Legal Education in Azerbaijan: Past, Present and Future Challenges

  • Charles Robert Davidson
  • Nancy Sharp Nti Asare
Part of the Euro-Asian Studies book series (EAS)


A primary method for creating and strengthening the rule of law and improving justice is to increase professionalism in the legal community. As the previous chapter suggested, one of the ways this may be achieved is by instituting structural reform of the legal education system. Azerbaijan has experienced a series of sweeping changes in its infrastructure and legislation in the past decade; nonetheless, entrenched attitudes and practices in legal education continue to hinder the development of an effective law-based system. This article looks at the history of legal education, current reform efforts and its future prospects.


Supra Note United Nations Development Program Legal Professional Teaching Methodology Legal Education 
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  1. 1.
    The law and development movement can be traced back to the 1960s, when a unique blend of optimism, a deep belief in social change, Cold War politics and other factors coalesced to create a loose movement of legal scholars and aid workers committed to promoting legal and judicial reform in the developing world. On the rise and demise of the movement, see J. H. Merryman, ‘Comparative Law and Social Change: On the Origins, Style, Decline and Revival of the Law and Development Movement’, American Journal of Comparative Law, 25 (1977), p. 457.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Some scholars challenge the prevalent notion that the movement was a failure. In an excellent law review article, Maxwell Chibundu speaks of the movement’s revival. See M. O. Chibundu, ‘Law in Development: On Tapping, Gourding, and Serving Palm Wine’, Case Western Law Journal of International Law, 29 (1997), p. 167.Google Scholar
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    See World Bank, Project Information Document (March 2003), p. 2. Available at A World Bank analysis of higher education provides some insight into the level of preparation of students beginning undergraduate studies. According to the World Bank report, only 800 of the nearly 80 000 candidates who recently took the annual Student University Entrance Examinations scored the maximum 700 points, while more than half of all test takers scored below the failing mark (300 points) and another third were unable to achieve a score of 100 points. Since the pool of candidates for law study is quite small based on examination scores, there is concern that students buy admission to law programmes.Google Scholar
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    T. Klumas, ‘Legal Education in the New Europe and the USA: Shall the Twain Ever Meet?’, The German Law Journal, 5 (2004), p. 2. Regarding the challenges posed by traditional faculty, it has been stated that ‘[a]gainst expectations, the old, unqualified, and xenophobic professors did not die out. They reproduced themselves through inbreeding, selecting future teachers from among their students according to criteria of loyalty and lack of intellectual challenge to the current incompetent professorate.’Google Scholar
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    UNDP, Project Information Document (1998). Approximately 72 per cent of all school buildings in Azerbaijan were not originally intended for educational use and nearly half of all buildings are in need of ‘substantial renovation’. Moreover, according to UNDP, there is considerable reluctance to modernize established construction norms: all building plans require the approval of the State Construction and Architectural Commission (SCAC). Apparently, the building norms can only be modified with presidential approval or decree. In February 2003, the President allocated 34 billion manat for the construction of new schools, rehabilitation of existing buildings, and the addition of new classrooms to old buildings.Google Scholar

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© Charles Charles Davidson and Nancy Sharp Nti Asare 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles Robert Davidson
  • Nancy Sharp Nti Asare

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