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European Court of Justice

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Toni86
Joined: 24 Jul 2008
Posts: 30
European Court of Justice
Tue Dec 23, 2008 01:06 PM
Hi everybody!

If I want to become a JUDGE at the European Court of Justice, what LL.M. what you advise me? :-D

Thank you for your answers!
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OpinioJuris
Joined: 16 Dec 2008
Posts: 170
European Court of Justice
Sun Dec 28, 2008 10:53 AM
Perhaps it would be wiser to take your LLM degree in EU Law from a European law school if you intend to become a judge at the European Court of Justice. Look for law schools that specialise in EU Law, or specifically in European Human Rights Law, EU Trade Law. European law schools would tend to specialise in these areas and prepare one to assume responsibilities within the EU, including that of the European Court of Justice.
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Ralph Wiggum

Joined: 23 Apr 2006
Posts: 171
European Court of Justice
Sun Dec 28, 2008 11:27 AM
I would recommend to take a closer look at the European University Insitute (EUI) near Florence, Italy, and its LL.M.-program.

Due to the very limited number of students it's surely hard to get accepted there. It is, however, a highly respected institution (particularly among academics from Europe and also from the US) that is, allegedly, situated in extremely beautiful premises and surroundings. Famous professors teach at EUI. For EU/EC law, I think EUI's LL.M.-program belongs to the most prestigious courses you can do.

Besides EUI, also Oxford's MJur and Cambridge's LL.M. won't harm your career either.

[Edited by Ralph Wiggum on 28 Dec 2008]

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jonesmichael3.

Joined: 13 Mar 2008
Posts: 6
European Court of Justice
Fri Jan 02, 2009 08:00 AM
an LL.M at the European College in Brugge (Brügge) in Belgium might be a possibilty...
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RogueAcademic
Joined: 08 Sep 2007
Posts: 14
European Court of Justice
Fri Jan 02, 2009 09:38 AM
For EU/EC law, I think EUI's LL.M.-program belongs to the most prestigious courses you can do.

Besides EUI, also Oxford's MJur and Cambridge's LL.M. won't harm your career either.


Coming from a science background where doctoral-level studies is the only way to go for career advancement, I've always wondered why the PhD or the more law-specific SJD doesn't seem to hold the same value in the legal field. When you speak of the LLM, are you talking about coursework LLM or research LLM?

[Edited by RogueAcademic on 02 Jan 2009]

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OpinioJuris
Joined: 16 Dec 2008
Posts: 170
European Court of Justice
Fri Jan 02, 2009 03:55 PM
Most LLM Programmes are coursework-based. There are quite a few research LLMs, often referred to as MPhils in the U.K. Stanford has a research LLM which they call the JSM (Juris Scientia Magister or Master of Juridical Science) to differentiate it from its coursework LLM programme.

A person who studies law and intends to practice his profession only requires the JD (BA in Law, LLB, Licenciado en Derecho, in other jurisdictions). The JD (Juris Doctor) is a professional doctorate in law which enables one to qualify and practice law in a particular jurisdiction.

The SJD, on the other hand, is an academic doctorate in law (Scientia Juris Doctor or Doctor of Juridical Science) which is intended for those law graduates to engage in legal scholarship (law research). It is the highest academic degree available to graduates of the JD (or the equivalent law degree from other jurisdictions). The LLM is the usual path by which a lawyer may register for the SJD programme, although it is not necessary for a lawyer to earn an LLM prior to entering the SJD programme. Some JDs (or LLBs) may choose to go straight to the SJD programme.

[Edited by OpinioJuris on 03 Jan 2009]

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RogueAcademic
Joined: 08 Sep 2007
Posts: 14
European Court of Justice
Sat Jan 03, 2009 05:19 AM
I understand all that OpinioJuris but my question was and still is: 'Why doesn't the PhD or SJD hold the same value for career advancement in the legal field'. I see that neither is mentioned in the posts above at all. I can only assume that LLMs spoken of above are coursework LLMs.
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OpinioJuris
Joined: 16 Dec 2008
Posts: 170
European Court of Justice
Sat Jan 03, 2009 08:12 AM
The paradox is that the SJD, and for that matter the LLM, earned in U.S. law schools, have more value for career advancement in law OUTSIDE the United States. My impression is that the LLM and SJD are perceived to be "foreigner" degrees as opposed to the JD, which is perceived to be an "American" degree providing for training in the common law. Being an "American" degree, the JD is "preferred" as the main qualification for entry into a U.S. law firm or as a professor in an U.S. law school.

Most of the LLMs and SJDs who are "foreigners" are "expected" to go back to their respective countries upon completion of their degree. Armed with their LLMs and SJDs, most advance to the higher echelons of the legal profession, whether as law firm partners, law professors, legal scholars, judges, justices, senators or even CEOs of corporations.

A prime example of a Briish law graduate who pursued her doctorate in the U.S. is Lady Rosalyn Higgins, President of the International Court of Justice and internationally-recognized authority on international human rights law, who earned her JSD from Yale Law School. Prior to her election to the International Court of Justice, Lady Higgins was a renowned professor of international law at the London School of Economics.

If you read the roster of LLM and SJD students at the leading U.S. law schools, you will notice that at least 90% are from countries outside the United States. Only about 10% come from the United States.

Another impression is that legal training from the JD to the SJD require an individual to do legal research. The research done by the JDs is in a subject of the common law (most of the states in the U.S. are common law jurisdictions). As can be gleaned, the practice and the teaching of law revolves around the common law system of the U.S. Research undertaken by the JDs are of more value to U.S. law firms and law schools than those undertaken by lawyers who may not have prior training in the common law (most LLMs and SJDs come from civil law jurisdictions, except those from the United Kingdom and the British Commonwealth, which share the common law tradition with the United States).

The LLMs and SJDs, in addition to what has been discussed, often pursue research in the international aspects of the law, whether in commercial law, taxation or human rights for employment in international organizations or institutions found in their home countries. More often than not, the topic of the masteral thesis or the doctoral dissertation would not involve a common law topic, but rather, a topic which necessarily includes the specific research interest of the graduate student, discussing national and international legal issues which may be of greater relevance to one's home country than to the United States. Furthermore, an SJD dissertation tends to highlight the differences in various legal systems from a number of jurisdictions.

Note that even in U.S. foreign policy the "generally-accepted principles of international law" are not even recognized as binding on the United States before the turn of the 20th century. It has only been in recent U.S. Supreme Court jurisprudence that principles in international law (specifically, international human rights and international humanitarian law) have been recognized as "part of American law."

Call it "perception", "culture", "tradition", "state practice" or some other term, your guess is just as good as mine. Generally, this has been the "practice and reality" in the United States, but not in other countries.

[Edited by OpinioJuris on 03 Jan 2009]

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guillome
Joined: 02 Jan 2009
Posts: 1
European Court of Justice
Sat Jan 03, 2009 10:25 AM
Dear Tony86

well becoming a judge at the ECJ is not only a question of background but also a consensus one. indeed there are appointed -yes appointed-...see the end of this answer to see the rule applyong to elect an ECJ judge
there are usually two ways to obtain such a position : (i) being a successfull judge in your country then recommended by your member state or (ii) after being a really well regarded referendaire at the ECJ which is very prestigious but hard to get.
Anyway most f the judges or referendaires that I know made Harvard but it is not the only LLM program they made. But of course it has to be made after having a very strong background -euphemism- in European law (college e Bruges, King's college, University of Firenze...)
just to let you know how to become a judge:
"The Court of Justice is composed of 27 Judges and eight Advocates General. The Judges and Advocates General are appointed by common accord by the governments of the Member States for a renewable term of six years. They are chosen from among lawyers whose independence is beyond doubt and who possess the qualifications required for appointment, in their respective countries, to the highest judicial offices, or who are of recognised competence."
hope my answer has been useful
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OpinioJuris
Joined: 16 Dec 2008
Posts: 170
European Court of Justice
Sat Jan 10, 2009 02:31 AM
Leiden, Utrecht and Louvain would also be good universities to consider if you intend to specialise in EU Law. Hope this helps.
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