EC sets deadline for home title rules

THE OFFICIAL text of the European Commission's draft directive on rights for lawyers practising in other member states shows the commission hopes to put new rules in place by the end of 1996.

However, legal commentators claim the date is too ambitious, and it is unlikely that establishment will be regulated for some time.

The draft, released at the end of March, says member states “shall bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions” necessary to comply with the directive by 31 December 1996.

But the Law Society's international director Hamish Adamson says implementation normally follows adoption by 18 months, and there is little indication that the proposals will be passed by June. He says the commission had originally envisaged adopting the draft in March next year, “and that's pretty optimistic”.

Adamson says the Council of Bars and Law Societies of the European Union, which has not agreed a common opinion on the draft, will soon brief European institutions on the majority position on establishment under home title.

The Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament is to consider the draft and give its opinion. The Council of Ministers will also look at the proposals before releasing a joint decision with the Parliament.

“An optimistic timetable would be adoption of the directive in summer 1996, with implementation following at the end of 1997,” says Adamson.