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).

The Hamburg Memorandum

Even though – or rather because – there 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, Director of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law, a meeting was held on the premises of the Institute (in Hamburg) 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. 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 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 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 ELI; and it would prepare the Founding Congress of 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 European Public Law Organisation (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 ELI as an Association Internationale Sans But Lucratif (AISBL) under Belgian law. A Statute and a Manifesto for 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 Name Affilliation
Ajani Gianmaria Former Rector, University of Turin
Alonso Landeta Gabriel Former President, European Land Registry Association (ELRA)
Aubert de Vincelles Carole Trans Europe Experts, Professor, CY Cergy Paris University
Auby Jean-Bernard Professor and Director, Center on Changes in Governance, Public Law at Sciences Po
Beale Hugh Professor, University of Warwick
Bermann George A International Academy of Comparative Law, Professor, Columbia University
Botusharova Snezhana Judge, Constitutional Court of the Republic of Kosovo
Cafaggi Fabrizio Former Professor, European University Institute, Florence
Caponi Remo Professor, University of Florence
Clément Marc Judge, Administrative Court of Appeal of Lyon
Dal Georges-Albert Partner, DALDEWOLF, Former President Conseil des Barreaux Europées (Ex Officio)
Doralt Walter Professor, University of Graz
Fauvarque-Cosson Bénédicte General Administrator, French Conservatoire national des arts et métiers (CNAM), Former ELI Vice-President
Flogaitis Spyridon European Public Law Organization, Professor at the University of Athens
Garlicki Lech Former Judge, European Court of Human Rights
Gernandt Johan Former Chairman, Stockholm Centre for Commercial Law, Former ELI Treasurer
Graf Westphalen Friedrich Lawyer
Griss Irmgard Former President, Austrian Supreme Court, Former President, Network of the Presidents of the Supreme Judicial Courts of the EU
Grundmann Stefan President, Society of European Contract Law
Hofmann Herwig Professor, University of Luxembourg
Huguenin Claire Professor, University of Zurich (✝)
Illescas Rafael Professor, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, President of AIDA Spain
Jacobs Francis Professor, King’s College London, Former ELI President
Jerez Delgado Carmen Professor, Autonomous University of Madrid
Kaindl Rudolf Former President, Council of the Notariats of the European Union (ex officio)
Kreins Yves Former President, Belgian Council of State
Lord Thomas John Former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales
Lando Ole Commission on European Contract Law (✝)
Lord Mance Jonathan Chair, International Law Association (ILA)
Maher Imelda Dean, UCD Sutherland School of Law
Micklitz Hans Professor, European University Institute
Mikelenas Valentinas Lawyer, Former Judge, Supreme Court of Lithuania
Muir-Watt Horatia Professor, Sciences Po, Paris
Netten Leo Former President, Union Internationale des Huissiers de Justice (UIHJ)
Papasavvas Savvas Judge and Vice-president, General Court of the European Union
Philippe Denis Professor, University of Louvain, Visiting Professor, University of Paris Ouest, former ELI Treasurer
Poiares Maduro Miguel Former Professor and Director, Global Governance Program, European University Institute Florence
Polcak Radim 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 University (WWU) Münster
Sorabji John Senior Judicial Institute Fellow, UCL’s Judicial Institute
Storme Matthias Professor, University of Leuven
Timmermans Christiaan Former Judge, European Court of Justice
Trstenjak Verica Professor, University of Vienna
Van Erp Sjef Professor, University of Maastricht
Varul Paul Lawyer, Professor emeritus, University of Tartu
Von Bar Christian Professor, University of Osnabrück
Wendehorst Christiane Professor, University of Vienna, former ELI President, current ELI Scientific Director
Zimmermann Reinhard Director, Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law
Zoll Fryderyk Professor, Jagiellonian University and University of Osnabrück

Founding Institutional Members of 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)