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THE EUROPEAN Commission has expressed provisional support for plans to educate UK lawyers in European law.
Directorate General 15, the commission body responsible for the internal market, last week told the Law Society that it agreed with the objectives of the Solicitors Diploma in European Law, which is expected to start in some teaching institutions in September.
A survey carried out last year showed many lawyers practising in member states believed that they were lacking in knowledge of EU law and a number of them found it difficult to obtain information on the subject.
The commission's strategic programme for the internal market has also identified the need to put better training for lawyers in community law and a greater dissemination of EU information on its list of priorities.
Solicitors undertaking the diploma will receive tuition in a number of subject areas including employment law, competition law, the impact of community law and how it can be invoked in the national courts, the four freedoms and the relationship between community law and national law.
The Law Societies Brussels representative Patrick Oliver says the support for the diploma coming from Brussels is further evidence of the "excellent partnership" between the society and the commission.
"The support of the European Commission will give the diploma an extra cachet," says Oliver.
"It shows that the Law Society is in tandem with thinking in the European Commission and that it is definitely at the forefront in ensuring that the solicitors profession is learning about European law and European developments.
"To my knowledge the UK is the first country to develop this sort of thing. It's a pioneering project."