Obstacles to the Implementation of the Treaty of Rome Provisions for Transnational Legal Practice

This note argues that the Treaty of Rome has had, and will continue to have, little impact on legal practitioners within the European Community. Part I examines Community barriers to transnational legal practice among the EC nations. It looks first at the history and shortcomings of the 1977 Directive on Freedom of Lawyers to Provide Services. It then describes the effect of the failure of the Council of the European Community to enact a directive mandating mutual recognition of legal degrees. It concludes that neither the Council nor the European Court of Justice is likely to eliminate existing Community-wide barriers to practice. Part II analyzes national barriers to the transnational practice of law within the EC. It argues that differences in the law, the function of legal practitioners, and the official languages of the Member States, make it unlikely that lawyers within the EC will ever enjoy the right of establishment and the freedom to provide services envisioned in the Treaty of Rome.