The Use of Case Law in the Legal Curriculum: Why and How?

The Use of Case Law in the Legal Curriculum: Why and How?, in: A.W. Heringa, S. Hardt et al (eds.), Legal Education in the 21st Century: Indonesian and International Perspectives, The Hague [Eleven] 2022, pp. 117-125

7 Pages Posted: 14 Jun 2022

See all articles by Jan M. Smits

Jan M. Smits

Maastricht University Faculty of Law

Date Written: 2022

Abstract

This contribution examines two questions concerning the role of case law in the legal curriculum, in particular in civil law jurisdictions such as Indonesia and the Netherlands. The first question is why case law should be part of legal education. It is argued this is not only because cases decided upon by the highest courts are recognized as an ‘official’ source of law, but also because it is impossible to properly understand a legal rule – designed to be applied to real-life situations – without studying those situations. Case law shows how rules can be balanced against each other; learning how to do this requires the careful and critical analysis of key cases in any field of the law.

The second question is how to incorporate cases within the curriculum. The teaching philosophy of ‘active learning’ allows for various methods. Next to the ‘case method’ and ‘case study method,’ special attention is paid to how case law can be used in a setting of ‘problem-based learning’ (PBL). It is shown how PBL allows us to use cases in instructing students to analyse judicial cases, to solve legal problems and to critically assess the outcome a court reaches.

Keywords: Legal education; Indonesia; Case method

Suggested Citation

Smits, Jan M., The Use of Case Law in the Legal Curriculum: Why and How? (2022). The Use of Case Law in the Legal Curriculum: Why and How?, in: A.W. Heringa, S. Hardt et al (eds.), Legal Education in the 21st Century: Indonesian and International Perspectives, The Hague [Eleven] 2022, pp. 117-125, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4134260 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4134260

Jan M. Smits (Contact Author)

Maastricht University Faculty of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, NL-6200 MD
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://www.jansmits.eu

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