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Pre-admission legal education in South Africa : an assessment of the dominant patterns influencing the transmission of legal knowledge.

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The purpose of this study was to narrate the major influences shaping the construction and transmission of legal knowledge in South Africa. The paper contends that these influences revolved around the role of the state, the profession, and the university law schools. The conceptual framework informing the study was the place of values in policy measures intimately affecting legal education. The values connection is contextual and not formal or abstract. It is the politics of legal education. The study revisited the site of the current debates in legal education, that of the divide between practical and academic education/training, and the staging of academic and professional education. Particular attention was also paid to the considerations allowed in determining the content of law studies. The role of legal education and training in promoting adversarialism and litigiousness was addressed. Of the three major stakeholders in legal education, the state wields more influence than others. The fresh political dispensation in the country has further supported the state's intervention in legal education. Most of the policies introduced by the state revolve around the enhancement of opportunities for the previously disadvantaged to gain access to legal education. The spate of . government measures in this regard is still growing. The effects of government policy measures like the Outcomes-based Education, the under preparedness of a segment of the student population for law study, admission of more students in the face of tension between a 'mass' and ' elite' system, and the growing diversity in the law schools, are some of the social factors identified in this study. The study concluded with an expression of optimism in the system even in face of frictions and tensions, As envisaged for this exercise, a number of the issues identified were not fully explored. .It is expected that further research may be conducted to determine the far reaching consequences of the factors thus identified.


Thesis (LL.M.)-University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 1998.


Law--Study and Teaching--South Africa., Theses--Law.