Leave law alone

October 17, 2003

Nigel Bastin ("Why I think legal training has to change", THES , October 3) thinks that university law degrees should incorporate vocational training material to reduce the cost of legal education.

He seems to have forgotten that academic freedom and intellectual depth in law school programmes are already grossly compromised because of interference from professional bodies, and that many law students do not become lawyers. If the Bar and the Law Society want vocational law degrees, they can design a foundation degree in professional legal studies. Better still, tax those lawyers who earn £500,000-plus a year (and there are plenty of them) to fund means-tested bursaries. And don't be misled by his Northumbrian red herring: the four years it takes to do their integrated academic and vocational legal stages is no shorter than the three years it takes to do a standard law degree in, say, Manchester, followed by the one-year vocational course.

Andrew Sanders
Dean, Manchester University School of Law

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