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Article Title

The ACLEC Report - Meeting Legal Education Needs in the 21st Century?

Abstract

The Lord Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Legal Education and Conduct (ACLEC) was established in 1991 with the remit of advising on the education and training of legal service providers.1 The Committee has a statutory duty to consider the relevancy of legal education to the needs of both practitioners and the members of the public. Their work is limited to legal education in England and Wales but, I suggest, is of relevance to jurisdictions elsewhere in the common-law world, especially in view of contemporary discussions, on the international scene, on the form and content of legal education. The last significant and comprehensive review of legal education in Britain was in 1971. The Ormrod Report of that year identified three distinct levels of development: the academic; the vocational; and continuing or post qualification legal education. As has been noted elsewhere, the distinction between these stages of the educational process has dominated both the philosophy and delivery of legal education for more than 25 years. The ACLEC committee undertook, shortly after its appointment in 1991, a review of all aspects of legal education, and through consultative papers and conferences: canvassed views from a wide range of interested parties including educational providers, government law officers, the judiciary and private legal practice. Academic research studies, both existing and commissioned, together with expert consultants, were used to supplement the consultative process. This led to the publication in April 1996 of ACLEC’s First Report on Legal Education and Training. A consultative conference on the Report was held in July 1996. A further report that deals specifically with the continuing professional development of barristers and solicitors is expected in April 1997. A consultative paper on the education and training of para-legals is to be issued at the same time.

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