The Future Practice of Law
Edited by William van Caenegem and Mary Hiscock
Chapter 4: Continuing the internationalisation debate: Philosophies of legal education, issues in curriculum design and lessons from skills integration
The legitimate goals of legal education, and the demands made on an already crowded curriculum, are overwhelming. Commentators and policymakers point to the importance of teaching ‘core knowledge’, law in context (with an interdisciplinary mix of subjects such as economics, history, dispute resolution, business and management), generic skills, specific legal skills, ethics and values. More recently, some commentators have argued that the curriculum should be ‘internationalised’ in order to prepare students for increasingly ‘globalised’ legal practice. According to some of these commentators, there is no question but that we should internationalise the curriculum, and the real issue now is how we should go about doing it. In as much as these commentators suggest that there is a pressing need for curricula reform to accommodate external drivers such as globalisation, they may be correct. But if they are suggesting that all law schools and all law teachers are on board with the need for change, then they are being overly optimistic. The debate about internationalisation of the curriculum is far from over. Curriculum reform (or the more trendy term – ‘curriculum renewal’) is a painful process and one that faces many challenges including ‘turf wars’, ‘the demon of coverage’, the curriculum design equivalent of the Not in My Back Yard syndrome (NIMBY), and a university environment in which academic freedom is highly valued.
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