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The Internationalisation of Legal Education

The Internationalisation of Legal Education

The Future Practice of Law

Edited by William van Caenegem and Mary Hiscock

The legal academy is responding in many varied ways to the challenge of producing lawyers adequately prepared to operate in a global environment. There is a renewed focus on lawyering skills, on core principles, on cultural context and on comparative research and study. This work advances the discussion of these issues while developing solid solutions and approaches to teaching law students destined for the future practice of law.

Chapter 3: Isolationism, democratisation and globalisation: Legal education in a developing country

Laurence Boulle

Subjects: law - academic, comparative law, legal philosophy, legal theory


This chapter examines and compares three stages of legal education in a jurisdiction undergoing intense political, social and economic changes. In all three stages, social and economic imperatives in South Africa induced changes in structural features of the broader society and in national political philosophies, as well as in the societal functions of the legal system. Legal education responded more slowly than the other factors, initially afflicted by insularity and inertia. However, the internal pressures introduced by the advent of constitutional democracy, and the external influences of economic globalisation combined to induce changes of both endogenous and exogenous varieties in legal education. The focus of this chapter centres around the connection between legal education and the societal functions of a system of law within its specific time, territory and social circumstances, and between the social functions of law and national political philosophies. Neither national political philosophies, nor the societal functions of law, nor the legal education system itself, are ever mono-faceted in nature, and reference is made to key variations within all three regimes which challenge their dominant paradigms. For this reason it is appropriate to conclude with reference to themes of both continuity and discontinuity within South Africa’s evolving system of legal education. Table 3.1 provides a snapshot of national political philosophies, the societal functions of law and the features of legal education.

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