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Legal Education in the Soviet Union

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image of Review of Socialist Law

In November 1986, General Secretary M.S. Gorbachev and the other members of the top leadership of the Soviet Union and the CPSU Central Committee issued a decree criticizing the legal profession and ordering reforms in legal education.' Early in 1987, the relevant ministries in Moscow responded to the . attack by implementing a comprehensive program to reform Soviet legal educaution. 2 In this article I shall explain why the top Soviet leadership is dissatisfied with legal education and how its reform fits in with M. Gorbachev's vision of improved Soviet socialism. First, the current role of the lawyer in Soviet society and perceived problems within the profession will be examined, to determine what Soviet lawyers need, by way of education, to be effective. Second, the current Soviet legal education will be discussed in the light of the needs of the profession. Third, high-level criticism of the current system of training lawyers will be examined, followed by an evaluation of the current blueprint for reform.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Law, City Polytechnic of Hong Kong


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