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The delegation of Leiden University visited our law school

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 The delegation of Leiden University visited our law school

By Matthias Vanhullebusch

Shanghai – On 1 December 2014, the delegation of Leiden University (The Netherlands) led by Rector Magnificus and President Prof. Dr. Carel Stolker and Dean Prof. Dr. Rick Lawson of Leiden Law School has visited our KoGuan Law School to discuss areas of academic collaboration. Upon their arrival, Dr. Matthias Vanhullebusch introduced the President of Leiden University and Dean of Leiden Law School to our KoGuan Law School’s Dean Prof. Dr. Ji Weidong. Prof. Stolker and Prof. Ji had a fruitful discussion and showed genuine interest in each other’s universities’ international standing and activities. Prof. Stolker also gave Prof. Ji the very first copy of his latest work with Cambridge University Press (CUP) on “Rethinking the Law School: Education, Research, Outreach and Governance”. Prof. Stolker and Dean Lawson were very much impressed about our own project with CUP, namely the Asian Journal of Law and Society. They were delighted to see that one of Leiden Law School’s professors, Prof. Dr. Jan Michiel Otto, serves as one of its Editors-in-Chief.

After this brief introduction, President Stolker gave a public lecture on “Rethinking the Law School: Some Universal Questions” and shared his views on this comprehensive study with our colleagues and the students of Prof. Dr. Xu Xiaobing. His presentation tackled a number of challenges and opportunities for law schools and law as a discipline to distinguish itself and make itself indispensable in the academic curriculum of divers nations as well as in its overall role for society to fostering rule of law and transparency in decision-making and court decisions. Law schools have indeed a great task to balance between a number of competing interests in terms of teaching load, research output and interdisciplinary approaches to solve outstanding legal matters nationally as well as transnationally. Each country as demonstrated by Prof. Stolker is facing similar questions yet has provided different answers. Such diversity has been eloquently captured by Prof. Stolker in his presentation and recent book.

After the departure of Prof. Stolker – who was going to meet the President of our Shanghai Jiao Tong University Prof. Dr. Zhang Jie in Minhang, Dean Prof. Dr. Rick Lawson continued the conversation with Dean Prof. Dr. Ji Weidong, Vice-Dean Prof. Dr. Lin Yan of Teaching Affairs, Prof. Dr. Hu Jiaxiang – Director of the Asian Law Centre, Prof. Dr. Shen Wei – Director of the EU Law Centre, and Dr. Matthias Vanhullebusch. Each of the participants during the meeting exchanged valuable information about both Law Schools’ teaching, research and internationalization activities. There was a keen interest to develop student exchange and collaboration amongst the institutions regarding common research agendas in particular in the field of trade, finance and tax and international law. Dean Lawson also gave two works by his colleagues on international aviation and environmental law as a gift to Dean Ji. With great surprise Prof. Ji noticed that the first book was translated by our very own colleague Prof. Dr. Huang Tao and published with our Shanghai Jiao Tong University Press. Once again, we have witnessed how much collaboration already exists and how this further incentivizes to strengthen it.