:

Proposed changes to the regulation to insolvency
I have previously reported on the adoption earlier this year of a proposal revising the Insolvency Regulation of 2000. The proposal was well received. Indeed, experts at the Bar endorsed the Commission’s proposal, but had a few refi nements in mind that we communicated to the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs committee. By the time of reading, JURI should be about to adopt its report, paving the way for formal European Parliament and Council adoption before the end of this legislative term, so by May of next year. See:

Banking Union – updates on the Single Supervisory Mechanism and Single Resolution Mechanism
You are aware of the Commission’s recent proposal for a Single Resolution Mechanism for the Banking Union. The mechanism is intended to complement the Single Supervisory Mechanism, which should become operational next year. The SSM will see the European Central Bank directly supervise banks in the euro area and in other Member States which decide to join the Banking Union. For more information, see:

The European Council meeting in late October specifi cally called on the European Parliament and the Council to ensure the adoption of the Single Resolution Mechanism before May 2014.

Proposed directive on Antitrust damages
By the time of reading, the EP’s Economic andMonetary Affairs Committee which leads the work on the fi le in the Parliament, should have adopted its report on the Commission’s June 2013 proposal for a Directive to facilitate damages claims by victims of antitrust violations, across the EU (Procedure reference COD(2013)0185). See:

Access to the liberal professions – Commission Communication
In October, the European Commission adopted a communication, since endorsed by the European Council, announcing the start of an evaluation of national regulations on access to regulated professions. The Council of the Bars and Law Societies of Europe is coordinating the response of the legal profession to this development. See:

Commission focuses on ‘A Single Market for Lawyers’
In late October, DG Internal Market of the European Commission hosted an important conference for lawyers in the EU, which focussed on the issues raised in / by the recent study (by the University of Maastricht and Panteia) on the operation of the EU legal framework governing the free movement of lawyers, including the Establishment and Services directives. The event concluded that the regime is effective, but some changes, not necessarily legislative, need to be explored. The Commission has undertaken to work closely with the legal profession on this going forward. For the Panteia study ‘Evaluation of the Legal Framework for the Free Movement of Lawyers’, see:

The executive summary can be viewed at:

European Parliament approves Professional Qualifi cations Directive
By the time of reading, the Council should have adopted the text, approved by the EP in plenary in October, of the Professional Qualifi cations Directive (PQD) (Procedure reference COD (2011)0435), which modernises directive 2005/36/EC. The modernised PQD provides for the automatic recognition of qualifi cations for a limited number of professions (doctors, nurses, midwives, dentists, pharmacists, veterinary surgeons and architects) and a system for mutual
recognition of professional qualifi cations across a wide range of other professional activities. It does not, strictly, cover lawyers as they benefi t from their own regime but the new directive does contain some provisions that may apply to the
legal profession, including on partial access to the profession, and on the treatment of persons not yet fully qualifi ed or who are seeking to undertake part of their qualifi cation in another Member State. For the adopted text, see:

Progress on modernising the EU’s public procurement rules
You are aware of the important work being undertaken to revise the EU public procurement rules, as proposed in a package of Commission proposals dating from 2011. The European Parliament and Council reached agreement on a compromise text on the general framework proposal (COD(2011)0438) earlier this year, and all appears to remain on course for European Parliament plenary adoption in early December, with the Council moving to adopt the text soon thereafter. This is important for the Bar as it provides for fl exibility in the market for legal services, including the domestic market. Note that the EU institutions are also now working towards adopting a recent Commission proposal on e-invoicing in public procurement contracts, itself due to be fi nalized next spring. See:

Developments on these and other current issues are reported on in Brussels News, the regular EU newsletter for members of the Bar of England & Wales. Please e-mail:

Evanna Fruithof
Consultant Director, Bar Council of England & Wales, Brussels Office