Case 340/89 Vlassopoulou [1991] ECR 2461

Key point
  • This case lays down a requirement on Member States to compare foreign diplomas to domestic diplomas for the purpose of assessing an application for admission as a lawyer by a national of another Member State
  • If it is found that the diplomas are comparable in terms of the knowledge and qualifications they certify, it must be recognised by the Member State concerned
Facts
  • V was a Greek qualified lawyer, who holds a German law doctorate and was working as a legal adviser in Germany
  • She sought to be admitted as a lawyer in Germany, but was rejected on the ground that she did not meet the conditions which included studying law at a German university, completing a preparatory training period and then passing the Second State Examination
  • V appealed against the rejection on the ground she was entitled to be admitted based on her right to establishment under Article 49 TFEU (ex Article 52 EEC)
  • At the time, no directive on the mutual recognition of diplomas giving access to the profession of lawyer had been adopted under Article 51(1) TFEU (ex Article 57(1) EEC)
Held
  • Under Article 49, national authorities must assess whether the knowledge and qualifications certified by V’s qualifications correspond with that required in by national provisions
  • If they do correspond,┬ánational authorities must recognise that diploma as fulfilling the requirements laid down by its national provisions.
  • If they correspond only partially, the national authority is entitled to require V to show that he has acquired the knowledge and qualifications which are lacking
Judgment
  • “… even if applied without any discrimination on the basis of nationality, national requirements concerning qualifications may have the effect of hindering nationals of the other Member States in the exercise of their right of establishment guaranteed to them by Article 52 of the EEC Treaty. That could be the case if the national rules in question took no account of the knowledge and qualifications already acquired by the person concerned in another Member State.”: [15]
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