Escaping the Wasteland: The Multiple Needs for an Explicit Incorporation of Values into the Core Curriculum of Contemporary Legal Education

By Graham Ferris and Rebecca Huxley-Binns.

Published by Journal of the World Universities Forum

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Legal education has potentially vital roles to play in economic development, encouragement of integrity in social and political institutions, and the cohesion and cultural unity of States (North, Sen). However, in order fully to support these potentialities legal education needs to aspire to more than technical competence and professional ethical compliance. The embedding of values in legal education is necessary in and for six identifiable different ways: (1) To offer students an opportunity to consider, and reject or adopt, personal values – whether they enter legal practice or not; (2) To recognise the importance of values to legal academics and thus allow them to develop a “congruent” (as the term is used by Rogers) practice; (3) To bring into awareness and focus the underlying, if conflicting, values that inform the legal system; (4) To bring home to students the vital importance of professional ethics as a source of legitimacy for, and idealism in, the practice of the legal profession; (5) To allow a practice of genuine discussion and debate on a foundation of mutual respect, toleration, and belief in the efficacy of rational debate (if not in its ability to solve all disputes definitively), thus fulfilling the promise of Higher Education as a culturally enriching process; (6) To allow the social and economic impact of the legal system to be appreciated and developed. Law can be a powerful ally to, or foe of, social advancement. The embedding of values and discourses around values in the core curriculum of legal education is vital if legal education is to meet modern social and economic needs. If legal education abjures this possibility then it seems unlikely that any other forum will be able to compensate for such a failure.

Keywords: Higher Education, Legal Education, Values, Ethics, Profession, Development, Institutions, Toleration, Respect, Integrity, Congruence

Journal of the World Universities Forum, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp.63-74. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 649.536KB).

Graham Ferris

Senior Lecturer in Law, Nottingham Law School, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, England, UK

Graham has worked in Higher Education for 17 years. He has published in the fields of property law, legal history, legal theory, and legal education. He is also a Solicitor of the Supreme Court. He has three children and lives in his home town of Nottingham.

Rebecca Huxley-Binns

Senior Lecturer in Law, Nottingham Law School, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, England, UK

Rebecca has been teaching law for 16 years and has published in the fields of criminal law, legal systems, and legal education. She is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She has one child. She lives in Nottingham and is a keen cricket fan.

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