Rewards and Challenges of Teaching Comparative Law in the Commonwealth Caribbean

Author:Asya Ostroukh
Position:Ph.D. Candidate, University of Edinburgh; Candidate of Legal Sciences, Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Law at Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies (Barbados), formerly Associate Professor, Kuban State University Law School (Russia).
Pages:1213-1233
 
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Rewards and Challenges of Teaching Comparative
Law in the Commonwealth Caribbean
Asya Ostroukh*
INTRODUCTION
The need for comparative law in the age of globalization and
internationalization of life in general, and legal development in particular,
has been articulated in legal scholarship.1 The importance of comparative
law for training modern lawyers has been emphasized as well.2
Nevertheless, these issues are still discussed mostly in relation to and in the
context of larger countries and major legal systems, mostly Europe in whole,
its largest countries (Germany, France, and the United Kingdom), and the
United States. The importance of comparative law for small, marginal
jurisdictions offers a fruitful field to explore.
This Essay discusses the Author’s personal experience of teaching the
course of comparative law at the Faculty of Law at Cave Hill Campus of the
University of the West Indies (Barbados), focusing on the benefits and
challenges of this teaching in this particular region. The discussion also
includes the history and current development of comparative law in this part
of the world as well as future prospects of this field of knowledge.
Copyright 2016, by ASYA OSTROUKH.
* Ph.D. Candidate, University of Edinburgh; Candidate of Legal Sciences,
Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Law at Cave Hill Campus of the University of
the West Indies (Barbados), formerly Associate Professor, Kuban State
University Law School (Russia).
1. JAAKKO HUSA, A NEW INTRODUCTION TO COMPARATIVE LAW 93 (2015);
BÉNÉDICTE FAUVARQUE-COSSON, THE RISE OF COMPARATIVE LAW: A
CHALLENGE FOR LEGAL EDUCATION IN EUROPE 3 (2007); see also Horatia Muir
Watt, Globalization and Comparative Law, in THE OXFORD HANDBOOK OF
COMPARATIVE LAW 582–83 (Mathias Reimann & Reinhard Zimmermann eds.,
2006).
2. FAUVARQUE-COSSON, supra note 1, at 7; MARY ANN GLENDON,
MICHAEL WALLACE GORDON & CHRISTOPHER OSAKWE, COMPARATIVE LEGAL
TRADITIONS 2 (2d ed. 1994); Ugo Mattei, An Opportunity Not to Be Missed: The
Future of Comparative Law in the United States, 46 AM. J. COMP. L. 709, 713
(1998).
1214 LOUISIANA LAW REVIEW [Vol. 76
I. THE TEACHING OF LAW, PARTICULARLY COMPARATIVE LAW,
AT CAVE HILL CAMPUS
The Faculty of Law at the University of the West Indies (“UWI”) was
established in 1970 in the midst of the acquisition of independence by most
British Caribbean colonies.3 The years that followed independence were
formative years for regional legal systems and legal reforms. The idea
behind the establishment of the Faculty of Law at UWI was to teach local
law, to produce lawyers who would practice in the region and who would
be able to adjust the existing law to the needs of the local society, and to
create facilities for legal research pursuing similar objectives.4 UWI
currently has three campuses: Cave Hill in Barbados, Mona in Jamaica,
and Saint Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, with the faculties of law at
the last two campuses established in 2012.5
Overall, the Faculty of Law at Cave Hill Campus follows the British
curriculum in teaching law and offers basically the same courses as an
average British university, subject to certain regional modifications. The
same can be said about the teaching style at Cave Hill; it is very British in
its curriculum—the teaching of law is more theoretical and academic than
in the United States—and in the course materials. Lecturers use British-
3. Faculty of Law, About Us, U. WEST INDIES CAVE HILL, BARB .,
http://www.cavehill.uwi.edu/Law/about-us.aspx [https://perma.cc/2NRB-P333]
(last visited Jan. 19, 2016).
4. The Wooding-Marshall Report on West Indian legal education of 1967
sets up the following aims of legal research in the region:
(i) the publication of a law journal to meet the badly felt need
for critical appraisal of current legal developments in both case
and statute law; (ii) a thorough examination and scholarly
exposition of current West Indian law and West Indian legal
history; (iii) fundamental enquiries, in cooperation with the
relevant disciplines in the field of social studies, into the
suitability of existing laws (most of which have been borrowed
from the colonial powers) to meet the needs of developing
societies; and (iv) assistance with research into specific
proposals for law reform, if so requested by governments.
Howard N. Malcolm, Towards the Emergence of an Anglo-West Indian
Jurisprudence, W. INDIAN L.J., Oct. 1993, at 53, 53 (quoting REPORT OF JOINT
CONSULTATIONS BETWEEN SIR HUGH WOODING AND PROFESSOR MARSHALL ON
THE QUESTION OF LEGAL EDUCATION IN THE WEST INDIES (1967)).
5. 1 UNIV. OF W. INDIES, THE STATU TES AND ORDINANCES AS OF 2012
ordinances 58, 59, at 139–40 (2012) (on file with Author).

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