The Internationalisation of Legal Education
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The Internationalisation of Legal Education

The Future Practice of Law

Edited by William van Caenegem and Mary Hiscock

The legal academy is responding in many varied ways to the challenge of producing lawyers adequately prepared to operate in a global environment. There is a renewed focus on lawyering skills, on core principles, on cultural context and on comparative research and study. This work advances the discussion of these issues while developing solid solutions and approaches to teaching law students destined for the future practice of law.
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Chapter 5: Japanese legal education reform: A lost opportunity to end the cult(ure) of the national bar examination and internationalise curricula?

Stacey Steele and Anesti Petridis


This chapter highlights recent developments in Japan after substantial reforms to legal education in 2004. We argue that the national philosophy of legal education in Japan, to the extent that one exists, is dictated by the national bar examination. The reforms demonstrate that legal education, including its content, delivery and purpose, is a contested issue in Japan. The reforms failed to bring about meaningful change to the examination, and it continues to be a major obstacle to internationalising curricula in law schools and preparing students for an internationalised legal market, even though so-called internationalisation (kokusai-ka) was a key recommendation of the Justice System Reform Council’s blueprint for legal education in the twenty-first century, which ultimately led to the reforms. Japan is not alone in its recent reassessment of legal education content and offerings. Kift, an Australian academic specialising in legal education in Australia, notes that jurisdictions such as the US, England, Australia, Scotland, Canada and Hong Kong have been through periods of retrospection and reform, and most ‘have exhorted a reorientation of the traditional approaches to legal education, essentially from a content focus and towards skills and values acquisition and training’.

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