LUMS is keen to provide high quality, socially relevant and cutting-edge legal education through its Law and Policy Programme. This highly significant step is motivated towards 'provision of legal education for legal reform' in the context of globalisation and the emerging global scenario. In other words, LUMS has set up a centre of excellence for law and policy studies, which not only addresses and provides meaningful solutions for pressing ground realities but is capable of offering international standard legal education, research and policy analysis, which is in tune with the latest developments in these fields in the global arena.
LUMS strongly adheres to the ideal that provision of quality education is meaningless unless it actually contributes towards social and economic development. The Law and Policy Programme endeavours to offer not just excellent professional education and research output but hopes to play a highly positive and productive role in bringing about social change and reform in the legal system, promoting social responsibility, simulating intellectual dialogue and debate, providing informed input to regulation and policy making and strengthening the legal profession and judicial institutions for the better promotion of justice and greater national and regional growth and progress.
THE STRUCTURE OF THE PROGRAMME AND THE NATURE OF THE DEGREE OFFERED
The Law and Policy Programme is currently governed and run by the autonomous Department of Law and Policy at the Mushtaq Ahmed Gurmani School of Humanities and Social Sciences (MGSHSS). The programme is overseen by the head of department and comprises 8 to 9 full-time core faculty members. The Department of Law and Policy will grow into an autonomous School of Law within the next three years under the LUMS umbrella. The B.A-LL.B is the first as well as the core law degree offered by the Law and Policy Programme and other advanced degrees may be offered as the Programme grows and matures.
The Programme offers a unique five-year joint-degree of BA- LL.B. This allows the students to spend the first two years of the Programme towards getting a thorough grounding in the essential academic prerequisites for a sound legal training i.e. subjects such as politics, economics, history, philosophy, sociology, finance & accounting etc., as well as vital communication and computer skills.
Over the next three years, the students will undergo a rigorous exposure to fundamental and specialised subjects in law as well as exciting new inter-disciplinary areas such as law and economics, regulation, and policy making which are now being offered at the leading law schools of the world. The mode of teaching involves internationally proven techniques such as case studies, the Socratic Method and multiple clinical courses with an overall emphasis on developing a critical and analytical approach to the law. One of the essential hallmarks of this initiative is its commitment to research and the dedicated full-time as well as adjunct/visiting faculty associated with the Programme who are expected to develop quality textbooks/teaching materials as well as to engage in regular research projects.
THE DISTINCTIVE ADVANTAGE OF THE LUMS DEGREE
The law programme possesses several distinctive benefits and synergies that emerge due to the launch of such an initiative from the LUMS platform. The Law and Policy programme housed in the LUMS environment, culture and facilities is highly likely to deliver academic excellence and a degree with a market and societal relevance. Such a nexus also provides exciting possibilities of inter-disciplinary learning through specially structured courses and research and joint degree programmes between the Law and Policy Programme and the existing School of Business and Departments of Economics, Social Sciences, Finance & Accounting, Mathematics and Computer Sciences at LUMS. An additional important benefit is that the rigorous and inter-disciplinary joint degree equips graduates to not just pursue traditional vocations in the legal profession but also explore opportunities in and thus contribute to the private sector, academia, NGOs, civil bureaucracy, regulatory, research and policy making bodies and financial institutions.
BACKDROP TO THE VISION
The system of law and justice in any country is the edifice on which it builds its civil society and democratic institutions. Not only is an efficient and fair system of justice a vital prerequisite for a free and pluralistic society, but also an equally important prerequisite is a wide spread belief and conviction in that society that the system of justice is efficient and fair. A collective sense of despair and injustice is lethal for any society and curtails the positive forces of development and reform. While the sustainability of a fair and just legal system is necessary for a developed society, for a less developed country it is the fundamental starting point, the alpha and omega of any possible progress. A society plagued by inner fissures, lawlessness, legal uncertainty, corrupt legal institutions and ill-informed economic, social and legal policy-making, begets a state oblivious to its duties and a public ignorant of its rights. Such a society is headed only one way - annihilation!
The system of law and justice in Pakistan, unfortunately, suffers from several widely recognised shortcomings, which hamstring most of the less developed countries. The important nexus between the quality of legal education provided in a country and the quality of justice delivered in its courts is universally recognised. Thus, the existing quality of legal education, training and academia in the country has a key bearing on the quality of justice, which is meted out to its citizens by its courts and their resultant faith in the state. High quality and socially motivated education produces elements of change, quality research output, an atmosphere of incisive analysis and intellectual debate and a culture of tolerance and democracy - all of these ingredients boost the quality of the legal profession and the judicial institutions in a country.
Therefore, the creation of a socially relevant, professionally sound and innovative Law and Policy Programme in a country like Pakistan does not have the limited impact of certain law students becoming better equipped lawyers. It is expected to create innumerable ripples across the face of the entire social, political and economic milieu. Not just through training better lawyers, but through, among other things, high quality research, rights awareness programmes, informed input into the enactment of laws and formulation of policies and special training programmes for lawyers, judges, businessmen and policy makers, the Law and Policy Programme can become an important enabler of social change. It can thus be a significant contributory to the intellectual evolution and ideological growth of a society. During present times, where the strengthening and preservation of institutions is vital, such a programme can prove to be an important player in the struggle for a renaissance in this direction.
THE EVOLVING FACE OF LEGAL EDUCATION ACROSS THE GLOBE
The emergence and global acceptance of the multidisciplinary approach has resulted in increasingly vital linkages between the academic and practical dimensions of law and other disciplines/areas such as management studies, economics, finance, government regulation, political science and policy-making.
There is a rapidly growing awareness all over the world that many academic disciplines can no longer be visualised and taught in a self-contained, one-dimensional manner. This is a direct benefit of the fast growing complexity and interrelationship of international finance, economics, trade and social as well as political policy imperatives, which necessitate the development of a multi-dimensional approach to the complex challenges of today. Airtight compartmentalisation of academic disciplines is, therefore, very much an outdated concept. Traditional legal training merely equipped lawyers with the requisite skill set for conventional litigation and chamber practice. The profession of law has, however, undergone a metamorphosis in recent years so that lawyers are increasingly expected to play a vital role in the areas of economic regulation, corporate governance, economic and political policy-making and the restructuring of the state. This requires a completely new and different set of skills, which the traditional legal training does not provide.
For instance, in today's world an economic regulator will be rendered ineffective if his thorough understanding of economics is coupled with a limited understanding of the applicable regulatory laws and the regime of interests, which they protect. Such a regulator, therefore, requires the input of a lawyer who can, in turn, understand his economic reasoning and imperatives. Similarly, a lawyer handling complex mergers or acquisition transactions is required to have a fairly clear understanding of the economic, accounting and tax ramifications of his legal drafting. To carry the argument further, any contemporary theoretical work in the area of constitutional law in any country would be inadequate without a profound understanding of political theory and the economic and political history of that country. One cannot make reformatory recommendations about, say, the excise duty or sales tax law of a country without looking at the legal, economic and social dimensions of such a reform. This rapidly growing interdisciplinary approach to academics has led to essentially three very significant developments. These are fundamental changes in the syllabi and teaching methodologies of the leading international law schools which reflect the changing and increasingly complex demands of the political, economic and legal environments all over the world.
The changing face of the role law plays in different spheres of life has been recognised all over the contemporary world along with the importance of the newly emerging areas of regulation, trade and governance. The emerging multinational environmental treaties, the fast growing WTO regime, the complex international trade regulations and the ever-growing role of regulatory agencies in the domestic and international arenas are some of the glaring manifestations of a sea of change. All these are the reasons for, and products of, an international legal environment, which has changed beyond recognition in a very short span of time. Gone are the days of the conventional role of the law restricted to the civil and criminal procedure codes and straightforward litigators and counsels. Law now plays a fundamentally important role in the tremendously important growth areas of, inter alia, (1) regulation, (2) trade, and (3) governance, internationally as well as in domestic spheres.
Teaching law not just as lawyers see it but from the eyeglasses of others is termed the multidisciplinary approach. The leading law schools of the world, like all dynamic institutions, have tailored and amended what they teach according to the pressing demands of the fast changing international legal and economic environment. For instance, the Dean of the Stanford Law School introduces Stanford's concept of legal education in the Law School's 2002 Application Guide, by stating, “When you come to Stanford you also integrate legal analysis with the newest developments in other disciplines, from economics, statistics and finance to history, psychology, and cultural theory.” Thus, the primary consequential change has been the inculcation of a multidisciplinary approach at the level of teaching individual subjects of law. Supplementing this are advanced courses in international trade, regulation and governance, taught by lawyers and social scientists, who are increasingly finding ever-expanding spheres of common interest.
As a result, even the teaching of and research in traditionally independent and airtight disciplines has undergone a tremendous transformation. The law of contracts, for example, is no longer taught the way it was taught twenty years ago. At the leading law schools in the world, a professor teaching contracts cannot limit him/her self anymore to enunciating the basic legal principles behind the theory of the law of contracts, without familiarising his/her students with the important, newly emerging and conflicting economic theories of contract law. Similarly, the contemporary research in the important area of corporate governance is being conducted jointly by economists and lawyers. This is due to a collective recognition of the importance of both disciplines to understanding and prescribing how firms can be governed better, to protect the interests of a diverse body of stakeholders.
The outcome is the emergence and growing popularity of joint degree Programmes. The natural resultant mini-revolution in the world of academics has been the emergence of joint degree programmes/schools such as law and economics, law and public policy, law and business management etc., These programmes are fast becoming the rule rather than the exception at most leading USA universities, such as Harvard, Stanford and Chicago as well as leading universities in the region. This is a direct manifestation of an international identification of the growing modern need for such an approach in order to successfully tackle the challenges of the changing world.
Having identified the acute need for the setting up of not just a high quality law and policy programme in Pakistan, but one which operates under the contemporary international approach to the teaching of law as discussedd above, LUMS has stepped in to fill the existing vacum for such an institution of higher learning in Pakistan.