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4 March 2021

New Director of Programmes

Since the beginning of February the ERA Team has been strengthened with the arrival of Julia Laffranque as Director of Programmes and Deputy Director of the Academy.


Foto: New Director of Programmes.


Jean-Philippe Rageade, Director of ERA, said: “I am delighted that such an experienced expert in EU and ECHR law has accepted to take over the direction of ERA’s Programme Department. Julia brings a unique understanding of the target groups of the Academy which she was able to gain within the public administration by working as a high official of the Estonian Ministry of Justice, within the judiciary as a Member of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg from 2011 to 2020 and lately as Justice of the Estonian Supreme Court. Julia is a true European and the committed team player that we were looking for.”


Julia Laffranque said: “My father always told me that the best investment in life is education. I firmly believe that top qualified legal professionals in European law are an indispensable cornerstone for the rule of law and common judicial culture on our continent. ERA has an important mission to contribute to this and it is my honour and challenge to help ERA achieve this goal. It does not seem too difficult so far because my first impression of my new colleagues are that they are highly professional and very nice people.”  


Julia Laffranque was born in Estonia in 1974.


She graduated in law from the University of Tartu and earned her LLM at the University of Münster. She continued her postgraduate studies at the European University Institute in Florence and obtained her PhD in law at the University of Tartu in 2003 with a thesis on “The possibility and necessity of judicial dissent (dissenting opinion) in the Supreme Court of the Republic of Estonia and in the European Court of Justice”. From 1996 on she worked in various capacities, but always with a European law orientation, in the Estonian Ministry of Justice. From there she held secondments to the Legal Service of the European Commission, the German Federal Administrative Court and the French Council of State.


In 2004, Dr Laffranque became a justice of the Supreme Court of Estonia. From 2011 to 2020 she was a judge at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and in 2015-2018 vice-president of the Second Section of this Court. She has also been a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, and the first female president of the Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE) and of the International Federation for European Law (FIDE). During her presidencies, CCJE received the “Justice in the World” award and FIDE expanded for the first time to Eastern Europe (2012). Dr Laffranque has been a member of the Scientific Committee of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights since 2018. In 2021 she was appointed – on the proposal of the European Parliament - as a member of Article 255 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union Panel responsible for reviewing the proposals made by the Member States for appointment of members of the Court of Justice and the General Court prior to their formal appointment.


Besides her work as a high civil servant at the Ministry of Justice and later judge in Estonia Dr Laffranque pursued her academic career as a professor of European law at the University of Tartu. She authored several law books and has published across Europe. She was one of the authors of the amendments of the Estonian Constitution which were adopted by referendum prior to Estonia’s accession to the European Union. In 2013, the Estonian European Movement elected Julia Laffranque ‘European of the Year’ and in 2016 Estonian judges awarded her as best trainer of judges.


Besides her native Estonian, Dr Laffranque is fluent in English, Finnish, French and German, and also speaks Russian. To see her contact details click here.

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