Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 3

Legal Education Related Abstracts

3 The Lacuna in Understanding of Forensic Science amongst Law Practitioners in India

Authors: Poulomi Bhadra, Manjushree Palit, Sanjeev P. Sahni

Abstract:

Forensic science uses all branches of science for criminal investigation and trial and has increasingly emerged as an important tool in the administration of justice. However, the growth and development of this field in India has not been as rapid or widespread as compared to the more developed Western countries. For successful administration of justice, it is important that all agencies involved in law enforcement adopt an inter-professional approach towards forensic science, which is presently lacking. In light of the alarmingly high average acquittal rate in India, this study aims to examine the lack of understanding and appreciation of the importance and scope of forensic evidence and expert opinions amongst law professionals such as lawyers and judges. Based on a study of trial court cases from Delhi and surrounding areas, the study underline the areas in forensics where the criminal justice system has noticeably erred. Using this information, the authors examine the extent of forensic understanding amongst legal professionals and attempt to conclusively identify the areas in which they need further appraisal. A cross-sectional study done using a structured questionnaire was conducted amongst law professionals across age, gender, type and years of experience in court, to determine their understanding of DNA, fingerprints and other interdisciplinary scientific materials used as forensic evidence. In our study, we understand the levels of understanding amongst lawyers with regards to DNA and fingerprint evidence, and how it affects trial outcomes. We also aim to understand the factors that prevent credible and advanced awareness amongst legal personnel, amongst others. The survey identified the areas in modern and advanced forensics, such as forensic entomology, anthropology, cybercrime etc., in which Indian legal professionals are yet to attain a functional understanding. It also brings to light, what is commonly termed as the ‘CSI-effect’ in the Western courtrooms, and provides scope to study the existence of this phenomenon and its effects on the Indian courts and their judgements. This study highlighted the prevalence of unchallenged expert testimony presented by the prosecution in criminal trials and impressed upon the judicial system the need for independent analysis and evaluation of the scientist’s data and/or testimony by the defense. Overall, this study aims to define a clearer and rigid understanding of why legal professionals should have basic understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of forensic sciences. Based on the aforementioned findings, the author suggests various measures by which judges and lawyers might obtain an extensive knowledge of the advances and promising potentialities of forensic science. This includes promoting a forensic curriculum in legal studies at Bachelor’s and Master’s level as well as in mid-career professional courses. Formation of forensic-legal consultancies, in consultation with the Department of Justice, will not only assist in training police, military and law personnel but will also encourage legal research in this field. These suggestions also aim to bridge the communication gap that presently exists between law practitioners, forensic scientists and the general community’s awareness of the criminal justice system.

Keywords: Forensic Science, Legal Education, Indian legal professionals, interdisciplinary awareness

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2 Motivation, Legal Knowledge and Preference Investigation of Hungarian Law Students

Authors: Zsofia Patyi

Abstract:

While empirical studies under socialism in Hungary focused on the lawyer society as a whole, current research deals with law students in specific. The change of regime and the mutation of legal education have influenced the motivation, efficiency, social background and self-concept of law students. This shift needs to be acknowledged, and the education system improved for students and together with students. A new law student society requires a different legal education system, different legal studies, or, at the minimum, a different approach to teaching law. This is to ensure that competitive lawyers be trained who understand the constantly changing nature of the law and, as a result, can potentially transform or create legislation themselves. A number of developments can affect law students’ awareness of legal relations in a democratic state. In today’s Hungary, these decisive factors are primarily the new regulation of the financing of law students, and secondly, the new Hungarian constitution (henceforth: Alaptörvény), which has modified the base of the Hungarian legal system. These circumstances necessitate a new, comprehensive, and empirical, investigation of law students. To this end, our research team (comprising a professor, a Ph.D. student, and two law students), is conducting a new type of study in February 2017. The first stage of the research project uses the desktop method to open up the research antecedents. Afterward, a structured questionnaire draft will be designed and sent to the Head of Department of Sociology and the Associate Professor of the Department of Constitutional Law at the University of Szeged to have the draft checked and amended. Next, an open workshop for students and teachers will be organized with the aim to discuss the draft and create the final questionnaire. The research team will then contact each Hungarian university with a Faculty of Law to reach all 1st- and 4th-year law students. 1st-year students have not yet studied the Alaptörvény, while 4th-year students have. All students will be asked to fill in the questionnaire (in February). Results are expected to be in at the end of February. In March, the research team will report the results and present the conclusions. In addition, the results will be compared to previous researches. The outcome will help us answer the following research question: How should legal studies and legal education in Hungary be reformed in accordance with law students and the future lawyer society? The aim of the research is to (1) help create a new student- and career-centered teaching method of legal studies, (2) offer a new perspective on legal education, and (3) create a helpful and useful de lege ferenda proposal for the attorney general as regards legal education as part of higher education.

Keywords: Reform, Investigation, Constitution, Change, Legal Education, Legal Studies, Motivation, law students, lawyer society

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1 Competition Law as a “Must Have” Course in Legal Education

Authors: José Caramelo Gomes, Noemia Bessa Vilela

Abstract:

All law student are familiarized, in the first years of their bachelor of laws with the concepts of “public goods” and “ private goods”; often, such legal concept does not exactly match such economic concept, and there are consequences are some sort of confusion being created. The list of goods that follow under each category is not exhaustive, nor are students given proper mechanisms to acknowledge that some legal fields can, on its own, be considered as a “public good”; this is the case of Competition. Legal authors consider that “competition law is used to promote public interest” and, as such, it is a “public good”; in economics theory, Competition is the first public good in a market economy, as the enabler of allocation efficiency. Competition law is the legal tool to support the proper functioning of the market economy and democracy itself. It is fact that Competition Law only applies to economic activities, still, competition is object of private litigation as an integral part of Public Law. Still, regardless of the importance of Competition Law in the economic activity and market regulation, most student complete their studies in law, join the Bar Associations and engage in their professional activities never having been given sufficient tools to deal with the increasing demands of a globalized world. The lack of knowledge of economics, market functioning and the mechanisms at their reach in order to ensure proper realization of their duties as lawyers/ attorneys-at-law would be tackled if Competition Law would be included as part of the curricula of Law Schools. Proper teaching of Competition Law would combine the foundations of Competition Law, doctrine, case solving and Case Law study. Students should to understand and apply the analytical model. Special emphasis should be given to EU Competition Law, namely the TFEU Articles 101 to 106. Damages Directive should also be part of the curriculum. Students must in the first place acquire and master the economic rationale as competition and the world of competition law are the cornerstone of sound and efficient market. The teaching of Competition Law in undergraduate programs in Law would contribute to fulfill the potential of the students who will deal with matters related to consumer protection, economic and commercial law issues both in private practice and as in-house lawyers for companies.

Keywords: Higher Education, Law, Industrial economics, Competition law, Legal Education, market economy

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