Cyber Law and the Quest for the Information-Age Legal Education

By Sonny Zulhuda

Talk about the Information Age has filled many seminars, newspapers, books, web-pages, blogs, etc. But has it invited law students and law academia too? Have our students be adequately equipped by the understanding (conceptually, technically and so on) of what Information Age is, and how it challenges the notion of law taught in law schools? These are the questions that preoccupy many legal minds concerned of legal education.

Information Age is about the change, not only on gadgets, but also on the way we live as well as change of perspectives. For legal fraternities (i.e. lawyers, attorneys, judges and legal academia), it is critical to acknowledge this change, and not leaving it only to the hands of computer scientists. This is because the Information Age is a discourse of a cross-disciplinary realm. No less than information scientists, engineers, lawyers, accountants, sociologists, political scientists and business people are all concerned. They could even find themselves incapacitated if they choose to work separately. In the word of Boyle, this is called the collapse of disciplinary boundaries.

The above forms the background of my paper in the international seminar on Cyberlaw soon to be organised by the Faculty of Law, Islamic University of Sultan Agung (UNISSULA), Semarang, Indonesia on Wednesday, 26th October 2011.  Hopefully this can invite a fruitful discussion among the faculty members and the seminar attendees.

The paper basically hypothesizes that in order to capably address legal issues and challenges in future, our legal education should be re-looked at and reformed. The Information Age environment should become an integral consideration in learning law (regardless the area; commercial, civil, criminal, constitutional, administrative, etc.). It argues not only for the introduction of cyber law in the law syllabus, but also the integration of the issues and discussion with other major and disciplines. On top of that, we can borrow Prof Palfrey’s thesis on ‘digital native‘ and ‘digital migrant’ so as to allow law to improve and deliver in the future.

 

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