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Legal Education and the Democratic Imagination

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Ian Ward


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Two intrinsically related questions continue to shape current debate regarding legal education - what is a law school for and what should a law school be teaching? And at their very heart can be found the controversial matter of inter-disciplinarity, the extent to which the study of law can be better served by reaching beyond narrow perceptions of the 'law' and the 'core' curriculum so beloved by the academic antiquarian. The purpose of this article, based on a plenary address given at the United Kingdom Centre for Legal Education (UKCLE) in January 2009, is to argue the case for strong inter-disciplinarity in legal education. The argument is made not just in terms of pedagogic merit, but in terms of democratic responsibility too; an educational imperative most famously associated perhaps with the work of John Dewey, and then more recently with that of Martha Nussbaum. It will be further argued that the case for inter-disciplinary jurisprudence is strongest where the law itself seems weakest. And we are presently living at a time where the law, understood in terms of basic principles of liberal democratic legalism, appears to be alarmingly weak.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ward I

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Law and Humanities

Year: 2009

Volume: 3

Issue: 1

Pages: 87-112

ISSN (print): 1752-1483

ISSN (electronic): 1752-1491

Publisher: Hart Publishing Ltd.