Jury In The Digital Age

Digitalization of the legal system is often perceived to demand plenty of time, energy and dedication from a majority – if not the entirety – of the legal system. It is, however, imperative if we are to ever progress and really tackle the outdated and sluggish legal system and problems in the implementation of law.

The move towards a more computerized system of law and its record-keeping has also been suggested – and to an extent implemented – in Parliament. However, reformative technological change has been limited to law-making and will take long before being adopted fully by the judiciary and finally by lawyers, law enforcement professionals and laypersons. A technologically advanced system will not only save the legal system a lot of time and address the issue of delays in justice, it will also utilize time more efficiently and enhance access to law and justice for legal professionals as well as citizens.Continue reading “Jury In The Digital Age”

Lawyers as Scientists

In Thomas More’s seminal work, Utopia, the travelling philosopher, Raphael Hythloday, recounts a conversation he once had with a lawyer regarding the prevalence of theft in England. The lawyer had been pondering over why people continued to steal when the punishment for theft was as severe as death? Hythloday explains that people resort to theft due to an array of economic and social factors, such as increasing poverty and the ‘enclosure movement’ in England at the time. He states that until these underlying issues are resolved, people will continue to steal despite the harshness of the punishment.

Whenever I teach Utopia, I encourage my students to understand from this exchange that law does not exist independent of the social and economic framework of a country. It can only be understood within that framework. To try to cure the ills of society by simply pronouncing to “make more laws” is to expect from law far greater things than it can achieve.Continue reading “Lawyers as Scientists”

A 3-D approach to refrom of legal education

Good governance and rule of law cannot be established unless we produce ‘ready for market’ law graduates, who, in the long run, have to perform a role as legal practitioners, judges, and parliamentarians. Since the inception of Pakistan, the legal education sector has been rather inadequate. It is not surprising therefore that justice and rule of law are not in a good shape. The law schools have not been able to produce the kind of graduates who can resolve the problems in the dispensation of justice in Pakistan.

There have been a number of efforts recently on the part of the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan and the Pakistan Bar Council to raise the standards of legal education in the country. The Supreme Court of Pakistan too has nudged the legal education sector but the approach has been 2-D and the main stakeholders – universities – have not been heard at all.

A 3-D approach involving universities and introducing reforms in the legal education sector would be very fruitful. The HEC would do a big favour to future generations by increasing funding for law schools. Law school teachers must focus on adopting the latest teaching methodologies. Using technology tools for teaching law, mooting and above all law clinics to produce ready-for-market advocates are the need of the times in Pakistan. Centralized training for law professors could be a good intervention. The HEC can play the role of a facilitator. The country does not have a culture of legal research. There is not a single law journal registered with the HEC. The HEC must treat law as a separate discipline.Continue reading “A 3-D approach to refrom of legal education”