From General Legal History Towards Comparative Legal Traditions
Annals of the Faculty of Law In Belgrade - Belgrade Law Review, Vol. 58, No. 3, pp. 20-39, 2010
14 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2010 Last revised: 6 Jul 2011
Date Written: June 18, 2010
The so called Bologna process has incited a kind of “cultural revolution” in law schools’ curricula all over Europe. Teaching of legal history is reduced into fewer courses, emphasizing professional and applied learning outcomes over the traditional liberal arts-centered model of legal education. The author argues that seemingly “impractical” topics like legal history actually strengthen the applied portion of the curriculum, if it is taught in a more modern way.
It encompasses a partial shift from history (implying the processes have been completed) to tradition (pointing to living traces of previous legal development, Glenn’s “the presence of the past”). The new approach favors understanding of law in the context of legal transplants, diffusion and harmonization of law, of the interaction and internal dynamics of legal systems, etc.
The change in teaching method has shifted from formal lectures to interactive learning through Clinical Legal History or Legal Clinic in History. Students are engaged by playing roles in historical court cases from ancient Athens, Rome or other historical legal systems, developing legal reasoning and imagination, legal terminology, rhetorical skills, argumentation, face contemporary legal problems. Broad understanding of legal traditions may build a prospective barrier against the hurricane of positivist and pragmatic challenges that threaten to turn lawyers into mere technical specialists.
Keywords: Bologna Process, Comparative Law, Legal Transplants, Diffusion of Law, Legal Education, Legal Clinic in History
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