News and Events

EU Trip 2023

16 Mar 2023
Second-year law students pictured here at the Court of Justice

2023 saw the return of the hugely popular and highly regarded EU Trip, which offers second year law students a unique opportunity to become informed practically, about the various EU Institutions.  In this piece, student ,Genevieve Cox, reflects on the highlights of the trip. 

The trip provides a very unique insight into the judicial, political and administrative facets of the European Union. This remarkable experience was organised and co-ordinated by our Vice Dean of Internationalisation, Declan Walsh, along with the School of Law.

On our first day we were privileged to be afforded access to the Court of Justice in Luxembourg and were given access to keep “a watching brief “of sorts on a case at hearing. This was followed by a tour of the Court of Justice where we got to meet Judge Eugene Regan, President of the Chamber in the Court of Justice. Thereafter we were invited to lunch which was hosted by UCC’s Adjunct Professor and Advocate General Mr Anthony Collins with the other Irish Judges in attendance also. The assembled judiciary were extremely generous with their time and it was both enlightening and inspiring to learn of their own career paths. Mr. Anthony Collins gave a most informative post lunch presentation regarding his position as Advocate General and how it differs from that of a Judge. Our day in the Court of Justice came to a close with Judge Susan Kingston and Judge Colm Mac Eochaidh sharing their experiences as Judges in the General Court. Finally, Madeleine Carton, a former participant in the EU Trip and currently an Intern at the Court of Justice shared the criteria to be met and the various requirements and features of obtaining an internship at the Court of Justice.

Day 2 brought us to the European Commission headquarters in Brussels. Ms Marianne Farrar Hockley a Senior Policy assistant and Hannah O Kane, a policy advisor shared their insights with us. We were grateful that Commissioner Mairead Mc Guinness also took time out to meet with us and indeed facilitated a forum for questions pertaining to her role as Commissioner. She shared some very insightful information around the new Windsor Framework and the impact that this may have on Ireland, particularly in the context of her area of work within the Commission, as European Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union.

As our day progressed, UCC School of Law alumni featured strongly, with a presentation from Mr Leo Flynn on the role of the Commission Legal Service which is currently focusing on State Aid and Dumping cases. This was followed by insights from Ms Zuzana Jara on becoming a Blue Book trainee at the Commission. It was noteworthy that Ms Jara had been a student on the last EU trip and had been inspired from that experience to pave a way for herself into the European Union.

Our last day comprised of visits to the European Parliament, the Irish Embassy and the Office of the European Ombudsman. Within the Parliament, we were given the chance to ask questions about the different roles and responsibilities of the Parliament and what the institution sets out to do. Once again another former UCC Law student, Isabel Gallagher offered insight into the routine of an intern to one of the MEP’s in the Parliament. At the Embassy, students were exposed to the work of a diplomat and the various exciting elements of that role. Our final experience was a visit to the Office of the European Ombudsman where we learned about the diverse work undertaken with some detail around specific cases currently being dealt with.

The trip unquestionably confirmed itself as a major highlight for students in the academic year. In addition it gave a practical and fresh insight into the variety and breadth of employment options available to Irish law graduates in the European Union. Thank you once again to Declan Walsh for all the time and thought that went into organising such a hugely informative learning experience and to Dr Fidelma White and Dr Luigi Leonardo for giving so generously of their time by accompanying students on the trip. A very special thank you to all those we met at the European Institutions and who shared their time, expertise and knowledge with us, resulting in a wonderfully tailored and niche experience for UCC Law students.

School of Law

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