Membership Type:

Institutional Fellow



Lemböckgasse 47 A, Block B

1230 Wien



+ 43 699 114 30 810




The European Law Students Association (ELSA) was founded in 1981 by five law students from Austria, Hungary, Poland and West Germany. The organisation is the world's largest independent law students association, represented at nearly 350 faculties across Europe with 50,000 members. ELSA's aim is to give direct experiences with foreign legal systems and business practices.

ELSA is an international, independent, non-political and non profit-making organisation. It is entirely run by law students and recent graduates with an interest in academic as well as personal excellence in addition to their legal studies. The association's patron since February 2013 has been Mr Thorbjorn Jagland, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.

ESLA's vision is "a just world in which there is respect for human dignity and cultural diversity".

Their purpose is "to contribute to legal education, to foster mutual understanding and to promote social responsibility of law students and young lawyers".

ELSA seeks to achieve this vision and purpose by poviding opportunities for law students and young lawyers to learn about other cultures and legal systems in a spirit of critical dialogue and scientific co-operation; by assisting law students and young lawyers to be internationally minded and professionally skilled; and finally, by encouraging law students and young lawyers to act for the good of society.

Each local or national group creates its own plan of operation in accordance with the overall aims of the association. These groups recruit and train their volunteer executives and market ELSA's programmes to both the academic and business platforms, as well as preparing members for their future professional life.

ELSA has gained consultative status with several of the UN bodies including in Category C of UNESCO (1994), wiith ECOSOC (1997), and UNICITRAL is inviting the student association to participate in some of their sessions. The association was also granted Participatory Status with the Council of Europe in 2000 and a Human Rights Partnership was signed between the two in 2008, further widening the cooperation between ELSA and the Council of Europe.

Its biannual publication, Synergy (first published in 1987), is printed in 10,000 copies and distributed throughout the ELSA network and contains articles written by members, academics and institutions.