THE FOUR-YEAR LLB PROGRAMME AND THE EXPECTATIONS OF LAW STUDENTS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF KWAZULU-NATAL AND NELSON MANDELA METROPOLITAN UNIVERSITY: SOME PRELIMINARY RESULTS FROM A SURVEY
Keywords:skills and values education, LLB degree, knowledge, skills and values
After the 1994 elections the Ministry of Justice convened several legal forums to deal with the legislative and other changes required to make the transition from minority rule to a broad-based democracy. The forums examined different aspects of legal practice, legal qualifications and legal education (see for instance, Ministry of Justice Legal Forum on Legal Education: Proceedings (1995)). The legal education forums were attended by the law deans of all the law faculties in the country. By 1997 there was agreement by the deans – albeit reluctantly by some – that the Baccalaureus Legum (LLB) degree in South Africa should be modified from a three-year postgraduate to a four-year undergraduate programme (McQuoid-Mason “Developing the Law Curriculum to Meet the Needs of the 21st Century Practitioner: A South African Perspective” 2004 Obiter 101). The deans made a number of recommendations regarding the new law curriculum, but there was no mandatory uniform law curriculum requirement. Each university had the freedom to decide what it should include in its programme. The deans only made recommendations – their suggestions were not binding (McQuoid-
Mason “Message from the Chairperson of the Board of Control, Durban School” Law Society of South Africa and University of Natal School for Legal Practice: Commemorative Brochure 1994-1998 (1998) 14-15; and cf Iya “The Legal System and Legal Education in South Africa: Past Influences and Current Challenges” 2001 Journal of Legal Education 355). The deans reached consensus that the new law degree should take into account that: South African law exists in and applies to a pluralistic society; students should acquire skills appropriate to the practice of law during the course of their degree; and law faculties should strive to inculcate ethical values into their students. In addition to the traditional core courses taught in the three-year LLB programme the deans recommended that a number of new skills courses should be introduced. The decision as to which courses should be included in the curriculum was left to individual law faculties (McQuoid-Mason 2004 Obiter 101).
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