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Apply for the
European Lawyers’
Programme 2021

European Lawyers’ Programme 2021 had to be postponed. We hope that the Programme will continue in spring 2023. Registration is closed.

Faculty of Advocates, Edinburgh
September - November 2021
6 November 2020

About the European
Lawyers' Programme

The European Lawyers’ Programme (ELP or Programme) is a unique opportunity for European lawyers to gain practical legal experience in Scotland and build relationships with lawyers across Europe.

The ELP is organised by the Faculty of Advocates (www.advocates.org.uk) and the European Lawyers Association and has run successfully for over 40 years. The Programme enjoys financial support from Vialegis (www.vialegis.be).

The ELP in short

  • The ELP is a two and a half to three months legal placement at the Faculty of Advocates (Scottish bar) in Edinburgh. Scotland is a mixed civil/common law jurisdiction and therefore provides a unique opportunity to learn and understand the law applicable in elsewhere and practice in English.
  • During a two weeks’ induction course, participants are introduced to the basics of the Scottish legal system and receive practical advocacy training.
  • During the rest of the programme, each candidate shadows a Senior Counsel (Queen’s Counsel) as well as one or two Junior Counsel. Shadowing, or “devilling”, means being involved in the daily work of the Advocates (Barristers), including accompanying them to court hearings and consultations as well as doing written work, studying papers and carrying out legal research.
  • In addition, each participant has the privilege to spend time with a Senator of the College of Justice, i.e. a Judge of the Court of Session or the High Court of Justiciary, the highest Scottish civil and criminal courts.
  • The participants will be working in the beautiful Advocates’ Library, where most Advocates work and which is not open to the public.
  • Participants will gain experience in both criminal and civil proceedings before courts and tribunals, including administrative law and commercial law cases.
  • The ELP may include a group trip to a hearing of the UK Supreme Court in London.
  • Besides being a valuable professional experience, the ELP allows participants to discover Scotland and its people, as well as spend time with a small group of European colleagues.
  • After the programme, participants may join the European Lawyers’ Association (ELA), the ELP’s alumni association. The ELA is a network of around 700 lawyers from 28 European countries. ELA board and annual general meetings and conference take place in destinations across Europe and are great occasions to network in a relaxed atmosphere.
  • Some candidates combine the ELP with an LL.M and/or the Aptitude Test with the Law Society of Scotland to qualify as Scottish solicitors.


  • The ELP is offered every year to a group of up to 10 European lawyers, with a maximum of two participants per country.
  • The programme takes place annually from April to the end of June.
  • The ELP is a full-time programme, participants are expected to stay in Edinburgh during the duration of the programme and should not have other work commitments.
  • The ELP is free of charge, thanks to the generous support of the Faculty of Advocates, Vialegis and the ELA.
  • Participants have to cover their own living, travel, insurance and accommodation expenses.

Application requirements

  • Work experience as a European qualified lawyer of at least 2 years.
  • Good English language skills, both written and orally (equivalent to IELTS 7.0 or TOEFL 100).
  • Good qualifications and references.
  • Commitment to participate in the programme on a full-time basis.
  • Eagerness to learn about different legal cultures.
  • Commitment to professional and social interaction with those participating in the ELP and with lawyers in Scotland.

Application process

  • Applications are to be submitted online. Please use the application form on our website and upload all documents indicated in the form. If you have any questions please contact your ELA national representative.
  • Time period for applying is annually from August until the beginning of November. Promising candidates will be interviewed in November by the respective ELA national representative and will be informed of the outcome of the application process before the end of the year.
  • Due to the international Covid-19 pandemic, the Faculty of Advocates and the ELA reserve the right to cancel and/or alter the ELP 2021 upon short notice if this is required for reasons of public health. In particular, certain modules of the ELP 2021 may be conducted online.


“Participation in the ELA Programme in Edinburgh was one of the most valuable (and the most fun) experiences in my legal career. Not only that you learn a lot about Scottish legal system, but you also get an insight into the legal systems of other European countries from other participants. I found that to be very helpful in my everyday work with clients from different countries. Moreover, comparison with other legal systems gave me a wider perspective of Croatian legal solutions and reasoning behind such solutions. Finally, the Programme is a great opportunity for networking with other participants, advocates, judges and later with the ELA members. Through it, I met fascinating legal experts and extraordinary fun people from all over the Europe, and the most importantly I gained some close friendships for life.”

Franka Baica (Croatia)

“Joining the European Lawyers Programme in Edinburgh gave me a unique opportunity to meet and work with other young lawyers from across Europe. Moreover, I learned from very talented advocates and judges in a common-law jurisdiction. Participating in the course also contributed to my international network. Until this day I benefit from my wonderful experience in Edinburgh, both on a personal and professional level!”

Stan van Liere (Holland)