Based on a philosophy of fostering creative-thinking specialists, rational innovators, and leaders in economics and politics who are cultured and civil-minded, Hitotsubashi University School of Law implements the curriculum in accordance with the following philosophy regarding organization of the curriculum, contents and methods of study, goals for achievement of study outcomes, and evaluation methods of study outcomes.
1.Our philosophy regarding organization of the curriculum
As stated in our Diploma Policy, we aim to nurture legal professionals who (1) are well-versed in business legal affairs, (2) have a broad international perspective, and (3) have an acute sensitivity to human rights issues. In order to achieve these educational goals, we provide a well-organized and coherent curriculum to ensure students acquire an understanding of the fundamentals of law and cultivate the practical and creative skills necessary to solve legal problems in the real world.
2.Contents and method of study
(1) The first year
In the first year for students without a background in law, five subjects (Constitutional Law, Civil Law, Civil Procedure, Criminal Law, and Criminal Procedure) are timetabled to provide a solid foundation and basis for study in the subsequent years. These are supplemented by the Introductory Seminar, which teaches students how to access legal information and read judgments and other materials, Comparative Legal Systems to broaden their perspective, and the Legal Drafting Seminar to develop the writing skills and powers of expression essential for legal professionals.
(2) The second year
In the second and subsequent years, the knowledge obtained from the five courses taken in the first year is confirmed, and students take seminar courses on problem-solving using the Socratic method, case method, and other methods. In addition, administrative and commercial law subjects are taught in an efficient and multidimensional manner on the foundation of the knowledge gained in the fundamental courses taken in the first year, and a variety of elective courses are provided. Students then take many practical legal courses on the basis of this foundation from the second year onward. There is the externship and Legal Clinic in the second year, and both civil and criminal moot courts in the third. Furthermore, from the latter half of the second year onward, practical courses such as Fundamentals of Civil Procedure, Legal Ethics, Fundamentals of Civil Practice, and Criminal Practice are provided.
(3) Distinctive studies in the third year
In the third year, students research a specific theme in depth from a multifaceted and practical perspective in a small class called the Advanced Seminar and have the opportunity to receive instruction in the writing of research papers, if they wish, in Legal Research.
The following courses and subjects clearly demonstrate the distinctive features of our School of Law’s educational philosophy.
- Business Law Course
The Business Law Course is designed specifically for those with a strong interest in the practice of corporate law. A practical curriculum based on the latest business realities is taught in classes held one day a week at our Chiyoda Campus.
- Opportunities to gain an international perspective
Our students have opportunities to gain a more international perspective through our Anglo-American Law, Legal English, and Reading and Study of Foreign Law Materials courses. Courses are taught by full-time staff who are qualified to practice law in foreign countries or have extensive knowledge of Japanese and foreign legal practice through their experience in corporate transactions and other activities. Visiting professors invited from other countries by our Graduate School of Law also assist us in various ways.
- Opportunities to cultivate greater sensitivity to human rights
In addition to the Legal Clinic (Human Rights Clinic), which is part of the Advanced Seminar, we invite experts who are leaders in human rights protection to give special lectures on a regular basis.
To prevent misconduct in research activities, all students are required to undertake research ethics training.
3.Goals for achievement of study outcomes
The goals for the first year are for students to acquire a knowledge of the fundamentals of law, develop a legal mind, and learn how legal arguments are made.
In the second and subsequent years of study, the aim is to develop the practical ability to apply fundamental knowledge to solve actual problems. The diverse group of elective courses is designed to lay the groundwork for the activities of a leading legal practitioner. Our practical courses aim to make our students aware of the legal profession and motivate them to study while helping them acquire practical skills. Through these courses, a solid foundation of fundamental knowledge can be acquired.
Furthermore, the Advanced Seminar and Legal Research in the third year enrich our curriculum to meet the diverse needs of students.
As for our distinctive curriculum, ① the Business Law Course aims to facilitate the acquisition of practical and advanced expertise in corporate law. ② The provision of opportunities to gain an international perspective aims to nurture the legal mind and practical legal approach required by the international community. ③ The opportunities to cultivate greater sensitivity to human rights aim to help students understand what constitute human rights in the 21st century in the context of real society and practice and existing laws.
4.Evaluation and grading
In accordance with the grading system specified in the syllabus, evaluation is based not only on written examinations and reports, but also on the students’ performance in class, such as their level of participation in class. Grading is conducted in accordance with guidelines prescribing the ratios of various components and on the premise that attendance requirements have been fulfilled.
In order to ensure the appropriateness and rigor of grading, the School of Law employs the standard scale applied across the University and ensures transparency and fairness by allowing students to request an explanation of their grades.
5.Improving the curriculum
Under the leadership of the Director, we continue to make necessary improvements in order to better achieve our educational goals by reviewing the curriculum through discussions at Faculty Development (FD) meetings and inspecting the number of enrollments in each course registration and the grading of each.