Opening of the Legal Year in Brussels

Rule of law and justice: the lawyer, author, and subject of law in Europe.

Under the coordination of Isabelle Andoulsi and Stéphanie Davidson, a Conference on the occasion of the Ceremonial Opening of the Legal Year took place on 20 January in Brussels to discuss the latest developments in the field of the rule of law and justice and to emphasize the important role of lawyers in defending justice and the rule of law. Reports recently published by the European Commission and the European Commission for the Effectiveness of Justice (CEPEJ) of the Council of Europe brought attention to developments and concerns in the rule of law and justice and the profession of lawyers. Lawyers play a crucial role in the defence of the rule of law, but their independence is often threatened due to their strategic position. Our Association was represented by Mr Olivier d’Ursel, a member of the AEA-EAL Board of Directors.

The first panel presented the lawyers’ perspectives, chaired by Me Julie Couturier, the Bâtonnière de Paris. Mr Simone Cuomo, the Secretary General of the CCBE, analyzed the European Commission’s 2022 report on the rule of law and discussed the role of lawyers as guardians and defenders of the rule of law. Julie Goffin discussed the situation of lawyers in Europe who are often the first victims and targets of attacks on the rule of law.

The second panel discussed the perspective of judges and was chaired by Mrs Emmanuelle Bribosia, a judge at the Constitutional Court, professor, and Vice-President of the Institute of European Studies of the ULB. Mr Koen Lenaerts, the President of the Court of Justice of the European Union, and Mr Frédéric Krenc, a judge of the European Court of Human Rights, focused on exposing the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union and the role of lawyers in the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights. Joanna Hetnarowicz-Sikora, a judge at the Słupsk court in Poland, noted the raising problems of the rule of law in her country since 2015.

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