A Brief History
Created in 1998 on the initiative of His Hon George Dobry CBE QC to fulfil a growing need for support, advice and training to young lawyers from countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the Foundation was named after Lord Slynn of Hadley, formerly the British judge at the European Court of Justice and then a law lord, in recognition of his contribution to the development of the principles and practice of European Law in its broadest sense.
Between 1999 and 2004, under the leadership of Lord Slynn, the Foundation organised two-day or three-day workshops, mainly in the ten states which were to join the European Union in 2004. These workshops were mostly concerned with EU law and practice, but some of them touched on human rights law. There were also mutual exchange visits, funded by the former British Association for Central and Eastern Europe, between senior judges and senior court administrators in Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria and their counterparts in this country. In addition the Foundation organised a prestigious annual lecture on a Europe-related topic, and brought one young lawyer each year to London for nine months for a mix of experience gained from attending academic lectures, working in City solicitors’ firms and barristers’ chambers and meeting senior members of the judiciary.
Because public funding for these activities ceased after 2004 and the Foundation was unable to secure alternative sources of funds, its activities were steadily reduced between 2004 and 2009 (the year when Lord Slynn died). However since 2009, the Foundation has widened its purpose, and is steadily reasserting its influence as the principal exporter of British judicial know how to an international audience. With the onset of the COVID19 pandemic, the Foundation successfully adapted its operating methods to include virtual and hybrid working. This year we have been delighted to go back to our more traditional in-person training model.
How the Foundation Operates
The work of the Foundation is overseen by the Board of Trustees many of whom also lead the Foundation’s project work. We also grateful to our distinguished patrons for their support.
The Foundation is administered by its Executive Director, Katherine Eden Haig, who joined in January 2021, and an Administrator who are responsible for the day to day running of the Foundation.
In addition we are fortunate in our ability to attract people of the highest standing in the UK legal profession who give their time and experience on to assist in the delivery of our projects. In the last few years these projects have been delivered by retired and serving appellate, High Court, Circuit and district judges, King’s Counsel, as well as specialist barristers and solicitors.
The Foundation also supports a Fellowship programme for young overseas lawyers (see Fellowship)