UWI Responds to Chief Justice’s Concerns Over Law Curriculum Rigor

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The University of the West Indies Cave Hill faculty of Law

The University of the West Indies (UWI) has addressed concerns voiced by Chief Justice Sir Patterson Cheltenham about the standard of legal education at its Cave Hill Campus. Sir Patterson had expressed alarm over students selecting “soft” courses over more challenging ones, which he believed would make them more adept at the Bar. In response, UWI clarified that while the core curriculum remains mandatory for a significant portion of the law degree, the addition of modern law topics is essential for a 21st-century legal education. These topics include Environmental Law, Intellectual Property Law, and International Law, among others, which UWI asserts are rigorous and relevant to today’s legal challenges.

UWI emphasized its commitment to maintaining a high standard of legal education, citing a robust evaluation process for its academic offerings that aligns with international quality assurance standards. This process involves regular reviews, the most recent of which included Sir Patterson Cheltenham as a representative from the legal profession.

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Barbados Supreme Court Chief Justice Sir Patterson Cheltenham

The Chief Justice’s critique highlighted a perceived decline in the intellectual rigor of UWI’s law program, suggesting it was focused on simply getting students to pass rather than equipping them with analytical skills. He called for a more stringent auditing of law degrees by the Hugh Wooding Law School and advocated for the reconsideration of course content to ensure a rigorous legal education.

UWI Cave Hill’s Faculty of Law, while respecting the Chief Justice’s observations, reassures that its curriculum is designed to prepare graduates for diverse roles within the legal profession, emphasizing that its course offerings are both rigorous and reflective of the needs of a contemporary legal education.

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