Academic Learning in Law

Academic Learning in Law

Theoretical Positions, Teaching Experiments and Learning Experiences

Edited by Bart van Klink and Ubaldus de Vries

This timely book calls for a critical re-evaluation of university legal education, with the particular aim of strengthening its academic nature. It emphasizes lecturers’ responsibility to challenge the assumptions students have about law, and the importance of putting law in a theoretical and social context that allows for critical reflection and sceptical detachment. In addition, the book reports upon teaching experiences and innovations, offering tools for teachers to strengthen the academic nature of legal education.

Chapter 16: Conclusions: concrete proposals for change: 14 theses

Edited by Bart van Klink and Ubaldus de Vries

Subjects: law - academic, legal philosophy, legal theory, research methods in law, research methods, research methods in law


Hopefully, the reader of this book will be inspired by the previous chapters to experiment in his or her teaching with some of the ideas discussed and the theoretical viewpoints presented in the first part. Teachers may be tempted to revise the perspective taken in a course, devise new interactive methods or reflect on their own teaching philosophy. For that purpose, each contributor has drafted a concrete proposal in the form of a thesis that might serve as a stepping-stone for actual change in the educational system in general or learning methods in particular. The theses listed below follow the order of the contributions. Instead of looking for the ‘right answer’, academic legal education should focus more on raising the right questions. Scientific inquiry always starts with a question. If it is a good question, it opens up a whole new field of research which may lead to innovative and interesting answers. However, every answer in science has a provisional character, and can and will be challenged by further research. That makes the quest for knowledge endless. In legal education, however, there is a tendency to present knowledge as a fixed and indisputable set of descriptive statements about the law – the legal doctrine – which the student is expected to learn by heart and to reproduce at the exam. Skeptical legal education questions this doctrinal approach.

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