(This event is organised by MEI’s Transsystemic Law Research Cluster, as part of its quarterly public speakers series.)
The history of legal education in Asia bears the scars of colonialism. The most obvious evidence of that today lies in the common law/civil law divide between the various countries, a distinction for which the determining factor was typically the legal system of the European power that happened to exercise colonial power. In recent years, however, the rise of Asia has encouraged more confidence and greater independence. This paper discusses early efforts to inhibit legal education in Asia, due in part to neglect and in part to the desire of the colonizing powers to avoid encouraging “troublemakers”. Secondly, and more briefly, it considers the manner in which many efforts to encourage imitation, in particular the law and development school, produced uncertain and sometimes unhelpful results. Thirdly, it turns to more recent innovations by law faculties across the region in three discrete areas of their national, global, and regional roles.
About the Speaker
Professor Simon Chesterman is Dean of the National University of Singapore Faculty of Law. He is also Editor of the Asian Journal of International Law and Secretary-General of the Asian Society of International Law. Educated in Melbourne, Beijing, Amsterdam, and Oxford, Professor Chesterman’s teaching experience includes periods at the Universities of Melbourne, Oxford, Southampton, Columbia, and Sciences Po. From 2006-2011, he was Global Professor and Director of the New York University School of Law Singapore Programme.
Prior to joining NYU, he was a Senior Associate at the International Peace Academy and Director of UN Relations at the International Crisis Group in New York. He has previously worked for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Yugoslavia and interned at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
Professor Chesterman is the author or editor of seventeen books, including Law and Practice of the United Nations (with Ian Johnstone and David M. Malone, OUP, 2016); One Nation Under Surveillance (OUP, 2011); You, The People (OUP, 2004); and Just War or Just Peace? (OUP, 2001). He is a recognized authority on international law, whose work has opened up new areas of research on conceptions of public authority – including the rules and institutions of global governance, state-building and post-conflict reconstruction, and the changing role of intelligence agencies.