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    The theme of the special issue of Law and Method on Education in (Professional) Legal Ethics consists both of content-related as well as didactical-oriented contributions, of which most are written in the Dutch language and two are written in the English language. The content-related approaches show that in education in legal ethics use can be made of professional standards, constitutional principles as well as general ethical theories (such as utilitarianism, deontology, and virtue ethics). Because lawyers work with ‘the law’, broader or narrower conceptions of law (in relation to morality) also affect legal reasoning and are therefore relevant to education in professional legal ethics. However, these approaches are also put into perspective: the leap forward from moral reasoning based on abstract core values and ethical principles to morally correct action in concrete moral dilemmas in legal practice is a large one. Several solutions are proposed: I. teach ethics indirectly, stressing the importance of facts and of professional role consciousness, and of the importance of formal and informal respect for all concerned, as an essential part of the professional lawyers’ role (Kaptein – written in English); II. use insights from social psychology to overcome barriers to actual ethical behaviour (Becker and Mackor); III. use dialogues about case studies that demonstrate different aspects of judicial ethics for judges (Brenninkmeijer&Bish – written in English) or IV. give (to future governmental lawyers) context-sensitive bottom-up moral dilemmas to enhance realism, alertness and role resistance against opposing forces (Van Lochem). A relevant theme in the didactical approaches to legal ethics is the absence or limited practical professional experience law students have, so that, for example, conversation techniques based on personal experience have limited value. At university level, this can be remedied to some extent by reinforcing one’s own experience, i.e. experiential learning, or by bringing the experiences of others into the classroom, for example with guest lecturers from the field, or by telling and discussing fictional or true stories (Van Dongen & Tigchelaar). Education at university gives a good starting point for (professional) legal ethics, followed by post-academic legal ethics education and legal practice as lifelong learning school. A contribution with a focus on the notary (Waaijer) highlights the different approaches within this continuum.


Emanuel van Dongen
Dr. Emanuel van Dongen is Assistant Professor Private Law at the Molengraaff Institute for Private Law, researcher at the Utrecht Centre for Accountability and Liability Law and the Montaigne Centre for Rule of Law and Administration of Justice, Utrecht School of Law.

Jet Tigchelaar
Dr. Jet Tigchelaar, Assistent Professor Legal Theory, researcher at Utrecht Centre for European Research into Family Law, Utrecht School of Law.
Artikel

Access_open Professional Ethics for Judges – Lessons Learned from the Past. Dialogue as Didactics to Develop Moral Leadership for Judges

Special Issue on Education in (Professional) Legal Ethics, ­Emanuel van Dongen & Jet Tigchelaar (eds.)

Journal Law and Method, July 2021
Keywords professional ethics, ethical dilemmas, judiciary, independence
Authors Alex Brenninkmeijer and Didel Bish
AbstractAuthor's information

    There is an intimate link between good conduct by judges and the rule of law. The quintessence of their role is that judges shape a trustworthy and fair legal system from case to case. Ethical trading is not carved in granite, and judges must determine their course on different levels. First, it concerns personal conduct and requires integrity and reliability. On the second level, the challenge is to achieve proper adjudication by conducting a fair trial in accordance with professional standards. Third, judges exercise discretion, in which normative considerations run the risk of becoming political. They should act independently as one of the players in the trias politica. A triptych of past cases illustrate moral dilemmas judges may encounter in their profession. Calibrating the ethical compass is not an abstract or academic exercise. A dialogue at the micro (internal), meso (deliberation in chambers) and macro levels (court in constitutional framework) could be incorporated in the legal reasoning as a didactic framework to make future judges aware of their ethical challenges.


Alex Brenninkmeijer
A.F.M. Brenninkmeijer, PhD is Member of the European Court of Auditors, Luxembourg. Professor of Institutional Aspects of the Rule of Law at Utrecht University.

Didel Bish
D.A. Bish, LLM is a trainee at the European Court of Auditors, Luxembourg.
Artikel

Access_open Blended Learning in Legal Education

Using Scalable Learning to Improve Student Learning

Journal Law and Method, May 2020
Keywords legal education, blended learning, Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, student learning
Authors Mr.dr. Emanuel van Dongen and Dr. Femke Kirschner
AbstractAuthor's information

    Education should be aimed at supporting student learning. ICT may support student learning. It also may help students to learn and increase their involvement and thus their efforts. Blended learning has the potential to improve study behaviour of students, thus becoming an indispensable part of their education. It may improve their preparation level, and as a result, face-to-face education will be more efficient and more profound (e.g. by offering more challenging tasks), lifting the learning process to a higher level. Moreover, the interaction between students and teachers may be improved by using ICT. A necessary condition to lift students’ learning to a higher (better: deeper) learning level is that all students acquire basic knowledge before they engage in face-to-face teaching. In a First-Year Course Introduction to Private Law, we recently introduced a Scalable Learning environment. This environment allows the acquiring and testing of factual knowledge at individual pace, in a modern and appealing way (independent of time and place). The link between offline and online education during face-to-face teaching is made by using Learning Analytics, provided by the Scalable Learning environment. After the implementation of Scalable Learning, a survey on its effect on learning has been performed by means of questionnaires. The results were compared at the beginning and at the end of the course, related to the approaches taken by teachers as well as to the exam results. This article presents the outcomes of this study.


Mr.dr. Emanuel van Dongen
Mr.dr. Emanuel van Dongen, Department of Law, Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance, Utrecht University.

Dr. Femke Kirschner
Dr. Femke Kirschner works as Educational Consultant at the Educational Development and Training, Utrecht University.
Artikel

Access_open Grondslagen en methoden van juridisch onderwijs

Journal Law and Method, 2012
Keywords onderwijsmethode, theorieconcepties, Europeanisering, methodologische dilemma’s
Authors René Foqué
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article aims at elucidating some methodological dilemmas which should be taken seriously in legal education. It also aims at articulating the process of how these dilemmas emerged both historically and philosophically. The article starts with the observation that our Western legal systems are rooted in a specific theoretical tradition which can be described as being twofold. In a first already ancient (pre-philosophical) conception, theory finds its nexus both in experience and in narrativity, whereas a more modern conception of theory focuses on logical and conceptual coherence, building a system of professional knowledge. The author argues for a combination of both theoretical conceptions as complementary cornerstones of legal educational programs.The twofold theoretical background of our Western legal tradition can offer us a welcome and fruitful basis for dealing with some important methodological dilemmas: an anascopic (from action to institution) vs a katascopic (from institution to action) approach; deductive vs inductive reasoning; problem-oriented thinking vs systems thinking; case based/case oriented vs doctrinal/conceptual thinking. The author argues for a dialectical complementarity between the respective poles of these dilemmas.Finally, the author argues for introducing – already in an early stage of the program –European Union legal thinking as a challenging laboratory ‘in action’ for searching a reflective equilibrium in dealing with the aforementioned methodological dilemmas.


René Foqué
René Foqué is emeritus hoogleraar in de rechtsfilosofie en rechtstheorie aan de Faculteiten Rechtsgeleerdheid van de Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven en de Erasmus Universiteit te Rotterdam. Aan het European Inter University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation te Venetië doceert hij philosophy of human rights.
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