Vera Jourova, a law graduate and populist politician from the Czech Republic, has been allocated the justice portfolio along with consumer affairs and gender equality in the new European Commission.
If approved by the European Parliament, she will take over from Martine Reicherts, who has stood in at the role since Viviane Reding departed following this year's European elections.
Jean-Claude Juncker, president-elect of the commission, announced the portfolios at a press conference this morning.
Sweden's Cecilia Malmstrom, who had been tipped for the justice role, takes over the trade portfolio.
The UK’s commissioner, Lord Hill, will oversee financial services - a move likely to be welcomed in the City.
Jourova, 50, studied law in Prague and was previously minister for regional development. She is a member of ANO (Action of Dissatisfied Citizens) a movement founded by businessman Andrej Babis. She speaks English and Russian.
The justice portfolio was created in 2010 following the Lisbon Treaty. It deals with civil and commercial law, criminal law, data protection, consumer protection legislation, free movement of citizens and equality legislation. The previous commission had embarked on a programme of creating a 'fully functioning common area of justice' by 2020, an aspiration that has caused frequent clashes with the UK government.
UK thinktank Open Europe this week called on the new commission to 'get on with' liberalising the market in professional services. It said the EU economy could be boosted by nearly €300bn (£240bn) if the 2006 Services Directive, which in theory allows lawyers qualified in one member state to practise anywhere in the EU, was fully implemented.