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Education Panel 3: Comparative Law in Cultural and Interdisciplinary Context

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Published on Mar 13, 2012

This session moved beyond the study of comparative laws and legal systems as such and asked whether students can truly understand comparative laws and legal systems without immersion into the broader cultural framework within which laws and legal systems operate, and, if not, to consider the curricular implications. For example, can comparative law be fully understood without reading materials in the language of other nations, and if not, should part of the comparative law curriculum include instruction in languages other than English? More broadly, what is the place of historical and sociological background in comparative law courses? How important is it for students to understand the role of law in a particular culture and attitudes towards law within that culture? How do the cultural differences with regard to law affect negotiations or transactions? Does introducing foreign languages and cultural frameworks move beyond the competence of a law school, or might there be significant advantage found in using a broadly conceived comparative law curriculum as a wedge to develop intercultural competence for attorneys expected to practice in an era of increasing globalization?

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