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The first law schools in Europe

The foundations of the first universities in Europe were the glossators of the 11th century, which were schools of law. The first European university, that of Bologna, was founded as a school of law by four famous legal scholars in the 12th century who were students of the glossator school in that city. It is from this history that it is said that the first academic title of doctor applied to scholars of law. The University of Bologna served as the model for other law schools of the medieval age. While it was common for students of law to visit and study at schools in other countries, such was not the case with England because of the English rejection of Roman Law and although Oxford did teach canonical law, its importance was always superior to civil law in that institution.

Legal education in the mother land of common law (England)

In England in 1292 when Edward I first requested that lawyers be trained students merely sat in the courts and observed, but over time the students would hire professionals to lecture them in their residences, which led to the institution of the Inns of Court system. The original method of education at the Inns of Court was a mix of moot court-like practice and lecture, as well as court proceedings observation. By the 17th century, the Inns obtained a status as a kind of university akin to Oxford and Cambridge, though very specialized in purpose. With the frequent absence of parties to suits during the [Crusades], the importance of the lawyer role grew tremendously, and the demand for lawyers grew. The apprenticeship program for solicitors thus emerged, structured and governed by the same rules as the apprenticeship programs for the trades Oxford and Cambridge did not see common law as worthy of study, and included coursework in law only in the context of canon and civil law and for the purpose of the study of philosophy or history only, therefore they did not train lawyers. Professional training in England was unlike that of continental Europe, where it was viewed as an academic discipline, and stressed practical training.

The training of solicitors by apprenticeship was formally established by an act of parliament in 1729. William Blackstone became the first lecturer of law at Oxford in 1753, but the university did not establish the program for the purpose of professional study, and the lectures were very philosophical and theoretical in nature. Blackstone insisted that the study of law should be university based, where concentration on foundational principles can be had, instead of concentration on detail and procedure had through apprenticeship and the Inns of Court.

The Inns of Court continued but became less effective and admission to the bar still did not require any significant educational activity or examination, therefore in 1846 the Parliament examined the education and training of prospective barristers and found the system to be inferior to the legal education provided in Europe and the United States. Therefore, formal schools of law were called for, but not finally established until later in the century, and even then the bar did not consider a university degree in admission decisions.

 


Date: 2015-01-02; view: 842


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