Being awarded the Best Speaker Prize at the CEEMC does not only mean one gets to carry the coveted title of Best Speaker. It comes with an amazing prize – a short stage at the CJEU.
In 2013, I entered the competition as a member of University of Ljubljana team, and was honored to be awarded, along with Tamar Jikia from Free University of Tbilisi, the Best Speaker Prize. Consequently, in October 2013, we both left for a week long stage in Luxembourg.
We were visiting different cabinets, namely Tamar went to the Cabinet of Advocate General Eleanor Sharpston and I was assigned to the Cabinet of Judge Arabadjiev.
Neza: My mentor during this short stage was Dr. Alexandre Kornezov, who is a Legal Secretary in the Cabinet of judge Arabadjiev and also a judge at the CEEMC. Mr Kornezov was very welcoming and after a short discussion about my visit I was already given my task for the week. Since I did not exactly know what to expect from such a short stage, I was glad to see that the assigned task will enable me to get a little bit of insight into the work at the CJEU. Namely, I was asked to conduct research on academic views regarding Article 263 (4) TFEU and also to form my own opinion on the possible meaning of that particular article. I was excited to do the work as it is a very interesting and current issue. I was mainly doing my research in the library of the CJEU where I had access to a really large collection of publications. I was working from approximately 9 AM to 6 PM which might sounds a lot but it goes by really quickly. During and especially at the end of the week I discussed my opinions with Mr Kornezov who gave me some really useful feedback. I believe these discussions were the most valuable part of the experience for me, since I learned a lot not only about the particular issue but also about the right approach to work and research.
During the short stage I was lucky enough to meet with Judge Arabadjiev, Bulgarian judge at the Court of Justice, who has given me some useful advice regarding career possibilities at the Court. Also, I had the opportunity to have a conversation with Judge Prek, Slovenian judge at the General Court and Nina Savin Bossiere, Legal Secretary in the Cabinet of judge Prek. They briefly introduced me to the work at the General Court and shared some of their valuable experiences with me. Additionally, I was able to visit Živa Nendl, Legal Secretary in the Cabinet of judge Ilešič, who really took a lot of her time to familiarize me with the procedures at the Court. Meeting all of the aforementioned people was a great and unique opportunity and I want to thank all of them for taking their time to meet me and for making me feel really welcome.
A very valuable and interesting part of the experience was also meeting the interns at the CJEU. They are a fun and diverse group and we got along very well. Not only did they share their experience at the Court with me, they also included me and Tamar into their post work activities, allowing us to get to know the city of Luxembourg as well. Their enthusiasm and drive has definitely rubbed off on me and I sincerely hope I will be able to do a longer internship at the CJEU in the future.
Tamar: I was visiting the Cabinet of Mrs. Eleanor Sharpston, who is Advocate General at the CJEU and a judge at CEEMC. Her secretary Mrs. Isabella Wimmer was the first one to welcome me at the Court. She helped me to get familiarized with the Court and she introduced to the Referendaires of Mrs. Sharpston. Mr. Alan Baillie and Mrs. Isabelle Van Damme explained how the team works and told me about the most important pending cases. I was given opportunity to choose a case that was the most interesting to me and I was given a task to write my comments on the opinion of the team. At first, it seemed impossible to write constructive criticism on the opinion that was written by professionals. However, all of the Referendaires were helpful, they were ready to answer my questions and challenged me to learn more about the issue.
During my short stay, I was lucky enough to meet Mrs. Eleanor Sharpston. Our conversation about our profession, mooting skills, my life, my country and EU is a memory that will last for a lifetime. Mrs. Sharpston’s devotion to her job and her words motivated me to work even harder. I also attended Cabinet’s weekly meeting where the team of Mrs. Sharpston discussed cases in progress. Mrs. Sharpston, Referendaires and Mrs. Isabella Wimmer made my experience at the CJEU unforgettable.
One of the interesting part of our visit was the fact that I and Neza met interns of the Court who came to Luxembourg from all over the world. We hung out with them after long working hours in the pubs and cafes of Luxembourg. They shared their knowledge and experience and made me eager to learn more and more about European Union law.
My short visit at the CJEU was life-changing for one more reason. I am from Georgia, the country that is willing to become part of EU in the nearest future. This short visit at the CJEU made me analyze what steps should my country take and what part I, as a future lawyer, could play in this process.
My stay in Luxembourg was amazing in many ways. I want to thank all of the people that made it possible for me to visit the Court and the Cabinet of Mrs. Eleanor Sharpston for welcoming me as a part of their unique team.
All in all, a short stage at the CJEU was a fantastic experience. We strongly recommend to all future mooties to practice their speeches as it is definitely worth it. Last but not least, we would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the involved one more time, especially Mr Kornezov and Advocate General Sharpston. Also, many thanks to Denise Ashmore for helping us with all the necessary arrangements for the visit, and to organisers and sponsors of the CEEMC for giving us this remarkable opportunity.