Book Review: Legal Education in Asia. Edited by Shuvro Prosun Sarker

Published date01 January 2015
Date01 January 2015
Subject MatterBook Review
India Quarterly, 66, 2 (2010): 133–149
78 Sanjeeb Kumar Mohanty and Jinendra Nath Mahanty78 Michael Lindfield
Book Review
Legal Education in Asia. Edited by Shuvro Prosun Sarker, Eleven International Publishing, The Hague,
2014. Pp. 298, 75 Euro.
Legal Education in Asia1 features writings by legal educators about the legal educational systems of
13 Asian countries, each reflecting a unique character and history. The countries are Bangladesh, China
with a separate chapter on Hong Kong, India, Iran, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Russia, South Korea, Taiwan,
Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam. The book showcases the diversity in the legal profession country to
country as well as within legal education, involving many variables such as language, duration of study,
curriculum approval mechanisms, law faculty eligibility, law practice limitations on law faculty, grading
of student performance, national bar examinations and post-law degree practical training.
The book tantalizes the reader with insights about the effects of history and political change on
the legal profession, as authors discuss the forms of government (including democracies, kingdoms,
republics, socialist states and a Special Administrative Region) that pertain to their jurisdictions.
Moments in history shared by the chapter authors illuminate cross-cultural influences in development
of national legal systems. For example, the reader learns that codification of laws in Iran was influenced
not only by Islamic law and French codes, but also by US advisors on the drafting of new army laws.2
Moreover, Jewish law professors fleeing the Holocaust took shelter in Turkey and were enlisted in
drafting changes to the Turkish legal system.3
Yet, from the critiques of the highly diverse legal educational systems emerge several common views:
legal education is often overly theoretical, law faculty generally lack law practice experience and
incentives for interactive teaching, and legal education and the legal system as a whole address problems
of only certain segments of the population. Most law graduates emerge from a passive learning
environment without the preparation to meet the needs of their society, particularly to provide access to
justice to everyone in multicultural societies and to prepare graduates to be competitive in addressing
legal issues flowing from globalization. Mechanisms for change in law teacher education are needed
along with development of law school teaching materials that promote interactive learning. Assessment
of student performance on a regular basis would engage students more deeply in the learning process.
The book, comprising a collegial sharing by the 30 authors4 of the contexts of the law teaching
profession and concerns about the academic and moral preparation of law graduates, does not take
on a comparative law agenda in a technical sense, but in fact, presents a robust cross-section of legal
systems—primarily civil law systems, Muslim law systems, customary law systems and mixed systems.
1 LegaL education in asia (Shuvro Prosun Sarker ed., Eleven International Publishing, 2014).
2 Setareh Saedi Araghi & Sadaf Raeisi, Legal Education in Iran: From Theoretical Aspects to Practicality, in LegaL education
in asia 80 (Shuvro Prosun Sarker ed., Eleven International Publishing, 2014).
3 Julian Lonbay & Musa Toprak, Legal Education in Turkey: Ottoman to Bologna, in LegaL education in asia 182 (Shuvro Prosun
Sarker ed., Eleven International Publishing, 2014).
4 It is noteworthy to this reviewer that of the 30 authors, 12 are women.
Asian Journal of Legal Education
2(1) 78–80
© 2015 The West Bengal National
University of Juridical Sciences
SAGE Publications
DOI: 10.1177/2322005814552761

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