Livia reflects on her week in Luxembourg at the Lobbying & Litigation module

Dec 3 2018

by Livia Lima

In November we met again, this time in Luxemburg, for the last module of 2018. It is always nice to see my classmates, who began with me on the 1st module, as well as meeting new people, who started in the previous years. For me personally, this was one of my favorite modules and I am sure the participants with the same background as mine, also had the same impression. I could describe it as exciting, challenging and an interesting module, both for lawyers and especially for the non-lawyers. The topic of the week was "Litigation and Lobbying". The choice of the venue could not have been better, as Luxemburg is the home of the Court of Justice of the European Union responsible for ensuring that the EU law is interpreted and applied the same in every EU country, ensuring countries and EU institutions abide by the EU law. Besides that, we could enjoy the Christmas atmosphere in this lovely and charming city.

This module was a little bit different from the others as we were based in three venues, which made it more interesting and dynamic: Chamber of Commerce, the CJEU and the EFTA Court. The first two days we had the pleasure to learn about lobbying and public affairs with two experts on the subject - Dr. Alan Hardacre, Head of Group Corporate Affairs at Imperial Brands PLC and Andras Baneth - Head of the Public Affairs Council’s European office, the largest global association of Public Affairs professionals. We could familiarize ourselves with the topic, enhance our understanding and practice using the tools and methods in case studies. It was a mix of lectures and interaction between the candidates, who could share their different perspectives experienced in their work environments. The professors ensured a common narrative and knowledge sharing, as well as active learning. The classes were very interactive as we had real cases and case studies. The challenge for me was to practice during the given case studies, how to influence decisions, using basics communication techniques, find the right argument and select targets. Whilst that was challenging, it was also enjoyable for me to improve certain skills.

The Executive M.B.L.-HSG module has brought me knowledge of the EU law, not only focused on the law itself, but tackling its different aspects and subjects.

From the third day onwards, we started with the litigation topic. I must say, that having this first experience of studies at the executive master’s level, I was very much impressed, by the quality of these speakers. We learned and heard from real life practitioners of the EU institutions, professors and EU policy makers, who could not only deliver the subject in an academic manner but also really share their real life and work experience with us.  It is one of many justifications for the value of this program.

Prof. Dr. Daniel Sarmiento -  Professor of EU and Administrative Law at Universidad Complutense and Consultant at Uría Menéndez in Madrid, gave us his insight on litigation before the EU courts and how the European and International procedure law works. Following his lecture, a candidate with no background in EU law, could really understand the complex structure of the EU legislation.

Day five was remarkable and very memorable for me, as we had the pleasure to attend a hearing at the Court of Justice of the European Union and were given the opportunity to learn how the court functions on day to day basis. The hearing we attended was theBundesgerichtshof (Germany) v Amazon EU Sàrl”. The questions addressed by the court were whether a trader is obliged to make his telephone number available to the customer (not just where available but) always when entering into a distance contract, prior to acceptance of the contract, interpretation of the term of expression in the German law, specification of communication methods and transparency requirements. Unfortunately, the final judgment and it’s deliberation will take some time to be published.

The following day we got an in-depth understanding of “alternatives in the dispute resolutions”, with Mr. Paschalidis and in the afternoon, we prepared for our main assignment on Saturday. The methods of teaching for this module were really impressive. In particular, I was fascinated by Mr Paschalidis and Prof. Dr. Sarmiento. Their presentations and public speaking styles really caught the candidates' attention and the classes became very interactive.

The week closed with the Saturday early morning court simulation with Michael James Clifton, chef de cabinet of the President of the EFTA Court. The moot court took place at the EFTA Court premises and the case we had to work on would be something typical for the EFTA to resolve in a real-life case – on the conflict of national laws and the EU laws and the question of their correct application. The groups, apart from the judges had to do the preparation of the case in advance of the module. The whole process in the moot court was fantastic and the candidates defending their interesting case was admirable, as if they were really in the EFTA court defending a real case. The oral pleadings were performed at a high standard and absolutely convincing.

This module was very educational. Many interesting and very experienced speakers shared their knowledge and insights with us. I have definitely learned a lot and improved skills that I was expecting to improve. This module was very valuable for me personally and I can’t wait for my next module in Brussels to learn more and be surrounded by great professionals. In fact the Executive M.B.L.-HSG program has impressed me on how all the modules are so well structured, planned and diverse.