The Future Practice of Law
Edited by William van Caenegem and Mary Hiscock
Chapter 2: Internationalisation and different national philosophies of legal education: Convergence, divergence and contestability
This chapter explores the idea of different national philosophies of legal education, and further, considers the relationship between those national philosophies and the legal values and legal culture of the nation’s underlying legal system. These are fascinating questions – but they make some big assumptions. The biggest assumption is that there is such a thing as a ‘national philosophy’ of legal education. So this is where I want to start, and I start unashamedly with the country I know best (though by no means perfectly or even authoritatively): Australia. In due course, I shall endeavour to put this into the context of internationalisation, because if there is any common factor in the convergence of national philosophies of legal education, it is probably a growing commitment to internationalisation. What is the ‘national philosophy’ of legal education in Australia? As a starting point, one might analyse Australian legal education in a variety of ways, first of all by reference to its structures or main features. This is essentially a descriptive exercise, and of course is commonly also the starting point for international comparisons. Unfortunately, it is also often the stopping point, exemplifying the dangers of superficial comparison in the pursuit of comparative law. But even at the level of description, the exercise is a challenging one for Australia – and if that is so, there is no reason to think that it would not be equally challenging for other countries.
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