DOCTORAL EDUCATION IN LAW – THEORIES, REGULATIONS, EXPERIENCES
CONVENOR: MACIEJ JUZASZEK
The workshop concerns doctoral students in law because it is often believed that law (understood here primarily as doctrinal legal research) is distinct from other academic disciplines, especially from the sciences. From a descriptive point of view, there may be several factors underlying such claims:
1) Law is often seen as a professional, practice-oriented discipline. Its legitimacy is not its methodological status (scientific) but its social function. It is supposed to influence the application and interpretation of the law and help legal practitioners solve real-life cases. Some even claim that there is (or should be) unity of academic and practising lawyers' discourse.
2) Law as a discipline concerns, to a great extent, domestic legal norms, institutions and cases. This is related to the previous point - lawyers in domestic institutions use legal academics’ work (e.g. judges, advocates, prosecutors). Academics from different disciplines often consider more universal problems (of course, not all of them, and not in every discipline)
3) Legal academics usually deal with legal norms expressed in national languages. Since the results of their research are mainly read and interpreted by domestic legal practitioners, it is not surprising that they also publish primarily in the national languages.
4) Also, the subject of legal research is mainly normative (legal norms), argumentative, interpretive and often ‘commentating’. This approach is often difficult to understand by other, especially empirically oriented, scientists. It is noticeable in particular in the multidisciplinary bodies during grant competitions.
5) Last but not least, legal methodology (mainly doctrinal method) is often seen as implicit, self-evident and not well-defined, not only by academics from other disciplines but even by legal scholars themselves. In legal theory, there is a long-lasting dispute about the scientific character of law and the methods characteristic for this discipline.
While doctorates in the sciences are often focused on the practical application of knowledge and technology in business (which is manifested, for example, in the increasing popularity of industrial doctorates), and doctorates in humanities and social sciences on academic research (these are, of course, broad generalizations), doctorates in legal sciences often stand somewhere in the middle, precisely because of the specific role of doctrinal legal research in the service of legal practice. A good illustration can be the fact that in many countries, e.g. in Poland, many lecturers and researchers at the faculties of law also work as advocates, legal advisers, judges, notaries, etc.
During the workshop, we will be particularly interested in discussing:
a) theories concerning legal education at the doctoral level (e.g. concerning the aims of doctoral education, the relations between doctoral education and legal practice, or methodology of doctoral education)
b) regulations of doctoral education in law in various countries and universities
c) educational experiences of doctoral candidates in law and lecturers.
The workshop is part of the research project ‘The impact of legal and institutional conditions on the educational experience of doctoral candidates in law’ (no. 2021/41/B/HS5/04468) funded by the Polish National Science Centre and carried out in the Centre for Legal Education and Social Theory, University of Wroclaw, Poland.