Asian Journal of Legal Education

Sage Publications, Inc.
Publication date:

Latest documents

  • Downsizing Teaching: The Case for Seminars as the Backbone of Law Degrees

    This article is aimed at contributing to the ongoing debate on the purpose of law school and the work of law teachers, calling for a scholarship-based approach to teaching, centred on culture, research and method and advocating for seminars to replace lectures as the core method of teaching delivery in law schools. The article addresses, under this perspective, the salient elements of legal education: the philosophy of a teacher, the function of lectures and seminars, the problem of the time necessary to gain the required preparation, the importance of reading and the role played by assessment in the economy of a law degree. It is argued that teaching delivery methods should be the subject of constant reflection, and that the drafting of law school curricula should aim at cultivating the intellectual abilities and curiosity of law students, focussing on their education rather than their mere instruction.

  • Promises and Prospects of Legal Education in India in the Context of the New Education Policy: A Reality Check

    Legal education serves as a means of social regulation and a tool for social transformation. In 2020, the Indian government released India’s third educational policy, considered the most ambitious educational policy ever. However, legal scholars fostered several misgivings about the efficacy of the drafted policy in addressing underlying shortcomings in legal education in India. Serious concerns have been raised, especially in light of the nation’s recent loss of prospects in the global economy that could have been achieved otherwise. As a result, addressing the debate that arose due to the NEP’s introduction and its impact upon legal education, which is still subjugated by multiple regulatory frameworks, has become critical. Against this background, the present research explores legal education and its history to better grasp the problems at hand. Following that, the article attempts to analyse the quotidian adversities faced by the institutions and regulators in meeting the demands of the new world order. While doing so, this article takes a critical approach to identify the concerns and inhibitions that exist under the draft policy and remains unresolved by the NEP in view of aimed ‘radical reconstruction of education’. Finally, the authors conclude the article with findings and recommendations.

  • Sikkim National Law University: Futuristic Perspectives
  • Ethical Duty of a Lawyer to Defend His Client in a Criminal Case: Issues and Challenges in India

    The fate of a criminal case to a large extent depends upon choosing the right lawyer. But the choice of a right lawyer requires some amount of experience and expertise, which a layman intending to hire a lawyer may not be equipped with. Even if the client has made a smart choice in identifying a right lawyer for him, the lawyer so identified might not be willing to accept a brief for the reasons best known to the lawyer. At times a peculiar situation may arise before the lawyer where the lawyer seeks to withdraw from representing the accused. There are various pitfalls to the client’s right from the stage of making a choice of a competent lawyer to defend the accused up to the end of the legal battle. The article deals with the professional ethics involved when a counsel accepts a brief or seeks to withdraw from representing an accused and terminate the advocate–client relationship.

  • Nigerian Law Students’ Perception of Online Teaching: Appraisal of COVID-19-imposed Online Classes

    The Council of Legal Education, which is the regulatory body for the legal profession in Nigeria, has made it clear over the years that the training of lawyers cannot be adequately carried out through correspondence or distance learning, which can be interpreted as online learning or remote learning. As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, various online teaching and learning methods were adopted by educational institutions all over the world, to ensure the continuity of the learning process, truncated by the pandemic. This study, carried out through a multidisciplinary approach, is an assessment of the perception of students on the level of effectiveness of COVID-19-imposed online teaching and learning, especially, in comparison with the traditional classroom setting among legal education students in Nigeria. From the study, it was observed that students perceived the online learning method to be more effective than the traditional face-to-face method of delivery but were less focused during the online classes as compared to physical classes. Furthermore, many of the students opined that online classes should be discontinued after the lockdown. Despite students’ distractions during online learning, there is a need to recognize that online learning is a panacea for the crisis at hand (the COVID-19 pandemic), and for as long as it lasts, there may not be a complete return to the physical classroom setting. The study suggests ways of minimizing the challenges that students who do not find online learning effective face with its use, while also calling on the Council of Legal Education to revisit its stance towards the adoption of online learning as a suitable teaching method to be incorporated into legal education.

  • Clinical Legal Education and Human Rights Values: A Universal Pro Forma for Law Clinics

    This article explores the theoretical foundations for a social justice–centric global law clinic movement. Our starting position is that law clinics, a type of clinical legal education (CLE), are in a unique position to engage in, and potentially promote, social justice issues outside their immediate communities and jurisdictions. To achieve this aim, it is necessary for law clinics to adopt a universal pro forma underpinned by the key concepts of CLE, namely social justice education and promoting access to justice through law reform. We argue that the main features of CLE are aligned with those of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on issues such as human dignity and social justice. Incorporating UDHR values into CLE serves three purposes. First, it acts as a universal pro forma, which facilitates communication between clinics across jurisdictions, irrespective of their cultural or legal background. Second, it allows clinics to identify sources of global injustices and to share resources and expertise to collectively address injustices. Third, the theoretical approach advocated in this article argues that clinics have a Kantian moral right to engage in transnational law reform.

  • Equitable Access to Higher Education: An Analysis of India’s National Education Policy (2020) in a Post-Pandemic World

    Of the various less-than-comfortable narrative strands of the status quo that the COVID-19 pandemic has succeeded in showing up in stark relief—our rather troubling (if somewhat half-hearted) complacence about the systemic blind-spots that continue to colour the prevailing culture of a clearly inequitable higher education policy-framework—easily features among the most worrying, and thus, among those precise pulse-points that carry tremendous potential to help build the post-pandemic reset better, stronger and palpably fairer.1 In this piece, the authors endeavour to elaborate upon this and supplement the same with a brief analysis of India’s year-old National Education Policy, 20202—and how this nation (India) of more than 1.3 billion,3 supposedly poised on the cusp of a massive self-reinvention—is attempting to embark upon this journey.

  • The Idée Fixe of Corporate Jobs in India: The Institutional Change in Legal Education and the Different Factors for the Shift

    The rise of the corporate sector in the legal profession is a phenomenon which has been accompanied by a rising popularity of the legal profession. The legal profession from being a mere ‘backup’ option has transformed into a lucrative avenue which students are choosing to opt for willingly that is, the profession has gained the attention of students as a worthwhile career option. There is a web of factors which is propelling this trend in India. These factors include the increasing standards of legal education in India, and the establishment of the first National Law University in Bangalore in 1986. NLSIU’s polished and premium education standards set the ball rolling for National Law Universities which were established following its example. The legal profession took centre-stage and provided that option to the students. The allure of a corporate job where they could earn lakhs and climb hierarchies in order to earn more proved to be an effective potential reward for this new generation of students. This change in the prioritization of an entire generation resulted in the NLUs re-orienting their curriculum to offer the best corporate conditioning to these young aspiring lawyers. The initial idea of focusing on improving the litigation standards of the country was effectively discarded and it was replaced with an active pursuit of producing a corporate culture in law schools. This article will look at the institutional change, the factors affecting this shift in legal education, and concludes by identifying both positive and negative factors due to this shift.

  • Clinical Legal Education—A Robust Instrument for Attainment of Justice: An Indian Perspective

    Legal education is to serve the purpose of creating well-versed and proficient professionals who can render the best legal service to the people and help them get justice. Moreover, it is also to produce law-abiding and well-informed citizens who can carry out their duties in their professional life (irrespective of the nature of profession) for maintaining the rule of law. Along with a very strong foundation of substantive law, law students must also be oriented to the application of law during their undergraduate programme. This goal is to be realized through clinical legal education (CLE), which was introduced with an aim of combining the theory with practice. It also helps inculcate a sense of social justice in law students, as they closely see the application of law in a real life situation; they realize how law benefits people; they get closely connected to the society; they learn professional ethics; they develop problem solving approach; they get immeasurable satisfaction and confidence in the power of law; and more particularly, they comprehend that law is the real robust instrument to ensure and secure inclusive justice in the society. CLE, thus, makes the legal education all-inclusive and wholesome by making law students the agents of social change and champions of justice. This research article argues that CLE is indispensable for the attainment of inclusive justice. It also gauges the state of CLE in India from this perspective. Lastly, the article offers a few convincing suggestions which need to be incorporated in the legal education framework of India in order to ensure the higher goal of attainment of inclusive justice in India.

  • Looking at Law School Rankings in India Through the Lens of Democratic Ideals

    Legal education in India has undergone phenomenal changes in the past few years. Gone are the days when certain established universities had a monopoly over legal education, and when interest in professional legal education was surpassed by the likes of science, technology and medicine, which are essential for the industrial and social development of any country. Lawyers, characterized as social engineers, are equipped with the vision for social change, which is essential in a developing country like India. Lawyers understand the present and have a vision for the future. Social change can be brought about by change in law, which reflects the direction in which the country is progressing. Ranking systems portraying democratic and constitutional ethos will encourage law schools and related authorities to change; accordingly, that is when they will become equipped to bring about relevant social change. Hence, it only seems pertinent to analyse the ranking systems in accordance with the democratic ideals and ethos enshrined in the Constitution, including the Preamble, which is where we find the mention of justice, equality, liberty and fraternity, the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles of State Policy, where we find the mention of the rule of law, social welfare and the values propounded by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the international convention on human rights. This will provide a better perspective for judging the quality of law schools and the law students, which will be essential in understanding the changes which need to be made to the current teaching and learning pedagogy. Students will be more equipped to deal with the challenges posed by the legal profession after graduation and will become harbingers of justice.

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