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Legal writing as a core subject of the South African undergraduate LLB degree has been largely absent. South African scholarship on teaching legal writing skills is rare, relying mostly on foreign sources. This phenomenon of the South African legal education landscape exists despite the fact and sometimes the obvious must be statedthat every legal practitioner needs to be able to carry out legal writing in some form; it simply is a critical skill for legal practice.
This article will aim to stimulate debate and engagement among South African legal academics on the establishment of legal writing courses as core subjects in the LLB curriculum. The endeavours undertaken by the UFS have been implemented within faculty-specific constraints, many of which may be familiar to other South African legal academics.
They are not presented as the only option to solve legal writing problems and how to teach legal writing to law students. These constraints, as well as a few key notions when embarking on the design of a legal writing course as part of the LLB undergraduate programme, will therefore be briefly referred to before the UFS Faculty of Law initiative is examined in more detail.
The time for a debate on the introduction of legal writing courses as a core subject in the LLB curriculum has, however, now arisen and it is also important in the broader context of a review of tertiary legal education in South Africa. Legal Education in Crisis?
It is predicted that this failure, against the general background of an in-depth review of legal education in South Africa, may precede a change. It is with reference to the timely call by Greenbaum in particular,3 that South African legal educators should increasingly engage in scholarly discourse on legal education, that this article is offered.
The steps taken by the UFS Faculty of Law to address the teaching vacuum in respect of legal writing and other critical skills are presented for consideration in this article.
It is aimed at stimulating debate among South African legal academics on the establishment of legal writing courses as core modules in the LLB curriculum. A professional degree places more emphasis on intellectual independence and research skills,6 and is usually followed by further professional development.
A professional degree is required to enter or practise a specific profession. Legal writing exercises are the ideal way to enhance intellectual independence and to teach research skills. The development of both knowledge and skills is recognised as extremely important and vital to produce employable graduates.
All lawyers or legal practitioners need to write different forms of legal documents, opinions or letters in the course of their careers. No lawyer can function without ever having to produce a legal document.
Legal writing is thus seen as a critical lawyering skill. The nature of the current education system in South Africa renders a large number of students under- prepared for higher education,12 lacking basic writing skills and knowledge of grammar and spelling. This is largely due to the already overburdened content of the programme, and, in particular, the fact that the law degree programme changed in from a five-year postgraduate degree a three-year undergraduate B Iuris and two-year LLB, or four-year undergraduate B Proc and a one-year LLB 15 to a four-year undergraduate degree.
To reduce doctrinal modules through curriculum reform is a slow process. The curriculum reform processes started by many faculties for example, North West University, the University of Fort Hare, University of Pretoria and the University of the Free State cannot continue in isolation.
A number of role players, for example, the Department of Higher Education, the Department of Justice and the Law Society of South Africa as well as all other law faculties and stakeholders are involved in the process.
In this regard it was therefore not only heartening but a historic moment when stakeholders of the following entities met on 29 May for the LLB review summit: To replace doctrinal modules with writing and other skills modules will have to fit in with the general move within legal education, the generic LLB and the LLB programmes of the different universities.
Movement between universities or faculties must still be possible. Although legal writing modules are not traditionally part of the LLB curriculum, certain South African faculties have moved in that direction.Predictive legal writing is done in the form of a legal opinion, office memorandum, or letter to clients.
Traditionally, legal opinions may be drafted by advocates on briefed facts and directed to attorneys. The receiving attorney will then study the opinion and advise his client in accordance with the opinion. The DHA is custodian, protector and verifier of the identity and status of citizens and other persons resident in South Africa.
This makes it possible for people to realize their rights and access benefits and opportunities in both the public and private domains. By expanding these services to marginalized communities, the department plays is a key . Legal Opinion Michalsons T+ We are often asked to give our written legal opinion on a point of law.
Our opinions are practical and written in . The latest Technology news, reviews & opinion from The Age covering IT, Mobile, Internet, Social, Industrial & Research Technology and Science.
Legal opinion for South Africa region We operate an online shop with some product which requires to have legal onion to be able to sell. We have already examples, so it will be pretty easy to provide an opinion. Pre-litigation Drafting is the only up-to-date book on drafting letters of demand and legal opinions for the South African lawyer.
The book advises on effective legal writing and clearly explains the essential fundamentals of pre-action drafting.