The introduction of law school in japan
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The Introduction of Law School in Japan. Shigenori Matsui University of British Columbia, Faculty of Law June 22, 2007. Introduction. Legal education in Japan was provided in the past at the undergraduate level. In 2004, however, new law school system was introduced.

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The introduction of law school in japan

The Introduction of Law School in Japan

Shigenori Matsui

University of British Columbia,

Faculty of Law

June 22, 2007


Introduction

Introduction

  • Legal education in Japan was provided in the past at the undergraduate level.

  • In 2004, however, new law school system was introduced.

  • What was the background for this introduction of new law school? How different is this new law school system? Was the introduction of new law school system a success or a failure?


1 traditional legal education in japan

1.Traditional Legal Education in Japan

  • Traditional Legal Education

    • Legal education was provided at the undergraduate level in the past.

    • There are 93 law faculties and roughly 45,000 students entered law faculties every year.

    • Four-year course.

    • Focus was placed on learning six codes.

    • Main teaching method was lecturing.


The introduction of law school in japan

  • The most important characteristic of traditional legal education in Japan was separation between university legal education and professional practical training.

    • Those who wanted to become lawyers must pass the National Bar Examination.


The introduction of law school in japan

  • Traditional Bar Examination

    • The first examination to test the liberal arts knowledge. Those who have finished liberal arts course in the University are exempted from this first examination.

    • The second, law examination consists of multiple-choice examination, essay examination, and oral examination.


The introduction of law school in japan

  • Those who passed the National Bar Examination must enroll at the Judicial Training and Research Institute (Institute) administered by the Supreme Court of Japan for practical training.

  • Practical training at the Institute consisted of 4 month class works, 16 months field training at civil department of district court, criminal department of district court, prosecutors’ office and law firms, and 4 months class training.

  • Those who successfully completed all practical training can take the final examination and whose who pass this examination could become judges, prosecutors, or attorneys.


The introduction of law school in japan

  • Rigorousness of the National Bar Examination

    • Only 500 out of 20,000 to 30,000 applicants could pass the examination.

    • The average age for passing the examination was 28.

    • The passing rate was less than 2%.

  • Large number of law students do not become lawyers. They rather become civil servants or company workers. The legal education at law faculty was not designed either to provide legal education to students who want to become lawyers or to provide professional legal education.


The introduction of law school in japan

  • Problems in Traditional Legal Education

    • The focus of legal education was obscure.

      • Too basic for students who want to challenge the National Bar Examination.

      • Too complicated for students who want to become civil servants or company workers.

      • Too boring for students who entered law faculty believing that the law faculty is the best faculty to seek employment.


The introduction of law school in japan

  • The traditional legal education system could produce very small number of lawyers.

    • The total number of attorneys in Japan was 13,800 in 1990, 15,108 in 1995, and 21,185 in 2005.

    • Although the number of persons who pass the examination was gradually increased, the number of lawyers remained very small.

      • 1991 6001993 700

      • 1998 9001999 1,000


The introduction of law school in japan

  • International Comparison (1997)

    • Country number population number of

      • of lawyersratio new lawyers

  • Japan 20,000 6,300 700

  • United States 941,000 29057,000

  • United Kingdom 83,000 710 4,900

  • Germany111,000 740 9,800

  • France 36,000 1,640 2,400


The introduction of law school in japan

  • There was no institution to provide professional legal education.

    • Legal education at university law faculty was not designed to provide professional legal education.

    • Practical training at the Institute was apprenticeship premised upon the assumption that those who passed the examination already had necessary legal skills.

    • Absence of opportunity to learn basic legal skills.


The introduction of law school in japan

  • Influence of cram school.

    • Because of the rigorousness of the National Bar Examination, and because the university law faculty cannot provide education necessary to pass the Examination, many law students went to cram school to prepare for the Examination.

    • There are significant shortfalls in the cram school education.


2 introduction of law school system

2. Introduction of Law School System

  • The Road to the Introduction

    • There was a concern as to the rigorousness of the National Bar Examination.

    • Yet, the small number of lawyers in Japan was praised as a virtue of the Japanese society, especially in 1980s, when Japan’s economy was so strong.

    • In 1990s, however, the increasing number of people came to call for judicial reform and for increase of number of lawyers.


The introduction of law school in japan

  • The business associations called for the strengthening of judicial system and for the increase of number of lawyers.

    • Economists’ Fellowship Association 1994

    • The Federation of Economic Organizations 1997

    • The Liberal Democratic Party 1998


The introduction of law school in japan

  • The Diet passed the Act to Establish the Council for Judicial Reform (Council) to advise on judicial reform.

    • An interim report in 2,000

    • The final report in 2001

      • Proposed the establishment of law schools and the introduction of new bar examination system.

      • To increase the number of new lawyers to 3,000 in 2010 and to target to increase the total number of lawyers to 50,000 by 2018


The introduction of law school in japan

  • In 2002, the Diet passed necessary legislation for the introduction of law school.

  • In 2003, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (Mext) published standard for establishing professional graduate school including law school.

  • Granted approval to 68 law schools for 2004.

  • On April 1, 2004, 68 law schools started operation admitting 5,767 students.

  • Currently, there are 74 law schools, accepting 5,825 students.


The introduction of law school in japan

  • The background for the introduction of law school

    • Burst of bubble economy in 1990s

    • The call for administrative reform and deregulation

    • The necessity of strengthening the judiciary

    • The need for increased number of lawyers

    • Many Japanese companies faced negotiations and legal fights with foreign companies, especially American companies, and felt the necessity of lawyers to cope with American lawyers.


The introduction of law school in japan

  • Supporting Views

    • There are wide support for the introduction of law school as a professional graduate school.

    • There are need to provide professional legal education and to make sure most of the law school students (at least 80 to 85%) can pass the bar examination.

    • Yet, there was disagreement as to whether the undergraduate legal education should be kept or it should be converted into liberal arts education.

    • There was also disagreement as to whether the Institute should be abolished.


The introduction of law school in japan

  • Opposing Views

    • There are doubt as to the necessity of increasing the number of lawyers.

    • Introduction of law school system was criticized as totally distorting the openness of the National Bar Examination.

    • There are wide support for undergraduate legal education. Many doubted whether introduction of American style graduate law school is necessary.

    • There are also fear that the Mext fully controls the legal education in law schools.


The introduction of law school in japan

  • A Compromise Was Reached

    • The law school system was introduced based on the compromise between those different opinions.

    • The law school should be established as a professional graduate school. The regular course should be three-year course and the graduates of law school are eligible to take new bar examination. The current bar examination should be continued until 2010. After 2011, it is only graduates of law school that are eligible to take the new bar examination, but there should be bypass procedure which would enable those who could not enter law school to take the new bar examination.


The introduction of law school in japan

  • The undergraduate legal education at law faculty should be kept. Since it would be likely that many of the students who enter law school would be graduates of law faculty, the law school should be allowed to have expedited two-year course for those students who have basic knowledge in law.

  • The Institute should be kept and those who pass the new bar examination should enroll at the Institute for one-year practical training.

  • Those who successfully completed the practical training at the Institute should become judges, prosecutors, and attorneys.


3 current law school system

3. Current Law School System

  • The purpose of law school

    • Law school was established as a professional graduate school.

    • The purpose of law school is to provide professional legal education as a process.

    • Graduates of law school should be granted J.D. degree.

    • The regular course of law school should be three-year course, and law students are supposed to acquire more than 93 credit for graduation. But law school is allowed to exempt up to 30 credits to those students who had basic knowledge in law before entering law school and create expedited two-year course.


The introduction of law school in japan

  • Admission should be based on principles of fairness, openness and diversity.

    • Law school must establish admission policy based on principles of fairness, openness and diversity.

    • No examination on legal subjects should be imposed for three-year course students. Yet, law school can impose examination on legal knowledge for two-year course students.

    • All applicants must take the Law School Aptitude Test.

    • Law school must admit certain number of students who had social experience.


The introduction of law school in japan

  • Faculty

    • The minimum number of permanent faculty members of law school should be 12 and the maximum ratio between one faculty member to law students should be 15.

    • One third of permanent faculty members could be counted as permanent faculty members of other department during first ten years.

    • At least 20% of faculty members should be practitioners who have more than five years of experience.


The introduction of law school in japan

  • Curriculum

    • Curriculum of law school is divided into the following subjects:

      • Basic legal subjects

      • Basic practical subjects

      • Legal theory and related subjects

      • Advanced subjects

    • Education of law school should be conducted in small classes. Maximum class size should be 50 for basic legal subjects.

    • Teaching method should be interactive and multi-dimensional.


The introduction of law school in japan

  • The number of students law school accepts varies.

    • Largest law schools

      • Tokyo University Law School, Waseda University Law School, and Chuo University Law School accept 300 student per year.

    • Other Large Law Schools

      • Keio University Law School accepts 260 students and Kyoto University Law School and Meiji University Law School accept 200

    • Many law schools accept 50 to 60 students.

    • The smallest law schools accept only 30 students.


The introduction of law school in japan

  • There are two different types of admission.

    • Some law schools divide the number of students for three-year course and two-year course and impose different examinations

    • Some law schools admit students into three-year course and then, upon different examination, exempt first year and make it two-year course.


The introduction of law school in japan

  • The ratio of three-year course students and two-year course students varies.

    • Tokyo University accepts 200 two-year course students while accepting only 100 three-year students.

    • Many law schools accept more two-year course students than three-year course students.

    • Waseda University Law School admitted 312 students in 2004 and two-year course students were only 27.

    • Omiya Law School accepts only 100 three-year course students.


The introduction of law school in japan

  • For 2004, 68 law schools opened their doors to 5,590 students. The total of 72,800 applied for admission and 5,767 were admitted. The passing rate was 7.8%. Three-year course students were 2,350 and two-year course students were 3,417. 3,884 of all students admitted, 65%,were graduates of law faculty. 2,792 of all students admitted, 48.4%, had social experience.


The introduction of law school in japan

  • For 2005, 74 law schools accepted 5,825 students. The total number of applicants was 41,756 and 5,544 were admitted. The passing rate was 12%. Three-year course students were 2,063 and two-year course students were 3,481. 3,884 of all students admitted, 70.1%, were graduates of law faculties. 2,091 of all students admitted, 37.7%, had social experience.


The introduction of law school in japan

  • New Bar Examination

    • Those who successfully graduated from law school are eligible to take new bar examination.

    • They can take an examination only three times within five years after graduation.

    • New bar examination consists of multiple-choice examination and essay examination.

    • Public law, civil law, and criminal law are required subjects. The applicant must also select one of the selective subjects.


The introduction of law school in japan

  • Practical training at the Institute

    • Those who successfully pass the new bar examination must enroll at the Institute for one-year practical training.

      • 8 months field training at the civil department of district court, criminal department of district court, prosecutors’ office and law firms

      • 2 months for selective practical training.

      • 2 months for collective supplementary class study.

      • Those who successfully finished all practical training can take the final examination. Those who pass this final examination can graduate the Institute to become judges, prosecutors, or attorneys.


4 preliminary evaluation and future agenda

4. Preliminary Evaluation and Future Agenda

  • Contribution of Law School

    • Introduction of law school system contributed to the provision of professional legal education to lawyers.

    • It has also contributed to the increase of number of lawyers.

    • It has also contributed to the increase of lawyers who have wider knowledge other than law.


The introduction of law school in japan

  • Problem of arbitrary cap on the number of lawyers to be admitted

    • The most important problem facing law school system is the fact that the number of persons who could pass the new bar examination was already decided by the Government and is not going to be decided by the market.

    • 900 to 1,000 for 2006 and 3,000 in 2010.

    • Hardly a sufficient number to catch up the target.

    • The existence of the Institute serves to limit the number of persons who could pass the examination.

    • Despite the fact that bar examination is to judge the qualification, the number of persons who could pass the examination is decided by the limits of the Institute.


The introduction of law school in japan

  • The result of the first new bar examination in 2006. 1,009 have passed the examination out of 2,137 applicants. The passing rate was 48%.

    • Despite the initial supposition that 80% to 85% of law school students should be able to pass the examination, the actual result was lower than expectation. It is speculated that the passing rate for the 2007 examination would be less than 30%.

    • Some law schools did not have any successful students.


The introduction of law school in japan

  • “American-style” law school transformed into Japanese-style

    • 70% of all law school students are graduates of law faculty. Many of them enter law school as two-year course students and must finish law school in two years.

    • They do not have any professional legal education before entering law school and it is doubtful whether they can acquire necessary legal skills in two years.

    • 30% of law school students do not have any knowledge in law before entering law school and learn law in the first year to catch up with law faculty graduates who have four years of legal education. Law schools tend to offer them theoretical education during the first year and prefer lecturing style in large classes.


The introduction of law school in japan

  • Many law schools tend to start case method only in the second year of three-year course and in the first year of two-year course.

  • It is doubtful whether introduction of case method in this stage works to give sufficient legal skills.

  • Many of the law professors in Japan were trained in Germany and in France and they are not used to Socratic method. Many thus tend to keep lecturing style.


The introduction of law school in japan

  • Law schools in Japan do not offer opportunity to learn legal practice.

    • Course to educate legal research, writing, and advocacy were limited.

    • No summer jobs

    • Externship or lawyering course is also limited.


The introduction of law school in japan

  • Effects of low passing rate of new bar examination

    • It chills the future applicants to law schools.

    • Some of law schools will have extreme difficulty of attracting applicants and may face shutting down.

    • Law school students are focused on just passing bar examination. They tend to focus on subjects of the bar examination and tend to neglect the practical subjects or advanced subjects. Moreover, they tend to focus on answering examination questions.


The introduction of law school in japan

  • The future of law school in Japan

    • The need to increase the number of persons who could pass the new bar examination. At least 85% of all graduates of law schools should pass the examination.

    • The need to abolish the Institute or to increase the number of persons who could be accepted at the Institute.

    • The need to abolish undergraduate legal education.

    • The need to limit the bypass procedure.


Conclusion

Conclusion

  • Maybe too early to say whether the introduction of law school in Japan was a success or a failure.

  • It surely contributed a lot to provision of professional legal education.

  • Yet, unless the number of persons who could pass the new bar examination is radically increased, the prospect of law school in Japan is not bright.

  • Need to watch closely the further development.


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