Sharpston joins ECJ as first female Advocate General

Hailsham Chambers’ joint head Eleanor Sharpston QC has been appointed as the UK’s first female Advocate General to the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

Sharpston was chosen after an open competition for the post. Her selection was approved by common accord of all European member states.

She replaces Francis Jacobs, who retires in December.

The ECJ has eight Advocates General, who give opinions prior to the court’s final judgment. As a general rule the court will follow the opinion, but it is not bound by it. Each advocate sits for a renewable term of six years.

According to the ECJ, Advocates General “are chosen from legal experts whose independence is beyond doubt and who possess the qualifications required for appointment to the highest judicial offices in their respective countries or who are of recognised competence”.