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Saturday October 5, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Saturday October 5, 2013 MYT 12:01:19 PM
by shaila koshy
SUBANG JAYA: A huge problem plaguing both the legal education and profession is the poor command of English, said the Bar Council and numerous law teachers.
While the profession is also beset by an irrelevant Certificate in Legal Practice (CLP) and the Master-Pupil programme, the quality of teaching in some public and private law schools leaves much to be desired. These were the views at a public forum “Legal Education in Malaysia, The Way Foward” yesterday at Taylor’s University’s Lakeside Campus.
The common goal, at the forum organised by the Bar Council and the private university was on how to train capable lawyers for the Malaysian Bar and the Legal and Judicial Services.
The other was for all stake holders to engage with each other to address these problems.
While the moderator was Taylor’s Law School Dean, Harmahinder Singh, the panel comprised the council chairman Christopher Leong, Malaysian Qualifications Agency deputy chief executive officer (Quality Assurance) Prof Zita Fahmi, Dean of Help University’s Faculty of Law and Government Vasantha Moorthy, ATC’s Head of CLP Daniel Abishegam and Cardiff University’s Prof Richard Lewis.
Among the issues discussed was the students poor command in the English language. Leong added that the Bar helps new lawyers in improving their communication skills both in English and in Bahasa Malaysia.
Commenting on the time-old Master-Pupil scheme, Leong said it was unsuitable for law firms here where “pupils sit in a pen and work for any partner”.
Council vice-chairman Steven Thiru who later spoke on the proposed Common Bar Course, supported by the Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail, said it would do away with the outdated CLP and bring pupillage into a course that would probably run over 20 months.
On a suggestion that the entry requirement into law schools be raised, Prof Lewis demurred by saying: “High entry standards will mean law students will come from a small pool. We’re (Britain) embarking on diversity; there have been those from disadvantaged backgrounds who have shown themselves to be better at law than those from the privileged schools.”
Among other suggestions for further discussion was whether there was a need for a National Legal Education Council or whether law should be like a postgraduate degree, as in the United States.
Tags / Keywords:
Career, legal education, Common Bar Course
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