'Code Switching' in Comparative Legal Education
3 University of Detroit Mercy Law Review Online 101 (2014)
20 Pages Posted: 22 Jan 2016 Last revised: 25 Jan 2016
Date Written: 2014
The Dual J.D. program offered jointly by the University of Windsor (Ontario) Faculty of Law and the University of Detroit (Michigan) Mercy School of Law strives to teach the perspectives and rules of two jurisdictions (Canada and the United States) at the same time. At an anecdotal level, program faculty have observed that students struggle with at least one problem that seems unique to them: Dual J.D. students exhibit a particular difficulty restricting their analysis of fact patterns to the rules and terms of the particular legal system that a question should trigger. First-year students, especially, tend to mix the analytical perspectives, legal rules, vocabulary, and diction of one system with that of the other in inappropriate ways. Linguistic theories explaining the phenomenon of "code switching" among bilinguals may help explain the origin of these errors.
Keywords: Comparative law, legal education
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