Globalisation of Legal Education

Panel presentation at the 2013 CLEA Conference in Durban

Professor Jenny Hamilton
Director of the Undergraduate Laws Programme
University of London
Professor Nick Johnson
Rector of the Institute of Legal Practice and Development
Professor Abdul Paliwala
University of Warwick, UK
Professor Avrom Sher
Director of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies
University of London, UK


‘…the impacts of processes of globalization on the very structure of legal education, the regulation of education providers and the role of education in maintaining professional values and competency levels are all in urgent need of analysis.’[1]

The growth of improved communications and the internet, the increase in cross border trade and international business and the ease with which individuals can now travel around the world impacts on every aspect of life – legal education and the legal profession are no different.   This session will seek to bring together some of the issues surrounding  globalisation and the challenges we, as educators, face in developing graduates who are able to meet the new professional demands.  In a wide ranging discussion our panel will draw on their considerable experience of legal education to address significant issues which will impact on our practice.

Discussion will cover a wide spectrum of global legal educational issues: Concerns about a “colonisation” approach from some of the larger jurisdictions forcing their own legal systems and training on other jurisdictions; national concerns about being able to compete in a new environment, with the possibilities of “international lawyers”; the need to adopt flexible approaches in a fast changing environment and avoid over regulation. The panel will consider how is transnational legal education contributing to the maintenance of the rule of law, growth of the economy and the development of the legal profession, in both the provider and recipient countries? A key issue will also be how to ensure the quality of transnational legal education. With the growth of technology enhanced learning we need to consider the role of information technology in the development of global legal education. In addition what  role is there for external institutions in assisting the expansion of national law schools?

Finally global legal practice requires fervent imagination, constant inventiveness both spurred by a harsh competitive environment. Many African primary and secondary educational systems do not value imagination or innovation. The panel will consider how can we weave it into legal education in those systems?

The format of the session will involve each member giving a short opening statement on some of the major issues followed by a question and answer session. Questions submitted beforehand will be discussed before those of the audience.

[1]  Faulconbridge J., Muzio D., Legal Education, Globalization, and Cultures of Professional Practice, Legal Ethics & Professional Responsibility eJournal 12/2009

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