ROADMAP FOR A TRULY CANADIAN LEGAL EDUCATION
Keywords: Aboriginal Law, Legal Education, Civil Law, National Requirement
AbstractThe National Mobility Agreement 2013, a praiseworthy initiative of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, will come into force following implementation by each law society. In the words of the Federation, this agreement “will extend the mobility provisions to permit Canadian lawyers to transfer between Quebec and the common law provinces with ease regardless of whether they are trained in Canadian common law or civil law.” To give full effect to this initiative, a basic understanding of Canada’s legal diversity is arguably required. In order to determine the importance placed by Canadian law schools on courses emphasizing Canada’s legal diversity, the relevant course content of twenty law schools during the 2011-12 and 2012-13 academic years was surveyed. The objective was to identify optional and compulsory courses relating to: a) Aboriginal law; b) Introduction to Canadian common law and Quebec civil law, offered in the context of stand-alone or comparative law courses; c) Statutory interpretation, specifically the interpretation of bilingual statutes and of bijural or harmonized federal legislation. The survey reveals that there are major gaps in this regard and that this could affect the competence of law graduates. Part 1 of the article spotlights the targeted courses available during the survey period. In Part 2, the author comments on the survey results and describes how law schools could easily incorporate course content that takes into consideration Canada’s diversified legal environment. In the event that law schools fail to act, the Federation should take the initiative since national mobility and knowledge of other legal systems, including knowledge of Canada’s common law and civil law systems, go hand in hand. The Federation cannot foster the one and ignore the other,particularly given the duty of all lawyers to be competent in the tasks that they undertake.
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