Dr. Julia Laffranque has been a judge since 2004. Besides, she is a visiting professor of European law at the University of Tartu (she was working there as a professor from 2011-2016, after having earned her PhD also from the University of Tartu in 2003 and LL.M (magistra legum) summa cum laude from the Westfälische Wilhelms University of Münster, Germany in 1998). Previously she researched also at the European University Institute in Florence/Fiesole (Italy) and worked at the Ministry of Justice of Estonia (1996-2003): starting as a European Union law expert, then head of division of EU law and international relations and as culmination as Deputy Secretary General of the Ministry of Justice. She was responsible for legislative drafting, codification, and approximation of Estonian law to the law of the European Union and is one of the authors of Estonian Constitutional Amendment Act and Commentaries of the Constitution.
Julia Laffranque was appointed by the Estonian Parliament as the youngest Supreme Court justice in 2004. From 2011–2020 she was elected by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and served as a judge at the European Court of Human Rights a nine-year non-renewable term. She was from 2013–2016 chair of the annual seminar of the European Court of Human Rights responsible for the relations between the Court and national supreme and constitutional courts. Dr. Laffranque was also responsible for the relations between the Court and the CCBE (The Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe); member of reform, EU law, Grand Chamber and Working Methods committees. In 2015-2018, she was vice-president of the Second Section of the European Court of Human Rights.
In 2020, Julia Laffranque returned to the Supreme Court of Estonia where she is currently justice at the administrative law and constitutional review law chambers. In 2021, she was director of programmes and deputy director of ERA (Academy of European Law) in Trier, Germany; she continues as a member of board of trustees of ERA and was elected as a member of board of the Association Friends of ERA. Her secondments abroad have brought her to the Legal Service of the European Commission, ministries of justice of France and Sweden, State Council (Conseil d’Etat) of France and German supreme federal administrative court (Bundesverwaltungsgericht).
Julia Laffranque has also been member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (2011-2016).
In 2004, Julia Laffranque founded the European Law Society of Estonia and presided it until 2013. Since 2013, she has been honorary president of this society. From 2010-2012 Julia Laffranque was president of the International Federation for European Law (FIDE) and organised for a first time a FIDE Congress in Eastern Europe, in Estonia. She created the youth conference, which has now become a tradition to accompany the FIDE Congress and has given the Congress its slogan “Uniting Great Minds of European Law.”
In addition, Dr. Laffranque was president of the Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE) elected by her peers for the maximum term from 2008–2010. During her presidency, the CCJE received an award “Justice of the World” for its contribution to judicial independence in Europe.
Julia Laffranque is also member of the advisory board of Avant-garde Lawyers and was a member of the board of the think-tank Praxis 2000-2004.
Prof. Dr. Laffranque is the author of several textbooks and articles on EU law, human rights law, and constitutional law, published all over Europe and in the United States. She is a co-author of French-Estonian-French Law Dictionary and a frequent speaker on human rights, rule of law and European law on various conferences as well as other public events. She also likes to popularize the fundamental rights with contributions to the media.
Since 2018, she is a member of the Scientific Committee of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA).
In 2021, she was elected a member of the panel based on Article 255 of the Treaty on Functioning of the European Union, which voices an opinion on the candidates of the members of the Court of Justice of the European Union, her mandate was renewed in 2022. The panel consists of seven eminent members who are former members of the Court of Justice of the European Union and members of Supreme and Constitutional Courts of the EU countries, six members are appointed on proposal of the president of the European Union, Mrs. Laffranque was appointed on proposal of the European Parliament by an overwhelming majority.
Besides law, Dr. Laffranque is passionate about theatre; she created a theatre club called “Court in the Act” at the European Court of Human Rights and has been actress of Vilde theatre in Tartu (Estonia) and Tagora theatre in Strasbourg (France). Julia Laffranque also participates in choral song and is co-organiser of yearly literature event in the village of Tagaranna, on the island of Saaremaa, Estonia. She is a mother of three children.
Julia Laffranque was awarded the Estonian White Cross, and she is Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Mérite of France. In 2013 she was elected European of the Year by the European Movement in Estonia. In 2016, she was nominated as the best trainer of Estonian judges.
Dr. Julia Laffranque was appointed Controller of procedural guarantees by the Commission Decision on 3 May 2022 for a five-year non-renewable term.