Background of the Project

The Croatian faculties of law have opted for a 5-year integrated Bachelor and Master degree program. As a result, the Croatian Faculties of Law are adapting their curricula to the newly proposed system. ECTS has been introduced at all levels.

Appropriate higher legal education reform is crucially important for the integration of Croatian Faculties of Law into the European Higher Education Area. Croatia's becoming EU candidate in 2004 made this integration even more important. Since law is one of the essential areas in realizing Croatian integration with the EU, the higher legal education reform is also important for the incorporation of the Acquis Communautaire into the legislation and its full implementation.

Within the Bologna framework, modern languages are an indispensable prerequisite for student and teacher mobility. Moreover, foreign language and communication skills have a growing importance for members of the legal profession within the increasing internationalization of law in general, and the process of harmonization between the Croatian legal system and EU law in view of Croatia's accession to the EU, in particular.

As a result, the need to develop foreign language skills in the field of law is rapidly increasing. The existing foreign language curricula at the Croatian law faculties have to be updated and developed to meet the Bologna requirements. Due to the insufficient number of lecturers specializing in the field, teacher training is one of the basic prerequisites which is needed to develop and implement foreign language curricula for law students. So far, no higher education institution in Croatia has offered this type of specialized teacher training.

Moreover, while the higher education reform in Croatia has mainly focused on the Bologna process, lifelong learning has been largely neglected. As a result, legal practitioners who had completed their studies before the present higher education reform, and who are now required to take an active part in harmonizing Croatian and EU legislation, often lack adequate foreign language skills and are not sufficiently acquainted with new information technology.

As a result, it is the aim of this project to set up an interdisciplinary Foreign Language Center for Law at the Law Faculty, University of Zagreb, that will: 1) provide specialized foreign language teacher training for law, 2) update and develop foreign language curricula at Croatian law faculties at BA and MA levels, and 3) introduce intensive language training courses for legal practitioners within the framework of lifelong education.

Thanks to the consortium network, the results of the project will be disseminated as good practice and implemented at all the existing Croatian law faculties (Zagreb, Rijeka, Split, Osijek).

The consortium includes universities and institutions from Croatia, the United Kingdom, Belgium, France and Austria which possess the necessary capacity, knowledge and experience for the implementation of this project, achieving the objectives of the project and producing the planned outcomes. There is a consensus on the need and importance of foreign language training for law, so the partners in the project are both law and modern language faculties and institutions, as well as the relevant Croatian ministries. Some of the EU and partner country members have already taken part in Tempus projects.

      The University of Antwerp (UA) (Grantholder) is characterised by its high standards in education, internationally competitive research and entrepreneurial approach. It was founded in 2003 after the merger of the three universities that were previously known as RUCA, UFSIA and UIA; the university's roots go back to 1852. The University of Antwerp has approximately 10, 000 students, which makes it the third largest university in Flanders. Over 1, 000 of these students - exchange students not included - are from foreign countries, with a majority of EU countries.

The University will act as the project grantholder, being responsible for financial management of the project. In addition, it will take an active part in curriculum development, give expert advice on new teaching methods and provide lectures on topics of interest. It will also take part in quality control. The University's International Relations Office has experience in the financial management of Tempus projects.

The Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb (Coordinator) is the oldest and largest higher legal education institution in Croatia. It was founded in 1776. At present it has around 100 lecturers, 5, 500 students and it offers 76 courses. It is taking the lead in the region in articulating a comprehensive development strategy for higher legal education in accordance with the Bologna requirements. It has managed 3 Tempus projects so far. The Faculty will coordinate and manage the project as a whole, take part in curriculum development, implementation and dissemination of project results. It will also provide quality control mechanisms (internal evaluation boards, external accreditation boards).

The Faculty of Law, University of Rijeka, was founded in 1973. It offers 42 courses. The total number of students is around 2, 000. It employs 43 teachers and has managed two Tempus projects. It will take part in curriculum development, teacher training, implementation and dissemination of results, as well as quality control. Due to its highly qualified specialists in the field, it can give an important contribution to the study of legal terminology for teaching and translation purposes. Thanks to its experience with related Tempus projects, it can give a significant contribution to the project as an example of good practice.

The Faculty of Law, University of Split, was founded in 1974 and has approximately 3, 500 students and 45 teaching staff. Updating curricula towards more effective education and improving the scientific impact and relating it with practice have been its main priorities. It will take part in curriculum development, teacher training, implementation and dissemination of results.

The Faculty of Law, University of Osijek, was established in 1975. It has 48 teachers, about 2, 500 students and offers 29 courses. Due to its previous experience in the field, it will give an important contribution at the needs analysis stage (surveys, questionnaires, analysis of results) It will take part in curriculum development, teacher training, implementation and dissemination of results.

The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, was founded in 1874/1875. Today it has 27 departments with 6, 200 students and 580 teachers. Its lecturers from the English, French and German departments can contribute by taking part in curriculum development, providing expert advice on new teaching methods, and actively participating in the implementation of courses. They can also have a significant role in quality control (peer reviews).

      The Judicial Academy, Ministry of Justice, Zagreb, is involved in integration of higher legal education into the EHEA and sees it as an important step in Croatian integration with the EU. It expects the reform to adapt curricula in a way to facilitate the incorporation of the Acquis Communautaire into legislation and secure its full implementation. It develops and strenghtens cooperation with Faculties of Law in this area. It will have an important role in needs analysis, curriculum development and dissemination of information.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration is actively involved in Croatia's accession to the EU. Its Translation Department is committed to developing a new unified and standardized Croatian legal terminology for translation purposes. The Ministry will have an important role in the needs analysis and dissemination of information. It will also have an advisory role in curriculum development.

The Forensic Linguistics Institute (the FLI) was set up in 1995 to research forensic texts. It runs two of the most successful forensic courses on the web and is frequently consulted by legal professionals and law enforcement departments from around the world. The Institute will contribute to the project by taking part in curriculum development, giving lectures on forensic linguistics and promote its development as a new applied linguistics discipline in Croatia. It will also have an important role in quality assessment.

Founded in 1945 the Department for Translation Studies of the University of Innsbruck is one of three academic translation departments in Austria. At present it has around 40 lecturers, around 400 students and it offers a university degree in translation and in interpretation (both 5 years) as well as a doctorate course. The Department is to contribute to the project aims by taking part in teacher training, curriculum development and implementation of courses by giving lectures on topics of interest (e.g. legal terminology, translation, globalization vs. localization etc.)

London South Bank University has four faculties and it attracts students from all around the world. The Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences Law Department has developed an excellent relationship with the local legal profession, appointing leading lawyers as visiting professors and lecturers, and hosting continuing professional development training seminars. It will contribute to the project objectives by taking part in curriculum development and its implementation, offering lectures on subjects of interest and providing quality control. It can greatly contribute to improving standards of modern language teaching for law by hosting Croatian lecturers on their re-training periods in the EU.

Universite Pantheon-Assas (Paris II), focuses on law, political sciences, management, information and communication. Its teaching is based on the highest standards of excellence, providing excellent training for the future professional life of its students in Europe and world-wide. The University will have an important role in promoting French as a language of law. It will take part in curriculum development and teacher training and its lecturers will give courses on topics of interest.

The University of Mannheim is situated where, in 1763, the elector Karl Theodor founded the Kurpfälzische Akademie der Wissenschaft. By German standards, Mannheim with its 13,000 students is a relatively small University consisting of eight faculties: law, business, economics & statistics, social studies, philosophy, psychology and teaching, language and literature studies, history and geography, mathematics and IT. The main emphasis is on law and economic related studies. With its 1,2 million volumes and its extensive technical equipment, the University library contains everything under one roof, such as direct access to the central legal databases situated in the law library. The University of Mannheim and especially the Faculty of Law cherishes many international contacts, not just with other European partner universities, but with universities in the US, Canada, Australia and China. Many exchange programmes guarantee an international structure of both students and scientists teaching and researching in Mannheim. The University of Mannheim will take part in curriculum development and implementation, teacher training and quality control.

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