The Academy of European Law (known by the German acronym ERA for “Europäische Rechtsakademie”) is an international centre for training and debate for lawyers. A public foundation based in Trier, Germany, its objective is to promote the awareness, understanding and good practice of European law. ERA began work in Trier in March 1992. Its genesis was associated with the rapid pace of European integration during the late 1980s and 1990s. With the Single European Act in 1986 and the Maastricht Treaty in 1992, the scope of European legislation became wider than ever before. It was clear that lawyers, judges and other legal practitioners at all levels and in almost all fields of law would need regular training and a forum for debate in order to keep up-to-date with the latest developments.
Trier was chosen as the location of the Academy because of its proximity to the judicial capital of the European Union in Luxembourg. So it was that on 8-9 November 1991 - one week before the European Court of Justice delivered its "Francovich" decision establishing the liability of member states to implement Community Law and one month before the Treaty on European Union was agreed in Maastricht - the project of an Academy of European Law was formally launched at a ceremony in Trier.
The founding patrons were the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the Land of Rhineland-Palatinate and the City of Trier. In the intervening years, the majority of EU Member States has joined the foundation. Many other leading figures in the field of European law actively supported the launch of the Academy. Notable among these was Ole Due, then President of the European Court of Justice, who together with many of his fellow judges began a tradition of close co-operation between the Court in Luxembourg and the Academy.
Since 1999 it has served as a European Documentation Centre with an up-to-date archive of all official EU publications in English, French and German.