Public legal education

I don't think legal education is only meant for lawyers. I think the laymen need to know about law as well. We enter into contract everyday and we should at least know what we are getting into. Of course not to the extend of memorizing the statutes and cases, that is the reason why you are paying your lawyers. But at least some minimal understanding on what the law is. Contracts and torts especially because these two branches of law are taking like more than 50% of cases in court. Maybe if the laymen know what their basic rights are, some of the cases can be settled out of court. To lawyers, don't worry of not getting enough from the business, we can still earn through mediation or arbitration, hahaha. 

See anything that is against the law?

Anyway, I had a nice chat with Mr H's niece earlier today. We were so engrossed in the conversation that Mr H thought we were having 'millions dollars business project' talk, hahaha. You wish Mr H! She told me the reason she sent her daughter to law school is to acquire the knowledge of law and not for her daughter to practice law. If along the way, her daughter decides to be a lawyer, well it can be a bonus. But, that was not her real intention. She sent her daughter to law school so that her daughter can learn about life and will survive the world out there. As a law graduate herself, she feels that it was the law school experiences that taught her to be tough in life and most of the problems she had, she handled it well because of what the lecturers had taught her in law school. 

Doing researches teach you not to trust anybody, in order for you to believe in something, do your research first. The mooting training teach you to defend yourself and outspoken at the same time. And the endless statutes and reading of cases teach you that you can survive anything in life because can you imagine reading hundreds of pages in just few hours? Errr sometimes minutes :P

Just yesterday I was reading a note that was shared through whatsapp. It was actually good, educating the public on what they should do if they are arrested by the police. However, my eyes were glued to some of the points that were written. Even though criminal law is not my cup of tea, but I know that some of these points are not right. Upon doing some checking and cross-checking it with some of my students who are now DPPs, I was in fact, correct. You see, if these kind of notes are circulated to the public, it is going to give them the wrong impression about the law. What more if they use it against the police if they are arrested. I mean, that was the purpose of the note in the first place, right?

I knew something was not right, because I am a law graduate. I learnt and practice law. But what about the laymen? They will just believe whatever was thrown at them and get bullied in the process. I remember Mr H had presented a paper on public legal education twice. He referred to China and India as examples. China and Indian citizens already know their basic legal rights while they are in school. It is a compulsory subject for them. Maybe it is possible to do the same here in Malaysia.

There is no limit in learning.

I always point this out in my class especially when I am teaching non-law students. Of course, they are not that keen to learn law so I have to tell them every time in the first class why they have to study law. It is not just for the purpose of exam, but also for life. They are not going to be lawyers even if they get A+ for the paper. However, they do not have to pass everything to the legal department whenever they encounter legal related problems at work later. For starter, they already know how to differentiate the term plaintiff from defendant and also know the jurisdiction of courts in Malaysia. It would be a waste if they ignore the subject now because they never know when this subject may come in handy in the future.

If you intend buy a packet of chocolate bar with the price tag of RM 5, but the cashier insists that the actual price is RM 6. What should you do? Have you heard of the term 'invitation to treat'?

I rest my case.

1 comment:

  1. invitation to treat huh? now that pin on my interest hahaha