Singh J. said,
‘specific case law I learnt about has long since become out of date but the structure and principles of law remain of lasting value. I would tentatively suggest that the academic study of law could concentrate on the following skills.
First, knowing that there is a problem and being able to identify the right questions to ask. In real life clients do not bring problems to their legal advisers which are already labelled, for example “contract” or “tort.” While it is readily understandable why legal education must divide subjects up in that way, it is helpful if a student at the end of their course appreciates that problems in practice will not come packaged in that way.
Secondly, knowing how to go about finding the answer to the question which has been identified. No lawyer can know all of the law but one of the most important transferable skills they can acquire in their legal studies is the ability to conduct legal research well.
Thirdly, a good grounding in the methods of legal reasoning, in particular the interpretation of legislation and the analysis of case law. Again this should be a transferable skill and should not depend on what particular subjects a student has chosen to study.
Fourthly, an understanding of the place of law in its historical and social setting, so that a student can appreciate how we got where we are and the way in which the law responds to social problems (whether adequately or not). ‘
As I said at the outset of this lecture I have been fortunate to have been at different times of my life a student, an academic, a practitioner and now a judge. Each of those perspectives has led me to come to the view that, while specialisation in the law is valuable, it is also important to appreciate that we operate within one legal system, in other words the unity of law.’
Singh J. said,