Rights of establishment challenged

The European Commission is under pressure to do a U-turn on rights of establishment after a report by MEP Nicole Fontaine.

The leaked draft report called for the removal of the controversial five-year limitation period giving lawyers a permanent right of establishment under home title.

The limitation period is supported by the French delegation of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of the EU (CCBE) and the commission. The draft provides for easier integration into the host state profession.

However, in a victory for the CCBE, it gives ultimate discretion to the host state on whether to admit a lawyer.

The report was commissioned by the European Parliament and will be discussed by the legal affairs committee on 29 January, when MEPs will fix a deadline for tabling amendments.

Patrick Oliver, Brussels representative of the Law Society of England and Wales, said while the report was still only a “draft”, it was a “big and very pleasing development”. He said the draft's stance on a temporary limitation period made it likely the commission would change its mind, he added.