WG Hart, session 3

by Paul Maharg on 24/06/2014

First up, Wes Pue, highly engaging session on Professional innovation in three frontier towns: Toronto, 1820, Birmingham, 1860, Winnipeg, 1920.  Wes’ paper counters the view that innovation only derives from metropolitan centres.  From his abstract: ‘the perspective of professional history from the ‘frontier’ dislocates more conventional histories ‘from the centre’, permitting the opening of enquiries and conversations that are lost when the focus of professional history is too singularly upon major metropolitan centres’.  He ended by asking — where is the Wild West now?  Post LETR, he said, the Wild West is here…  I’d agree, especially if the SRA continue and deepen the de-regulatory programme they’ve embarked upon.

Second, Kim Economides on Regulation and reform of legal education in Australia.  He noted that the education of law students at Flinders tried to integrate professional practice and legal scholarship.  He described the reviews the law school underwent; described the regulatory framework governing the content and delivery of a core curriculum, including the work of ALSSC and CALD and the AQF — Australian Qualifications Framework.  For Kim, the CALD standards were most important because they came from within the community of legal educators.

Final paper by Sanaa Alsarghali, PhD candidate from Lancaster Law School, on Legal education in the Occupied Palestinian Territories: Background, current situation and future prospects.  She focused on the West Bank and Gaza.  14 universities in 2011; 214K students in HE, 6.6K in Masters; but no legal education prior to the Palestinian Authority — no specific legal education in Palestinian law.  Before 1967 the law was either Jordanian or Egyptian; legal scholars were educated in Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco or any country that offered free education.  High percentage went to countries such as Russia — totally different legal system.  Now, the numbers of students registered in 2013-14 are very small in five universities — around 1500, to judge from Sanaa’s tables shown in her Powerpoint.  Lecturers have LLMs, PhDs, but don’t seem to publish or if they do, they publish in Arabic.  No more than 10 full-time lecturers, no women with PhDs.  Legal materials used in legal education — Jordanian in the West Bank law schools; Gaza-Egyptian and English (?) law; new Palestinian laws such as Trust Law; all materials in Arabic.  There are moot-courts and practical courses such as criminal legal process taught by qualified lawyers, and family law taught by judges.  Financial assistance?  Few programmes from international donors such as the USAID, EU, etc; and local participation such as Jawwal.  Connection with Bar Association?  No real connection, the Bar does not participate in the selection process (in legal education?).  There is a problem with the number of lawyers graduating — they can’t find jobs, even in international companies.  Future hopes?  More international links, less confusion over the materials being taught.  Very powerful.  Extraordinary situation, just extraordinary.  There is so much work to be done in the infrastructure of legal education, and Sanaa pointed to what can be done, and the economic links between legal education, the profession and Palestinian society.



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