Heading for the THEMIS 2019 Grand Final!

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

  • The 2019 Grand Final of EJTN’s celebrated THEMIS competition is coming up in early October this year!
  • 2019 has been a spectacular year for the THEMIS competition – attracting 33 teams and over 130 participants.
  • EJTN will launch a unique international publication for the judiciary – the THEMIS Annual Journal.

From the 33 teams that competed in the 4 EJTN THEMIS Semi-Final rounds earlier this year, the best 8 teams will have the opportunity to debate and deliver a stellar performance 8-11 October in Bordeaux at EJTN’s 13th THEMIS Grand Final competition. The competition will take place at the French National School for the Judiciary (École Nationale de la Magistrature, ENM) in Bordeaux and the Awards Ceremony will be held at the Court of Appeal of Bordeaux afterward.

In the city of art and history, the competing teams will have to perform in front of the best European experts in the field of human rights: Dr Françoise Tulkens, Former Vice-President and former judge elected in respect of Belgium to the European Court of Human Rights; Mr Marc De Werd, Senior Justice at the Amsterdam Appeal Court and law professor at the University of Amsterdam; Ms Jana Gajdošová, Programme Manager at the Research & Data Unit (European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, FRA); Mr Grzegorz Borkowski, judge, international legal expert, former Head of Office of the National Council of the Judiciary of Poland; and, Ms Edith Zeller, Judge at the Administrative Court of Vienna and President of the Association of European Administrative Judges (AEAJ).

THEMIS Grand Final jury members

This year’s THEMIS Grand Final has been organised together with the EJTN partners of the European Court for Human Rights and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, FRA. The Grand Final will also present the opportunity to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the launching of the THEMIS 2019 Annual Journal. The keynote speakers will be Mr Michael O’Flaherty, Director of FRA and Mr Emmanuel Crabit, Director of the Directorate for Fundamental Rights and Rule of Law of the European Commission.

EJTN decided to launch a unique international publication for the judiciary, which will be published annually. The THEMIS 2019 Annual Journal, available in electronic and print formats, will showcase contemporary topics within the EU judicial sphere and highlight the THEMIS teams’ original approaches to dealing with current judicial issues. The publication will also include contributions from THEMIS Semi-Final jury members and the full written papers of those competing teams selected for special merit.

The competition will include an on-the-spot written assignment based on the case dealing with the topic of “access to justice”. The subsequent debates over the next two days will include pairs of teams adopting an opposing view to the human rights case issues.

The winning team of the THEMIS 2019 Grand Final will receive a one-week study visit of their choice organised and financed by EJTN.

Overview of the THEMIS Semi-Final competitions in 2019

Semi-Final A: EU and EU Criminal Procedure
The Hungarian Academy of Justice in Budapest was the setting of the first 2019 THEMIS Semi-Final competition, which was held 23-26 April 2019. Over 4 days, 8 teams from across Europe defended their written papers and debated challenging issues with fellow team members as well as the assembled jury members. EJTN had the honor of having distinguished members of the jury to assess the competing teams: Mr. David Dickson, Head of Extradition from the Scottish Prosecution Service; Ms. Christine Gödl, judge at the Austrian Federal Ministry; and, Mr. Nicolas Pérez-Serrano De Ramón, Prosecutor from the Ministry of Justice of Spain. The jury awarded first place to Team Italy, second place to Team France and third place to Team Denmark. Select written papers will be included in the upcoming THEMIS 2019 Annual Journal and these will be from Team Italy and Team Hungary. The Hungarian Academy of Justice gave Team Albania a special award for the best presentation.

Semi-Final B: EU and European Family Law
The National School of Judiciary in Thessaloniki hosted the second Semi-Final, which was held 7-9 May 2019. 7 teams defended their written papers and presented interesting new cases in the field of EU family law. The jury members were Mr. Petros Alikakos, judge and trainer at the Greek National School of Judiciary, Ms. Maarja Torga, Judicial Advisor at the Estonian Supreme Court and Ms. Adrienn Várai-Jeges, judge and trainer at the Hungarian Academy of Justice. The jury awarded first place to Team Czech Republic, second place to Team Romania and third place to Team Portugal II. A special award for the best presentation was awarded to Team Italy. Written papers to be included in the THEMIS 2019 Annual Journal will be from Team Czech Republic, Team Romania and Team Italy.

Semi-Final C: EU and International Cooperation in Civil Matters
The third Semi-Final was held 11-13 June 2019 at the  School of the Judiciary in Scandicci, Italy. 17 teams defended their written papers and debated the topic of the EU Civil procedure with other colleagues and the members of the jury. The Members of the jury were Ms Haldi Koit, Advisor at the Ministry of Justice of Estonia and lecturer in private international law, Mr Carlos Marinho, Court of Appeal Judge and Senior Expert in EU law and Mr Goran Selanec, Justice of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia. The jury awarded first place to Team Romania, second place to Team Germany and third place to Team France.  Written papers to be included in the upcoming THEMIS 2019 Annual Journal will be from Team Romania and Team Germany.

Semi-Final D: Judicial Ethics and Professional Conduct
The last THEMIS Semi-Final of 2019 was held 2-5 July 2019 at the National Institute of Justice in Sofia, Bulgaria. 11 teams raised the bar very high with their dynamic and interactive presentations. The jury members were Mr Jeremy Cooper, professor, retired judge and consultant to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC, Ms Tamara Trotman, judge, Court of Appeal of The Hague and President of the Judges for Judges Foundation and Mr Lauris Liepa, lawyer, author and lecturer at the Faculty of Law at the University of Latvia and the Riga Graduate School of Law. Congratulations to Team Hungary and Team Finland for both equally winning first place and to Team Italy II for winning third place. A special ward of the jury was given to Team Bulgaria. Bulgaria’s National Institute of Justice awarded a prize for the best presentation to Team Hungary. Written papers to be included in the upcoming THEMIS 2019 Annual Journal will be from Team Austria, Team France and Team Portugal I.

For well over a decade now, EJTN has proudly supported the THEMIS competition, which continues to provide a genuine skills-enhancing experience for future EU magistrates.

The main aim of the THEMIS competition is to bring together future magistrates from different European countries at a time when they are undergoing entry level training to enable them to share common values and to exchange new experiences and discuss new perspectives in areas of common interest.

The project also aims to develop abilities related to the future profession of the participants, such as communication skills, debating abilities, critical and analytical thinking, logical reasoning and proper legal writing. Furthermore, THEMIS is intended to foster the development of professional contacts, experiences and relationships between both the entry-level trainees in magistracy and their teaching staff.