The leaders of Ukrainian law schools, with the support of the USAID New Justice Program, took part in the annual events of the European Association of Law Schools (ELFA). Vice-Rector of the Yaroslav Mudry National Law University Yuri Barabash delivered at the Integration and Diversity in European Legal Education Conference presentation dealt with challenges in academic career during the legal education reform in Ukraine, while Director of the Law School of the Ukrainian Catholic University Ivan Horodyskyi, learned about ELFA activities for the purpose of potential membership. Contacts were established for the development of cooperation on implementation of ELFA initiatives and projects in Ukraine with the assistance of the USAID New Justice Program.
The event took place on April 11 and 12 at the Turin University campus (Italy). Participants of the conference – law school administrators and leaders in legal education from Europe and the USA – exchanged views and shared their vision of training lawyers to enhance their social role in their own states and societies through new knowledge and skills.
The goal of ELFA members is to turn law schools into schools of excellence, which train their students to protect the rights and ensure compliance with the law in all matters. For the European educational system, it is important to promote pluralism, respect for law acts and the rule of law.
ELFA President Professor Michele Graziadei said that in a mutually interconnected and interdependent world, cooperation is very important, students should have the opportunity to be in a familiar and friendly learning environment, regardless of the country where they are being educated. Italian law students learn comparative legal systems and transnational context as early as the second year of their study. The President of the European University Institute (Florence) Professor Renaud Dehousse is convinced that European integration requires lawyers of a new way of thinking, since the law is a key element of integration processes, and integration starts with the adoption of common rules, good contracts and the system for their implementation.
Each year the ELFA members present and discuss the latest trends and problems in legal education and profession. This year the plenary sessions were devoted to discussing the issues of the application of comparative law by the highest courts of European countries (Germany, France, Court of Justice (Luxembourg)), academic careers in a changing environment, transatlantic data flows and privacy protection of relevant data.
Interesting for the implementation in Ukraine is the European professional initiative aimed at creating a center for the development of mechanisms contributing to further Europeanization of the legal profession. ELFA launched the European Jurist Project, under which the universities and practitioners work on defining the essence of European lawyers who must be prepared to address the issues of legal diversity, openness and cosmopolitanism in order to protect European values – human dignity and the rule of law.
Participation in the event provided an opportunity for representatives of Ukrainian law schools from among the USAID New Justice Program partners to establish contacts and communicate with colleagues from other countries for the purpose of further cooperation in the area of modernization of legal education in Ukraine.