Cross-Examining English-Medium Legal Education

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John Terry Dundon


Increasingly, English is being used as a medium of instruction in law schools around the world, even in countries that do not use English in their legal systems. This paper examines three related research questions about this phenomenon. First, it explores why these law schools are choosing to deliver law degrees in English, notwithstanding the discrepancy between the language of instruction and the languages in which local laws are written. Next, it assesses how English is actually being used in law school classrooms, and what other institutional changes appear to be occurring at the same time. Finally, it examines what, if anything, can be said about the effect that English-medium instruction may be having on student content achievement. Many elements of these research questions appear to be unanswered by research in either applied linguistics or legal education, and directions for future empirical research are therefore suggested.

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English-medium instruction, law schools, legal education, language policy
APPLE Award Winning Papers in AL & TESOL