Critical Writing Skills in Legal Education

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

In legal education, criticism is conceived as an academic activity. As lecturers, we expect from students more than just the expression of their opinion; they have to evaluate and criticize a certain practice, building on a sound argumentation and provide suggestions on how to improve this practice. Criticism not only entails a negative judgment but is also constructive since it aims at changing the current state of affairs that it rejects (for some reason or other). In this article, we want to show how we train critical writing in the legal skills course for first-year law students (Juridische vaardigheden) at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. We start with a general characterization of the skill of critical writing on the basis of four questions: 1. Why should we train critical writing? 2. What does criticism mean in a legal context? 3. How to carry out legal criticism? and 4. How to derive recommendations from the criticism raised? Subsequently, we discuss, as an illustration to the last two questions, the Dutch Urgenda case, which gave rise to a lively debate in the Netherlands on the role of the judge. Finally, we show how we have applied our general understanding of critical writing to our legal skills course. We describe the didactic approach followed and our experiences with it.
LanguageEnglish
Article number1
Pages1-15
Number of pages15
Journal Law and Method. Special Issue on Active Learning and Teaching in Legal Education
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Fingerprint

criticism
education
argumentation
didactics
Netherlands
university teacher
student
Law
experience

Keywords

  • legal education
  • critique
  • writing skills
  • critical writing skills
  • rule of law

Cite this

@article{ce57817085d148cab6cdf8a2568124de,
title = "Critical Writing Skills in Legal Education",
abstract = "In legal education, criticism is conceived as an academic activity. As lecturers, we expect from students more than just the expression of their opinion; they have to evaluate and criticize a certain practice, building on a sound argumentation and provide suggestions on how to improve this practice. Criticism not only entails a negative judgment but is also constructive since it aims at changing the current state of affairs that it rejects (for some reason or other). In this article, we want to show how we train critical writing in the legal skills course for first-year law students (Juridische vaardigheden) at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. We start with a general characterization of the skill of critical writing on the basis of four questions: 1. Why should we train critical writing? 2. What does criticism mean in a legal context? 3. How to carry out legal criticism? and 4. How to derive recommendations from the criticism raised? Subsequently, we discuss, as an illustration to the last two questions, the Dutch Urgenda case, which gave rise to a lively debate in the Netherlands on the role of the judge. Finally, we show how we have applied our general understanding of critical writing to our legal skills course. We describe the didactic approach followed and our experiences with it.",
keywords = "legal education, critique, writing skills, critical writing skills, rule of law",
author = "{van Klink}, B.M.J. and Lyana Francot",
year = "2019",
doi = "10.5553/REM/.000038",
language = "English",
pages = "1--15",
journal = "Law and Method. Special Issue on Active Learning and Teaching in Legal Education",

}

Critical Writing Skills in Legal Education. / van Klink, B.M.J.; Francot, Lyana.

In: Law and Method. Special Issue on Active Learning and Teaching in Legal Education, 2019, p. 1-15.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Critical Writing Skills in Legal Education

AU - van Klink, B.M.J.

AU - Francot, Lyana

PY - 2019

Y1 - 2019

N2 - In legal education, criticism is conceived as an academic activity. As lecturers, we expect from students more than just the expression of their opinion; they have to evaluate and criticize a certain practice, building on a sound argumentation and provide suggestions on how to improve this practice. Criticism not only entails a negative judgment but is also constructive since it aims at changing the current state of affairs that it rejects (for some reason or other). In this article, we want to show how we train critical writing in the legal skills course for first-year law students (Juridische vaardigheden) at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. We start with a general characterization of the skill of critical writing on the basis of four questions: 1. Why should we train critical writing? 2. What does criticism mean in a legal context? 3. How to carry out legal criticism? and 4. How to derive recommendations from the criticism raised? Subsequently, we discuss, as an illustration to the last two questions, the Dutch Urgenda case, which gave rise to a lively debate in the Netherlands on the role of the judge. Finally, we show how we have applied our general understanding of critical writing to our legal skills course. We describe the didactic approach followed and our experiences with it.

AB - In legal education, criticism is conceived as an academic activity. As lecturers, we expect from students more than just the expression of their opinion; they have to evaluate and criticize a certain practice, building on a sound argumentation and provide suggestions on how to improve this practice. Criticism not only entails a negative judgment but is also constructive since it aims at changing the current state of affairs that it rejects (for some reason or other). In this article, we want to show how we train critical writing in the legal skills course for first-year law students (Juridische vaardigheden) at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. We start with a general characterization of the skill of critical writing on the basis of four questions: 1. Why should we train critical writing? 2. What does criticism mean in a legal context? 3. How to carry out legal criticism? and 4. How to derive recommendations from the criticism raised? Subsequently, we discuss, as an illustration to the last two questions, the Dutch Urgenda case, which gave rise to a lively debate in the Netherlands on the role of the judge. Finally, we show how we have applied our general understanding of critical writing to our legal skills course. We describe the didactic approach followed and our experiences with it.

KW - legal education

KW - critique

KW - writing skills

KW - critical writing skills

KW - rule of law

U2 - 10.5553/REM/.000038

DO - 10.5553/REM/.000038

M3 - Article

SP - 1

EP - 15

JO - Law and Method. Special Issue on Active Learning and Teaching in Legal Education

T2 - Law and Method. Special Issue on Active Learning and Teaching in Legal Education

JF - Law and Method. Special Issue on Active Learning and Teaching in Legal Education

M1 - 1

ER -