Faculty of Law
Legal education has a centuries-long history and is available around the world.
Globalization, a phenomenon that became prominent especially in the last quarter of the 20th century and continued into the 21st century, has had a major impact on the conception of nation-state and national law, thus calling for a revision of the overall design of legal education. In this context, every legal question potentially has an international aspect, and a legal question that arises in a certain country can spread to other countries, and affect their legal systems.
A good case in point is the world of business and economics, where production and service processes (the "value chain") that cross national boundaries give rise to a new type of law that deals with the relations created by those processes. Similarly, efforts to specify the legal standards governing the rights of human beings have to take into account a rights-based global system, as the number of mechanisms that force governments to respect and comply with international legal standards continue to grow.
In all countries around the world, the primary objective of legal education is to teach the national law and the accompanying practice. However, legal education must definitely include a thorough examination of the legal relations at the international level with which the national law interacts.
Very simply put, the objective of law is to regulate the relations between people, and to ensure that those relations comply with the resulting regulations. Legal methodology plays an undeniably important role in the establishment and maintenance of a diverse range of relations between human beings, as well as in the assessment and elimination of the resulting inequalities. Moreover, during the last fifty years, the local and global consequences of our local and global activities have become a basic issue that also concerns the field of law. A concrete outcome of this phenomenon is the Sustainable Development Goals, which cover the period between 2015 and 2030 and constitute a system of rights-based principles for a development effort that includes all governments of the world.
On the other hand, legal methodology is not the only methodology that we use to design our relations in their entirety. Many non-legal factors have, or at least potentially have, an impact on our legal relations. This is why a good legal education program must adopt a multi-disciplinary approach covering a wide range of study fields. Considering that the eventual objective of law is to regulate the relations between people, this eventually means that we have to understand the reality of the law as a part of social relations.
The education program of BİLGİ Faculty of Law has been designed with this purpose in mind. Accordingly, the curriculum of the Faculty of Law contains such courses as civil law, criminal law, commercial law, constitutional law, administrative law, civil and criminal procedure law, philosophy of law, international law, human rights law, and the theory of the state, which have traditionally been among the basic and required courses of law faculties around the world, considering that they concern the main areas of interpersonal relations. Just like in other countries of the world, this setup is both an academic and a professional requirement.
On the other hand, legal education must also incorporate, to varying degrees, those areas of legal regulation that arise from the dynamism of life at the social, economic, technological, and cultural levels. This is why the curriculum of the Faculty of Law contains a wide range of required or elective courses such as the Law of International Organizations, Law and Society, Institutions of the European Union, Competition Law, Law and Psychology, Criminal Justice, Media and Communications Law, Sports Law, International Sales Law, Capital Markets Law, Intellectual Property Law, Foreign Investment Law, and International Criminal Law. Most of these courses are offered in English.
This gives students the opportunity to equip themselves with the necessary skills to work in public administration, the private sector or other academic and professional fields at both the national and international levels, in addition to the more traditional professions related to the judiciary.
Upon the approval of the Turkish Higher Education Council, the four-year undergraduate program of BİLGİ Faculty of Law began to offer 30 % of a student’s course load in English, starting in the academic year 2016-2017. Courses offered in English are mainly related to the theory of law and the international aspects of law.
Another important component of legal education at BİLGİ is the "Legal Clinic". Open to third- and fourth-year students, this course offers a legal education methodology that was for the first time introduced in Turkey by BİLGİ Faculty of Law in 2003. The course has reached its 15th year now, and other faculties of law have recently begun to offer similar courses. As part of efforts to use this methodology more extensively around the country, a protocol was signed in 2016 between fourteen Turkish faculties of law, including BİLGİ Faculty of Law. The protocol is also supported by the Turkish Ministry of Justice. This education methodology allows students to apply their basic legal knowledge and skills to real-life cases, offering free-of-charge guidance to those involved.
BİLGİ Faculty of Law has signed tens of exchange agreements with leading European (Erasmus) and US universities, thus giving students the opportunity to test their legal knowledge at the international level. BİLGİ is also a member of the Laureate International Universities Network, which gives students access to a vast body of knowledge and experience at institutions covering four continents.
Turgut Tarhanlı, Prof.