The UEHJ represented by Marc Schmitz, President and Patrick Gielen, secretary of the UIHJ board participated at the 2nd EU Forum of the legal professions in Brussels. The topic of this event, organized by ERA, was “The Media and the Legal Professions, Trust in the Judiciary Requires Trust in the Media, Enhancing Cooperation between Two Pillars of Democratic States”.


About the Forum

The EU Forum of the Legal Professions is an initiative that aims to launch a structured dialogue among the representations of legal professions in Europe, where common challenges and concerns can be addressed and analysed, and a joint position can be formulated.

It can be considered as an inter-professional platform of exchange, a collaborative and evolving project between the legal professions, where the Academy of European Law plays the role of a facilitator. The aim is to organise an event every year, where the latest trends and most relevant issues of common interest can be discussed by the members of the Forum.


Beside the UEHJ, the following stakeholders took part in this event: 

The European Network of Councils for the Judiciary (ENCJ) unites the national institutions in the Member States of the European Union which are independent of the executive and legislature, and which are responsible for the support of the Judiciaries in the independent delivery of justice.

The Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE), founded in 1960, is an international non-profit association which has been, since its creation, at the forefront of advancing the views of European lawyers and defending the legal principles upon which democracy and the rule of law are based.

The European Association of Judges (EAJ) is one of the four regional groups of the International Association of Judges. The IAJ was founded in Salzburg (Austria) in 1953. It is a professional, non-political, international organisation, bringing together national associations of judges, not individual judges, approved by the Central Council for admission to the Association.

The Association of European Administrative Judges (AEAJ) is an organisation founded in the year 2000. Its membership comprises national associations, representing administrative judges from Member States of the European Union and the Council of Europe and individual members, being administrative judges from those countries in which such associations do not exist.

ACA-Europe is a European association composed of the Court of Justice of the European Union as well as the Councils of State and the supreme administrative jurisdictions of each of the members of the European Union.

The Network of the Presidents of the Supreme Judicial Courts of the Member States was formed in 2004. It provides a forum through which European institutions are given an opportunity to request the opinions of Supreme Courts and to bring them closer by encouraging discussion and the exchange of ideas.

The European Union of Rechtspfleger (EUR) is an association of 14 professional organisations from 13 states of the European Union. The objective is to improve the effectiveness and proximity of justice and to harmonise legal systems. For this purpose, the EUR has developed a model of a European profession, which is based on the professions of Rechtspfleger that were originally created in Germany and Austria.


The keynote speaker and the discussions in the roundtables covered the following topics:

  • Public confidence in the image of justice and the legal professions
  • What are best practices to improve the relationship between legal professionals and journalists?
  • What roles do legal professionals and journalists have in public education? How to shape the attitude of the future generation?
  • Responsible reporting from the courtroom
  • The common destiny of journalists and legal professionals in a rule of law crisis
  • What effect will digitalisation have on journalism?
  • How can legal professionals interact with the public at institutional and individual levels and what are the limitations?
  • How can the media shape the public appearance of the legal professions?
  • How to attract people on legal topics?
  • Is there an effective alternative way of communication to protect journalists and the legal professions from political pressure?

Patrick Gielen was a panelist in the last roundtable about the common interests of journalists and legal professionals in a rule-of-law crisis, perfectly moderated by Lars Boering, director of the European Journalism Centre.

Patrick Gielen pointed out the challenges which judicial officers encounter in the relation with the media and by putting forward the importance to deliver the right message.The building of public trust is more important than ever!