For a brief history of the CCBE, please click here.
To view the main objectives of the CCBE, please click here.
A president and three vice presidents are elected for one-year terms. The President, or, in his/her absence, the First, the Second or the Third Vice-President, directs the association, presides over its meetings and represents it in its dealings with third parties. The President may establish such working groups and committees as he/she considers useful.
The full members are grouped in national delegations, each of which is composed of a maximum of 6 individuals. Each delegation nominates a Head of delegation whose nomination is notified in writing to the Secretary-General. Each delegation also nominates an Information Officer who is responsible for all communications between his/her delegation and the other delegations and with the Secretariat.
The Standing Committee is the executive body of the CCBE. It is made up of national delegations and is presided over by the president. It makes policy decisions and meets around five times a year. All meetings of the Standing Committee are convened and chaired by the President (or in his or her absence, by the First, Second or Third Vice-President).
The general assembly, called the "Plenary Session," is convened by and under the chairmanship of the President, and is attended by all members of the national delegations. Plenary Sessions are held twice a year, and the most important issues are referred to them by the Standing Committee for approval. Each delegation has a number of indivisible votes, allocated in Article VIII of the Statutes of the CCBE.
There is a full-time Secretary General, appointed by the Standing Committee, who manages the day-to-day affairs of the organisation through a secretariat based in Brussels. The Secretary-General undertakes the daily management of the CCBE under the supervision of the President and the Vice-Presidents, and represents the CCBE before the European Institutions and internationally. The secretariat is in charge of coordinating the work of the committees.
Specialist committees and working groups made up of nominees and experts from the delegations research and report on areas affecting the European legal profession. Topics include lawyers’ ethics, competition as it affects the legal profession, the free movement of lawyers, training of lawyers, international trade in legal services, and human rights.
The committees meet on an as needed basis. For example, if the Commission has an initiative that impacts the legal profession or the users of legal services, the relevant committee meets to decide whether the CCBE should respond to that initiative or not. If the committee decides to respond, it will write a CCBE position paper. These papers cover such disparate issues as competition, the core values of the profession, and organised crime. The committee then sends the position paper to the Standing Committee. The Delegations give their views, and if they agree with the position it is adopted and sent to the Commission. For some important issues, like training or deontology, the Plenary Session needs to approve the position. In this case it is adopted by the Standing Committee and then goes to the Plenary Session for final approval. The Standing Committee can request the relevant committee to redraft the position in order to add substantive points.
Alonso Hernández Pinzón
Director, External Liaison