The French government has been censured by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for failing to write into its national laws an EU directive that would make it easier for lawyers to work across the EU
Directive 98/5/EC ('On the practice of the profession of lawyer on a permanent basis in a Member State other than that in which the qualification was acquired') imposes duties on national governments to register foreign EU lawyers and allow them to work in their territories. The French government has lagged behind in liberalising its rules and was the subject of a European Commission bid to ask the ECJ to order it to comply. This has now happened, with the ECJ ruling that Paris had "failed to fulfil its obligations". It was also told to pay costs. France now claims that it is in the process of transposing the directive into national law and the ECJ noted its claims that some French bars have already started to apply the provisions of the directive.