Charting the Fragile Path of Progress
8. Legal education I. Normative Benchmarks A. The Role of Legal Education in Developing Countries Legal education is a tool of social and economic development in every jurisdiction. It performs a number of functions which may contribute to development. One well-established view of legal education sees its primary function as being to prepare individuals to practice as legal practitioners. To the extent that this is seen as the primary function of legal education, it is key to development in a number of respects. Trained legal practitioners are necessary to ensure access to justice and to further rule of law reform. As Carothers argues, successful rule of law reform requires a community with a “will to change” their legal institutions. A trained group of professionals executes those changes and represents the interests of the community within those institutions. Legal professionals therefore have an enormous influence on rule of law development. Their level of competence, set of values and conceptions of the law directly affect the success or failure of rule of law reform. As Burridge argues, legal education is one of the most influential sites for development of conceptions of justice and fairness. In addition to training practitioners, legal education also performs a number of critical broader functions related to development. Burridge suggests that these include defining and upholding democratic and legal accountability; describing and maintaining the function of the legal system and the administration of justice; monitoring and evaluating the use of state power, the regulatory role, and the discharge...
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