The Vice-President of the European Commission launches the start of activities of the European Institute of Law

One year after the idea of its creation, the institute opened its first working meeting attended by Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Justice

It will hold its first working meeting to discuss the Commission’s proposal for an optional Common European Sales Law ( IP/11/1175 ). Founded in June, with its seat in Vienna ( IP/11/666 ), the Institute aims to improve legal consistency in Europe by providing practical advice to policymakers and authorities and to further develop EU law. It is an independent non-profit organisation bringing together legal practitioners and academics from all over Europe. The Institute will make an important contribution to the EU’s wider goal of building a European area of law and justice.

According to Vivian Reding, the European Law Institute will help build a European legal culture. More consistency between Europe’s different legal systems will help strengthen mutual trust and our citizens’ confidence in the EU’s legal system, strengthening confidence in the European rule of law, which is the cement binding the European Union together. It will make the European area of justice concrete and real so that people can exercise their rights and take advantage of the Single Market’s opportunities. The Institute will also bring added value to research on how EU law is implemented across the Union. It will engage in projects that will have concrete results for the daily lives of European citizens and legal practitioners.

European law has a profound impact on the daily lives of European citizens, businesses and national political and legal structures. Academic research and judicial training is needed to further develop and strengthen all areas of European law – whether civil, criminal or administrative.

The Institute will help analyse the difficulties faced by legal professionals, identify possible solutions to help improve the application of EU law, and develop suggestions for reforms of EU legislation in all areas. It will also be a forum for exchange and discussion for lawyers, academics and professionals.

The initiative to create a European Law Institute – promoted by the Commission in its action plan for delivering an area of freedom, security and justice for Europe’s citizens ( IP/10/447 ) – draws inspiration from the American Law Institute, a non-governmental body that played a crucial role in developing the Uniform Commercial Code, which facilitates sales and other commercial transactions across the United States’ 50 states. The Institute decided to organise its first working meeting to discuss the Common European Sales Law, which could be freely chosen by businesses and consumers for selling and shopping online in the EU.

The creation of the European Law Institute was part of the Commission’s 2010 Action Plan to implement the Stockholm Programme. Vice-President Reding spoke about the importance of its creation in April 2010 in Florence ( SPEECH/10/154 ). On 1 June 2011, the Institute’s first inaugural congress was held in Paris ( IP/11/666 ) before the University of Vienna won the right to host the seat of the Institute for an initial four-year period.

The aims of the European Law Institute are to :

- evaluate and stimulate the development of EU law, legal policy, and practice;
- make proposals for the further development of the body of EU law and for the enhancement of Member States’ implementation of EU law;
- identify and analyse legal developments in areas within the competence of Member States that are relevant at the EU level;
- study EU approaches regarding international law and enhance the role EU law could play globally, such as in drafting international instruments or model rules;
- conduct and facilitate pan-European research, such as drafting, evaluating and improving principles and rules that are common to the European legal systems;
- provide a forum for jurists – academics, judges, lawyers and other legal professionals – from different legal traditions to hold discussions

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