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 the future European legal experts and to help the ELI in fulfilling its core mission of improving the quality of European law. The award is supported by the ELI and other appropriate participating institutions.

Applicants must be students enrolled at a European 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 and be conversant in English.

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. The contribution can be submitted in any of the EU official languages along with an English translation. Papers for the ELI Young Lawyers Award have to be submitted by 30 April of each year, 8 pm CET to the email address award@europeanlawinstitute.eu. 

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

Entry Requirements

1. A cover sheet with the name, telephone number, e-mail and postal address of the applicant, as well as the topic of the paper;

2. An executive summary of maximum 300 words; and

3. A paper of maximum 2,500 words, containing at least the following information:

  • Introduction
  • Identification of a problem or a possibility for improvement in the indicated field of law in Europe
  • Analysis of one or more possible solution(s) and
  • Concluding remarks

All papers submitted by candidates for the ELI Young Lawyers Award should follow the directions in this style sheet regarding structure, form, style, reference formats and citations. Candidate details and ELI Young Lawyers Award entries should be completed in the submission template.

The successful candidate will be invited to present their paper at the ELI Annual Conference.

The ELI will further cover their accommodation and travel expenses up to EUR 1,000. This will provide the winner with an opportunity to meet some of the world’s leading legal experts and exchange ideas with them.

In addition, the winning contribution will be published on the ELI website and its author will be awarded with two years of free ELI fellowship, which will allows the winner to be involved in Special Interest Groups (SIGs), present project proposals and participate in the Members Consultative Committees (MCCs) of the various ELI projects.

Please click to see the ELI Young Lawyers Award brochure

Jury Members

The following Jury Members were selected by the ELI Executive Committee to review the entries of the 2019 and 2020 ELI Young Lawyers Award:

  • Sjef van Erp, Chair of the Jury, former ELI Vice-President, Professor of civil law and European private law at Maastricht University (Netherlands)
  • Filipe Machado, President of the European Law Students Association (ELSA) International
  • John North, President of Interleges
  • Walter Doralt, former Chair of the ELI Membership Committee, Professor at the University of Graz (Austria)
  • Reinhard Zimmermann, Speaker of the ELI Senate, Professor and Director of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law

We wish to thank the outgoing Jury, Robert Bray (former Head of Unit, Committee on Legal Affairs of the European Parliament), Sabino Cassese (former Italian Constitutional Court Judge and Professor of Administrative Law), Katharina Miller (3C Compliance, Founding Partner, and President of the European Woman Lawyers Association), Diana Wallis (former ELI President) and Reinhard Zimmermann (Speaker of the ELI Senate), who will be continuing his role, for their dedication to giving voice to young European lawyers in the course of their two-year tenure.

2020 Sponsor of the ELI Young Lawyers Award

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


2019 Young Lawyers Award Winner

For the third time, the ELI Young Lawyers Award was awarded to give 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 on 4 September at the Austrian Ministry of Justice. His paper aims at evaluating the impact of blockchain technology on civil liability, attempting to describe its future path and envisage future regulations.


The full paper can be read here.

ELI Vice-President Sjef van Erp congratulates Luigi Buonanno

2018 Young Lawyers Award Winner

For the second time, the ELI Young Lawyers Award was awarded to give 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.

The full paper can be read 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