TEACHING AND LEARNING FOREIGN LANGUAGES FOR LEGAL PURPOSES IN CROATIA

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Abstract

In accordance with the Bologna Declaration, modern languages and communication skills have a growing importance in all professions. With the prospect of Croatian membership of the EU and taking into consideration the conditions of the growing internationalization of law in general, knowledge of foreign languages represents an indispensable prerequisite for international com- munication within the legal profession. Thus, teaching foreign languages in the field of law, especially English and German, is necessary not only for the pro- fessional education of Croatian law students, but also for their mobility within the network of European universities. This paper presents a case-study of the current situation in teaching Legal English and Legal German in Croatian Law Schools. First, the status of foreign languages for specific purposes (FLSP) in the Higher Education System of the Republic of Croatia in general is analyzed. The main part of the paper is dedicated to teaching Legal English and / or Legal German as compulsory courses within the curricula of Croatian law faculties (status, syllabus design, teaching methods). Then some projects on teaching foreign languages to practicing lawyers will be presented. With the prospect of Croatian membership of the EU, specific education programmes for lawyer- linguists have been introduced by the Law Faculties of Zagreb and Osijek. These programmes, developed within the lifelong education project for lawyers, offer an opportunity for Croatian law students and young lawyers not only to im- prove their knowledge of Legal English and Legal German, but also to learn other languages of the EU, like French or Italian. These new programmes are the response of Croatian foreign language teachers to the current requirements of the European labour market and the challenges of the internationalization of the modern world.

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