How it all started ...

The ELIA and EUI Initiatives

In Europe the idea of founding a European Law Institute had been in discussion for more than a decade. Two main initiatives were launched:

In October 2008, a group of scholars from leading European law schools and research institutes convened in Brussels to discuss the project. Follow-up meetings took place in Prague, Amsterdam, Stockholm and Frankfurt. In March 2010, the Association for a European Law Institute (ELIA) was founded, which served to initiate and coordinate a Europe-wide debate. By 2011, the ELIA had around 250 members, academics from more than 100 European law faculties as well as judges, many of them from Member States' supreme courts, and legal professionals.

An independent initiative towards the foundation of a European Law Institute was taken by the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies of the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence. Four colleagues from the EUI launched a conference in April 2010, inviting many leading figures from European institutions and networks to discuss the idea (RSCAS Policy Paper 2010/03: A European Law Institute? Towards Innovation in European Legal Integration). Among the speakers was Viviane Reding, then newly appointed Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, who had been a strong advocate for a European law institute ever since she took office.

 

The Hamburg Memorandum

Even thoughor rather becausethere was a great deal of overlap between the ELIA and the EUI initiatives, they came to be seen as possible competitors, which caused concern among members of the academic community. Thus, upon the kind invitation of Reinhard Zimmermann, a meeting was held on the premises of the Hamburg Max Planck Institute on 22 and 23 June 2010 in order to find out whether the two initiatives could be brought together and whether a common roadmap could be developed for the establishment of a European law institute, if possible in partnership with Trans Europe Experts (TEE). The discussions held in Hamburg and the consensus reached are outlined in the minutes of that meeting (the 'Hamburg Memorandum').

 

Towards the European Law Institute

The Vienna Memorandum

In accordance with the Hamburg Memorandum, a joint project group had been formed by the ELIA and EUI initiatives and further networks and stakeholder organisations. A first meeting of this joint project group and of observers from the European Commission was held in Vienna on 23 and 24 November 2010. The meeting was chaired jointly by the President of the Network of the Presidents of the Supreme Judicial Courts of the EU, Irmgard Griss, and by Zimmermann, Director of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law. The results are summarised in the Vienna Memorandum.

Three Working Groups were set up:

  • Working Group I (coordinated by Fabrizio Cafaggi, Christiane Wendehorst and Sabino Cassese) would prepare a draft manifesto and a draft statute; and it would investigate and present a proposal concerning the question of the place of incorporation of the ELI.
  • Working Group II (coordinated by Sjef van Erp, Hans Micklitz and Sir Francis Jacobs) would suggest which additional members to adopt for the Founding Committee; and it would prepare criteria for a decision on the seat of the Secretariat of the ELI.
  • Working Group III (coordinated by Miguel Poiares Maduro, Hans Schulte-Nölke and Bénédicte Fauvarque-Cosson) would look into the question of which academic projects should be pursued by the ELI; and it would prepare the Founding Congress of the ELI.

Meeting of the ELI Founding Committee in Athens

On 15 and 16 April 2011, the ELI Founding Committee convened in Athens upon the kind invitation of Spyridon Flogaitis, Director of the EPLO and President of its Board of Directors, in order to debate the results submitted by the three Working Groups that had been established on the basis of the Vienna Memorandum. The discussions in Athens were again moderated by Zimmermann and Griss. Following the proposal made by Working Group I, it was decided to found the ELI as an Association Internationale Sans But Lucratif (AISBL) under Belgian law. A Statute and a Manifesto for the ELI were adopted and the first ELI Council was appointed. A procedure for determining the place of the ELI Secretariat was agreed upon.

Founding Individual Members of the ELI

For ease of reference, the entries in each column can be alphabetically arranged by clicking on the different categories.

Surname First Name(s): Affilliation:
Ajani Gianmaria Rector, University of Torino
Alonso Landeta Gabriel President, European Land Registry Association (ELRA)
Aubert de Vincelles Carole Trans Europe Experts
Auby Jean-Bernard Professor and Director at the Center on Changes in Governance, Public Law at Sciences Po
Beale Hugh Professor, University of Warwick
Bermann George A. International Academy of Comparative Law
Botusharova Snezhana International Judge at the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Kosovo
Cafaggi Fabrizio European University Institute, Florence
Caponi Remo International Association of Procedural Law
Clément Marc Judge, Association of European Administrative Judges
Dal Georges-Albert former President Conseil des Barreaux Europées (Ex Officio)
Doralt Walter Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science
Fauvarque-Cosson Bénédicte Professor, Université Panthéon Assas, Paris, Trans Europe Experts, former ELI Vice-President
Flogaitis Spyridon European Public Law Organization
Garlicki Lech Judge at the European Court of Human Rights
Gernandt Johan Member of the Stockholm Bar, Chairman of the Stockholm Centre for Commercial Law, former ELI Treasurer
Graf Westphalen Friedrich Lawyer
Griss Irmgard Former President of the Austrian Supreme Court, former President of the Network of the Presidents of the Supreme Judicial Courts of the EU
Grundmann Stefan Professor, President of the Society of European Contract Law
Hofmann Herwig Professor of European and Transnational Public Law
Huguenin Claire Professor of Private Law Business Law, European Law at the University of Zurich
Illescas Rafael Professor, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
Jacobs Francis Judge, former ELI President
Jerez Delgado Carmen Professor, Autonomous University of Madrid
Kaindl Rudolf Former President of the Council of the Notariats of the European Union
Kreins Yves President of the Belgian Council of State
Lord Thomas John Former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales
Lando Ole Commission on European Contract Law
Maher Imelda University College, Dublin
Mance Jonathan The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
Micklitz Hans Professor at the European University Institute
Mikelenas Valentinas former Judge at the Supreme Court of Lithuania
Muir-Watt Horatia Professor at Sciences Po, Paris
Netten Leo President Union Internationale des Huissiers de Justice (UIHJ), Union internationale des huissiers de justice
Papasavvas Savvas Judge, General Court of the European Union
Philippe Denis Professor at the University of Louvain, Visiting Professor at the University of Paris Ouest, ELI Treasurer
Poiares Maduro Miguel former Professor and Director of the Global Governance Program, European University Institute Florence
Polcak Radim Professor and Head of Institute of Law and Technology at Masaryk University
Reynis Bernard Former President, Council of the Notariats of the EU
Safjan Marek Judge, European Court of Justice
Schulte-Nölke Hans European Legal Studies Institute Osnabrück
Schulze Reiner Professor, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Sorabji John Judiciary of England and Wales
Storme Matthias Professor
Timmermans Christiaan Professor, Judge
Trstenjak Verica Professor, University of Vienna
Van Erp Sjef Professor at the University of Maastricht
Varul Paul Lawyer
Von Bar Christian Rudolf Friedrich-Wilhelm University Osnabrück
Wendehorst Christiane Professor, University of Vienna, current ELI President
Zimmermann Reinhard Director, Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law
Zoll Fryderyk Professor at Jagiellonian University, Kraków

Founding Institutional Observers of the ELI

  • The International Union of Judicial Officers (Union Internationale des Huissiers de Justice, UIHJ)
  • The Council of the Notariats of the European Union (CNUE)
  • The Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (Conseil des Barreaux Européens, CCBE)
  • The European Land Registry Association (ELRA)