THE COUNCIL of Bars and Law Societies of the European Union was due to continue its debate on rights of establishment at a meeting in Brussels last weekend.
Speaking prior to the meeting the Law Society's international director Hamish Adamson said it was impossible to predict its outcome.
However, a report released by the society's international committee last month says the CCBE presidency “is anxious to establish a common position on behalf of the European legal profession as a whole before the legislative progress of the draft directive begins”.
Adamson says a CCBE gathering held in Vienna at the end of February had again failed to agree a common view on the subject, and opinion among members still varies widely.
“We're still working with an unofficial text of the commission's proposal because it has not actually been published yet as a directive,” says Adamson.
“It is imminent but, in the meantime, the CCBE has been discussing it and considering whether it is possible to have a common position on it. This hasn't happened yet, but there will be further discussion.”
Adamson said the meeting would cover three options – adopting a similar draft to the commission's proposal, returning to the original format of the CCBE draft, or opposing the directive in its entirety.
At present the commission draft suggests lawyers be subject to compulsory integration after five years. However, many member states favour a permanent right of establishment under home title with voluntary integration.
The Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament is likely to discuss establishment with Commissioner Monti, European commissioner responsible for the internal market, at its meeting this month.