Isolationism, democratisation and globalisation: Legal education in a developing country

Laurence Boulle*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingOther chapter contributionResearch


This chapter examines and compares three stages of legal education in a jurisdiction undergoing intense political, social and economic changes. In all three stages, social and economic imperatives in South Africa induced changes in structural features of the broader society and in national political philosophies, as well as in the societal functions of the legal system. Legal education responded more slowly than the other factors, initially afflicted by insularity and inertia. However, the internal pressures introduced by the advent of constitutional democracy, and the external influences of economic globalisation combined to induce changes of both endogenous and exogenous varieties in legal education. The focus of this chapter centres around the connection between legal education and the societal functions of a system of law within its specific time, territory and social circumstances, and between the social functions of law and national political philosophies. Neither national political philosophies, nor the societal functions of law, nor the legal education system itself, are ever mono-faceted in nature, and reference is made to key variations within all three regimes which challenge their dominant paradigms. For this reason it is appropriate to conclude with reference to themes of both continuity and discontinuity within South Africa’s evolving system of legal education. Table 3.1 provides a snapshot of national political philosophies, the societal functions of law and the features of legal education.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Internationalisation of Legal Education
Subtitle of host publicationThe Future Practice of Law
EditorsW van Caenegem, M Hiscock
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781783474547
ISBN (Print)9781783474530
Publication statusPublished - 29 Aug 2014


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