University of the Free State (SOUTH AFRICA)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN13 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Pages: 4913-4920
ISBN: 978-84-616-3822-2
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2013
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Legal writing as a subject has been largely absent from the South African under graduate LLB curriculum, despite the fact that every legal practitioner needs to be able to perform legal writing in some or other form. Literature on current trends in international schools of law reveals that a full-fledged course in legal writing is, as a standard procedure, included in the undergraduate degree programme. Even though some South African law faculties are yet to respond to this trend, others – including the Faculty of Law at the University of the Free State (UFS) – have slowly started to include aspects of a potential legal writing course in the broad rubric of a subject known as Legal Practice, with some positive results. However, in teaching these courses, it has become apparent that – apart from ‘practical skills’ modules – traditional theory subjects could also play a crucial role in achieving the ideals of teaching effective advocacy in a holistic manner. The debate on how this may be achieved is however noticeably absent from the academic discourse on the general restructuring and transformation of the LLB curriculum. This failure to have a proper discourse on how to inculcate many important legal skills through subjects that have traditionally conveyed theory of law alone means that valuable opportunities to broaden the skills base of the country’s law students are lost. With reference to the steps taken by the UFS Faculty of Law to address the teaching vacuum in respect of legal writing, this paper is thus to promote the ‘staggered’ introduction of components of legal writing into the LLB curriculum has become imperative.
Skills development, legal writing.