Legislating, Decision-Making, Practice and Education
Edited by Mary Hiscock and William van Caenegem
Chapter 7: Development Assistance in the Field of Legal Education
Michael Bogdan* INTRODUCTION The twentieth anniversary of Bond University coincides with the twentieth anniversary of the revolutionary events in Eastern Europe, which culminated with the fall of the Berlin Wall. The effects of these events spread to those developing countries in Africa and Asia that were under the ideological and political influence of the Soviet empire. Almost all decided to follow the Eastern European example, abandon the disastrous socialist experiments of the past and move towards some kind of market economy and political liberalization. Such transition required a profound reshaping of the legal systems of the countries in question. Several had for many years received large-scale development assistance even from some Western countries such as Sweden, but while they previously asked for food, medicines, factories, hospitals or roads, they suddenly became interested in obtaining a new Bankruptcy Act or a law school curriculum. From a law professor’s viewpoint, it is of course very satisfactory that the importance of law as a precondition for desirable economic and social development has become generally recognised, which was not always the case. Providing development assistance in the legal field has never been quite uncontroversial. While assisting in the promotion of human rights seems to be generally accepted, helping the recipient countries to replace their state-controlled economies with a ‘capitalist’ market economy is considered by some to amount to helping the rich to get richer and abandoning the poor. In my opinion this is a very narrow-minded way of looking at the role of law,...
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