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Skills development for competent practice of law : an analysis of the skills development programmes for lawyers in the Boleswa countries of South Africa

By P. F. Iya


The central thesis around which several arguments develop and revolve in\ud this work is that time has come for members of the legal profession in Botswana,\ud Lesotho and Swaziland - countries with shared historical, cultural, legal and socioeconomic\ud values - to join other forces in assessing both their structures and\ud functions with a view to readjusting them to suit the new demands of society, namely\ud that even under those new conditions, legal services must not only be available but\ud must be competently delivered to the public. To be responsive to the needs of\ud society, lawyers must be trained in such a way that they are able to appreciate the\ud importance of social goals and contribute to the full satisfaction of those goals with\ud competence and efficiency.\ud In advancing the above thesis three methods are employed. Firstly, is to\ud establish the present and future needs of the society and how these needs can be\ud met in terms of the necessary requirements of law, lawyers and the entire legal\ud process to satisfy those needs. Secondly, to establish the extent to which those\ud needs have and are being met and to explain the reasons for the limitation in their\ud success. Thirdly, to advance the theory that legal education has a task in\ud transforming society by equipping students with highly developed skills needed to\ud bring about people-centred development.\ud The object of the thesis is, therefore, to develop and explore through\ud empirical research new avenues of development-oriented legal education by\ud analysing the sources and magnitude of the problem of legal education; by\ud examining the social context in which law, lawyers and the entire legal process\ud operate; by exploring all factors, legal and non-legal, which limit law, lawyers and\ud legal institutions, including legal education in their role to meet the needs of society\ud and by developing a skills-oriented legal education which would produce lawyers\ud much needed for development within the context of Botswana, Lesotho and\ud Swaziland.\ud To that end the work is divided into ten chapters discussing, amongst others,\ud the objectives and methodology employed in the research; the concept of\ud development and the limitations of lawyers in that development process as\ud evidenced by the socio-political economy of the BOLESWA countries; the legal\ud needs and the utilisation of lawyers to meet those needs in Swaziland; and the\ud extent to which the past and present law programmes adequately prepare lawyers to\ud satisfy social needs. It ends by providing a few suggestions. However, central to\ud the entire discussion is the development of a fresh model in legal education that\ud emphasises skills development as the most appropriate for development-oriented\ud lawyers needed today in the BOLESWA countries. In one's research in legal\ud education, one is struck by lack of sufficient work in this area. Yet legal education is\ud at a crossroad of its development in the BOLESWA countries where crisis of law\ud and development occupy central themes in scholarly debates currently taking place.\ud If significant changes are to be effected, the arguments on skills development\ud presented in this thesis remain critically important for future debates, policy\ud formation and implementation on the subject in the BOLESWA countries and\ud Southern Africa generally

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