Volume 3, Issue 1, (Originally Published on Monday 4 March 2013)
Twelve Japanese students studied comparative law in an Australian environment, part of the MLS Asian Law Centre’s (ALC) Chuo Summer School program, held from 18 February – 1 March 2013.
Mal Smith, the ALC’s founder, established the program in an effort to promote international exchange and foster an interest in comparative law amongst students in both Australia and Japan. The ALC has hosted Chuo students nine times since the inaugural program launched in 2005.
During the program, Japanese students are given a rare break from the tedious study for the bar exam and are exposed to diverse ways of legal thinking through a program of lectures on specialist legal topics, such as cross-border transactions and intellectual property law, as well as through site visits to the courts and law firms.
There are not only benefits for the Japanese students: they interact with their Australian counterparts, who learn about the Japanese legal system and benefit from meeting young lawyers they may work with on future international transactions.
The students’ social connections were further strengthened over a few beers and experiencing the ‘real’ Melbourne with trips to St Kilda, White Night and the night markets.
These interpersonal connections are seen as central to the Australian government as highlighted in the Asian Century White Paper. The ALC sees programs such as this exchange as a possible model for other universities.