Legal writing for non-native students

By stephan in Gandhi & Me - LLM at UCL 2008-2009 on Jun 19, 2009

Even if you have written academic articles in your home country, you might want to improve your English legal writing skills to be prepared for exams and the dissertation. It’s not just grammar and vocabulary. The English legal writing has its peculiarities regarding structures and conventions an LLM student should be aware of. Unsurprisingly, there are plenty of books on this topic, but a course might be more helpful.

The UCL Language centre offers a specific ‘Advanced Legal Writing’ course for non-natives which I have attended and which I can highly recommend. The course will prepare you for the essay and problem questions of your exams and help you writing your dissertation. Additionally, it will teach you how to handle the enormous amount of reading, take notes more efficiently, draw up case notes and other useful techniques.

The class size was small enough (around 8-15 students) to address individual concerns and problems, the teaching was very good and the atmosphere in the class relaxed. You will be expected to do homework (preparing essays, reformulate legal letters). This might seem like the last thing you need considering the piles of reading material waiting for you. However, it is well worth the time and effort. I cannot stress enough how much I have learnt in this course.

Unfortunately the course is not included in the LLM course fee and costs an extra £330. A mistake in my humble opinion. Taking into account the high percentage of non-native students and the high level of the LLM course fees the course should be offered free of charge. All the more as it is in the best interest of UCL to maintain a reputation of forming students who not only perform well in their subjects but who are also well-versed in English legal writing. Nonetheless, the course is definitely worth the money.

You can find more details about the course on the website of the UCL Language Centre.

Comments

ft, Aug 25, 2010 21:12

Thanks so much for sharing this!

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