2019 ELI Annual Conference and Meetings in Vienna: The ELI Continues to grow from Strength to Strength in its Mission of Bringing Together Legal Experts to Improve European Law


On the occasion of its Annual Conference and Meetings that took place from 4–6 September 2019 in Vienna, the ELI once again provided a forum for lawyers, judges, notaries, academics and other legal professionals from cross Europe and beyond to discuss concrete solutions on how to improve European law for the benefit of European citizens and companies.

This year’s ELI Annual Conference and Meetings took place in Vienna from 4–6 September 2019. In the span of three days, nearly 400 legal experts from Europe and beyond attended the Conference to discuss current topics geared at improving the law across Europe.


With 15 panels, 17 meetings and over 91 panellists, the 2019 ELI Annual Conference provided a platform for discussions on a vast variety of legal topics ranging from data economy to artificial intelligence and from common constitutional traditions in Europe to the protection of the adults in international situations. Click here to download the Conference Brochure.


On the first day of the Conference, ELI President Christiane Wendehorst emphasised in her opening speech that projects presented during the Conference are the heart of the ELI’s work and that they are decisive for the impact that the ELI can have on the development and improvement of European law.


Vice-Rector for Research and International Affairs, Jean-Robert Tyran, who stood in for University of Vienna Rector Heinz Werner, highlighted his appreciation of ELI’s uniqueness in that its projects cover all areas of European law and are not merely academic in nature, but aim to be practical recommendations and guidelines for European legislators.


Dean of the Faculty of Law of the University of Vienna, Paul Oberhammer, highlighted the University of Vienna’s role in hosting ELI and the Conference in Vienna. Oberhammer juxtaposed the University of Vienna’s status as the oldest University in the German-speaking world with ELI’s approach to embarking on frontier research projects. In highlighting the symbiosis between legal history and progress in law as necessary, Oberhammer concluded that the ELI is doing a notable work in preparing the law and legislators for the future.


This year the ELI also had the great honour of being hosted by the Austria Ministry of Justice and Vice-Chancellor and Federal Minister for Constitutional Affairs, Reforms, Deregulation and Justice, Clemens Jabloner, for the opening reception in Palais Trautson. Among other things, the ELI Young Lawyers Award (YLA) and Hub and Special Interest Group (SIG) of the year award ceremonies were held. Congratulations are due to Luigi Buonanno, the third winner of the YLA 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.’ The ELI also wishes to congratulate the Italian and Spanish Hubs as well as the Digital Law SIG for being exemplary in the manner their Hubs and SIGs conduct themselves and for winning the first such awards.


Among other things, a much-acclaimed keynote speech was delivered by UNCITRAL Secretary, Anna Joubin-Bret on the second day of the Conference. In it, Joubin-Bret greatly emphasised the longstanding relationship between the ELI and UNCITRAL as well as our shared principles. On day two, members of the ELI enjoyed a gala dinner as Vienna’s Sacher hotel.


Day three was dedicated to the work of ELI Hubs and SIGs and featured panels, among others by the Italian Hub and Digital Law SIG. The conference was drawn to an end with a social dinner, at the oldest restaurant in Vienna, the Pfarrwirt.


This year’s ELI Annual Conference and Meetings was especially notable in light of the ELI’s Council and Executive Committee elections. The ELI’s Fellows elected 28 new Council members and the newly composed ELI Council went on to elect a new Executive Committee, consisting of the President (Christiane Wendehorst), two Vice-Presidents (Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd and Pascal Pichonnaz), the Treasurer (Denis Philippe) and three innominate members (Anne Birgitte Gammeljord, Pietro Sirena and Fryderyk Zoll). We would like to congratulate the newly elected ELI Council and Executive Committee members and once again to thank all outgoing Council and Executive Committee members for their noteworthy contribution to the Institute over the years.