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NUS Law to change undergraduate curriculum

The law faculty at the National University of Singapore is rolling out some key changes in its undergraduate curriculum, including exposure to alternative dispute resolution and more options for practical experience. Two new research centres will also be set up.

SINGAPORE: The law faculty at the National University of Singapore is rolling out some key changes in its undergraduate curriculum and plans to set up two new research centres.

Undergraduates joining the faculty in August 2014 will be the first to undergo a revised curriculum, including no grading for the first semester in their first year.

In a statement on Tuesday, NUS said the purpose is to encourage students to explore and find a passion for the law, rather than to focus on grades.

Also in the first-year, undergraduates will have to take a new module that introduces them to the Singapore legal system and its regional counterparts. It will also include an examination of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms in Singapore and an introduction to professional ethics.

In the second year, students will take a new module that introduces them to key legal systems in the world, including Islamic law, Chinese law, the law of Southeast Asian jurisdictions and transnational law.

In other changes, students with get more opportunities to gain practical experience, including participation in legal clinics.

This will complement the new pro bono scheme that will require all students to participate in at least 20 hours of pro bono work in their second year.

Also to be introduced -- a new approach to teaching professional ethics, which will integrate additional opportunities to learn and reflect on issues of legal ethics.

These and other curriculum changes will be implemented progressively, said the statement.

On the research front, NUS Law will launch two new research centres.

The Centre for Banking and Finance Law, described as the first of its kind in Southeast Asia, will be set up in the coming months. The centre will engage local and international banks, lawyers, regulators, and academics in a regular exchange of ideas and knowledge.

The faculty is also developing a new Centre for Maritime Law in consultation with the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore.

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