Application of Comparative Law Methods in Teaching Legal English to Law Students in Russia
Posted: 29 Oct 2021
Date Written: July 17, 2021
A major challenge inherent in a course of legal English taught to students outside the common law tradition lies in the very fact of the difference between the legal system native to the student and that of common law. This difference, manifested in every aspect – formal and cognitive – of legal language, should be made aware to the students from the start and throughout the course. Comparative method is therefore the best strategy of teaching English to international lawyers.
This method will only be effective if the students are able to understand the legal intricacies and implications concealed in vocabulary, grammar, and syntax. For this reason, MGIMO adheres to the policy of introducing its students to the language of profession after they have achieved a high command of language.
Teaching legal English in the Russian universities was traditionally confined to the development of specialized vocabulary and the translation of professional texts. Today, however, even a profound knowledge of terminology will not suffice – the employers expect that the graduates arrive prepared to act in a professional environment. The article highlights the idea that a university course of Legal English for English Second language students should be focused on the development of the required competencies, and the choice of teaching methods and techniques must serve this goal.
Keywords: legal English, comparative legal studies, legal translation, comparative approach, teaching methodology, English as Second Language, higher education
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