ELI Young Lawyers Award

The ELI Young Lawyers Award was officially launched at the 2016 Annual Conference and General Assembly. The goal of this award is to provide the young European legal community with a mechanism to propose practical suggestions for the improvement of European law, as a way of giving voice to future European legal experts and to help ELI in fulfilling its core mission of improving the quality of European law. The award is supported by ELI and other appropriate participating institutions.

Applicants must be students enrolled at a university currently undertaking a university law degree, whether undergraduate or postgraduate; or contenders who are within five years of being awarded a law degree at the date by which entries must be submitted.

Candidates must submit a unique and original paper which was not previously published and which deals with a European legal issue that could be improved. Joint submissions, by the means of co-authorship of up to two applicants, are also accepted. The contribution has to be submitted in English. Papers for the ELI Young Lawyers Award have to be submitted by 30 April of each year to the following email address

The Jury of the ELI Young Lawyers Award is comprised of representatives of ELI and other participating institutions. It is selected by the ELI Executive Committee every two years.

Entry Requirements

All papers submitted by candidates for the ELI Young Lawyers Award should follow the Rules regarding structure, form, style, reference formats and citations. Papers should follow the submission template and be anonymised. Candidate details should be attached in the application form.

The awarded candidate(s) will be invited to present their paper in front of the Jury in the course of the ELI Annual Conference.

In addition, the winning contribution will be published on the ELI website and its author(s) will be awarded a EUR 500 cash prize as well as two years of free ELI membership, which will allow them to be involved in Special Interest Groups, present project proposals and participate in the Members Consultative Committees of the different ELI projects.

The ELI and sponsors will further cover their accommodation and travel expenses up to EUR 1.000. This will provide the winner(s) with an opportunity to meet and greet some of the world’s leading law experts and exchange ideas with them.

In the case of a joint submission of co-authors the prize will be split. The co-authors’ travel expenses and accommodation will be covered up to the above-mentioned sum. The cash prize will also be split by two. Both winning contributors will be awarded with a one year free ELI fellowship.

Jury Members

The following Jury Members were selected by the ELI Executive Committee to review the entries of the 2021 and 2022 ELI Young Lawyers Award:

  • Sjef van Erp, Chair of the Jury, Professor emeritus of civil law and European private law at Maastricht University; former ELI Vice-President
  • Weronika Banska, President of the International Board of the European Law Students’ Association (ELSA)
  • Walter Doralt, Professor at the University of Graz, former Chair of the ELI Membership Committee
  • Tatjana Josipović, Professor of civil law at the University of Zagreb
  • John North, member of the Executive Committee of Interleges
  • Teresa Rodríguez de las Heras Ballell, Professor of commercial law at University Carlos III of Madrid
  • Reinhard Zimmermann, Professor and Director of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law, Speaker of the ELI Senate

2021 Sponsor of the ELI Young Lawyers Award

Interleges (interleges.com) is honoured to be associated with the ELI through its sponsorship of the 2021 Young Lawyers Award. The Award was also sponsored by Interleges in 2020, 2019 and 2018. In addition to other prizes, Interleges has pledged a EUR 500 cash prize to the winner of the award.

Interleges was founded in 1989 by a group of like minded law firms who saw the opportunity of strengthening links in other jurisdictions at a time when boundaries in Europe were coming down. As such it shares the aims of the ELI in learning from the achievements of the different legal cultures, endorsing the value of comparative knowledge and taking a genuinely international perspective in dealing with legal issues. Interleges has grown from its roots in Europe and is now a well-established and closely linked alliance of independent law firms with offices across the countries of the European Union, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North and South America. Through Interleges, both business organisations and individuals have access to specialist lawyers who have experience in representing clients from different countries.

2021 Young Lawyers Award Winner

For the fifth time, the ELI Young Lawyers Award was gave voice to the next generation of legal experts. 2021’s winner, Paolo Mazzotti, holds a Master’s degree in law from University of Trento, Italy, and is an LLM candidate at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. In his paper, he analyses the lack of sanctions in the ‘Trade and Sustainable Development Chapters’ (TDS Chapters) of the Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) which the EU concludes with Third Countries and argues in favour of them with a view to ensuring enforcement and enhancing the implementation of sustainability commitments in the EU’s FTAs. Mazzotti presented his paper during the webinar within the framework of the ELI Online Annual Conference 2021 on 7 September. The full paper will be available shortly.

Members of the Jury, Sjef van Erp and John North congratulate Paolo Mazzotti

2020 Young Lawyers Award Winner

For the fourth time, the ELI Young Lawyers Award was gave voice to the next generation of legal experts. 2020’s winner, Alina Škiljić, an associate at CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz, won the award for her paper on ‘Health Data ("Data Concerning Health") Inferences – An Unexplored Volcano Eager to Erupt Post COVID-19 Crisis - Aligning Inferences with GDPR Principles?’ Škiljić presented her paper during the webinar within the framework of the ELI Online Annual Conference 2020 on 9 September. Her paper aims to provide an overview of the most pressing risks related to drawing inferences on health data. The full paper is available here.

Then ELI President, Christiane Wendehorst and Members of the Jury, Sjef van Erp and John North congratulate Alina Škiljić

2019 Young Lawyers Award Winner

For the third time, the ELI Young Lawyers Award was gave voice to the next generation of legal experts. 2019’s winner, Luigi Buonanno, a PhD student from Bocconi University in Italy, won the award for his paper on ‘Civil Liability in the Era of New Technology: The Influence of Blockchain, Blockchain as the Backbone of a New Technology-Based Civil Liability Regime.’ Buonanno delivered his paper on the occasion of the Opening Reception of the ELI 2019 Annual Conference on 4 September. His paper aims at evaluating the impact of blockchain technology on civil liability, attempting to describe its future path. It also lays down options for possible future regulations. The full paper is available here.

Then ELI Vice-President Sjef van Erp congratulates Luigi Buonanno

2018 Young Lawyers Award Winner

For the second time, the ELI Young Lawyers Award gave voice to the next generation of legal experts. 2018’s winner, Manon van Roozendaal, a Dutch graduate from Maastricht University, won the award for her paper on ‘Algorithms: Teenage Troublemakers of EU Competition Law’. Her paper looks at algorithms being used as price-fixing instruments and how such behavior can be qualified under EU competition law and discouraged. The full paper can be downloaded here.

ELI President Christiane Wendehorst congratulates Manon van Roozendaal

2017 Young Lawyers Award Winner

The ELI wishes to congratulate Evgenia Ralli, the first winner of the ELI Young Lawyers Award, for her thought-provoking paper entitled 'The Principle of Mutual Recognition Based on Mutual Trust and the Respect for Fundamental Rights: The Case of the Framework Decision on the European Arrest Warrant.' Evgenia Ralli is a promising lawyer who studied at the University of Luxembourg, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the University of Trier and Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. She presented aspects of her excellent paper on 6 September 2017 at the ELI Annual Conference and General Assembly. The full paper can be read here.


Evgenia Ralli at the 2017 ELI Annual Conference and General Assembly