Introduce "common language" for global legal education: NUS law dean

Legal education needs a common language as the rule of law grows internationally and lawyers need to work more with their counterparts from different legal systems, said the National University of Singapore (NUS) Law dean Simon Chesterman on Thursday
Legal education needs a common language as the rule of law grows internationally and lawyers need to work more with their counterparts from different legal systems, said the National University of Singapore (NUS) Law dean Simon Chesterman on Thursday. -- ST FILE PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM

Legal education needs a "common language" as the rule of law grows internationally and lawyers need to work more with their counterparts from different legal systems. Having a common language will facilitate understanding and cooperation, said the National University of Singapore (NUS) Law dean Simon Chesterman on Thursday.

"Legal education is jurisdiction-specific in a globalised world yet it must seamlessly translate across borders because our graduates go everywhere and interact with lawyers from around the world, " he said. Prof Chesterman was speaking to about 80 law school deans from 31 countries at the opening of the first Global Law Deans' Forum.

An expected starting point for such commonality is a statement on the standards and expected outcomes of a legal education which expected to be finalised on Friday after the two-day meeting organised by by NUS Law and the International Association of Law Schools.

Some points include transparency over the admission of students and the inclusion of professional ethics as a goal of legal education, alongside proficiency in legal knowledge and skills.

One growing area reliant on cross-border interaction is the arbitration sector here, which has pushed the need for students to have a global perspective.

The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), a neutral dispute resolution institution for multinational businesses, handled a record 235 new cases last year, up from 188 in 2011.

The total sum in dispute for new cases also hit a new high of $3.61 billion - almost three times the sum of $1.32 billion in 2011.