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Online Legal Education in the Macao SAR: Fostering Technology in a Multilingual Learning Environment
Neuwirth, Rostam J.;  Ramaswamy, M.P.; Svetlicinii, Alexandr
Size of Audience40
Type of SpeakerPresenter

The Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People’s Republic of China holds a unique position in the world not only due to its legal system, but also in historic, cultural, linguistic and economic terms. These unique characteristics provide great opportunities for the economic development but also pose serious challenges in the area of legal education and training of future lawyers particularly in a rapidly changing local, regional and global context.

The overview of the legal profession in Macao reveals an innate link between university-level and professional legal education and the conditions for seeking license as a legal practitioner in the Macao SAR. The significance of legal education in Macao law manifests not only in the minimum educational qualification requirements for the entry into the profession but also for the entry into the pupillage. Relevantly, although one of the basic qualification requirements for the entry transcends law degrees obtained locally, any foreign law degree through which the entry is sought should be locally recognized under the relevant regulations and be supplemented with an adaptation course in the local law.

The paper traces the development of online legal education in the Macao SAR in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) in March 2020. It summarizes the overall features of the higher education institutions before it studies the example of the University of Macau (UM), Macao’s only comprehensive public university. Against the backdrop of the overall macroeconomic impact of the pandemic on the Macao economy, the paper shows what steps had been undertaken before the outbreak of the pandemic and how these had helped to provide exclusively online or hybrid classes during the pandemic. The shift to online teaching after the outbreak of the pandemic also quickly transformed the format of legal education, which was focused more on classroom teaching and more reluctant to make ample use of the available e-learning tools. As was shown from the past experiences with online legal education at UM, several such electronic learning tools were encouraged to foster out-of-class engagement of the students.

Overall, the pandemic had an indirect positive effect on the familiarity of staff and students with the various new learning technologies. These positive effects notwithstanding, it is also important to consider the wider context of the use of modern educational technologies, such as notably the common mental health problems related to mobile phone addiction or problematic internet use. Equally, it is important to follow the opinion of users of online education. Last but not least, it is because of the nature of law, which is strongly rooted in human interactions that direct student-teacher contact but also peer-to-peer learning, facilitated not only by classroom teaching but also other personal contacts on the university campus play a crucial role in the education and formation of future lawyers. For these reasons, it is also important to closely align the debate about the use of modern education technologies with the debate about the future material content of legal education.

KeywordLegal Education Law Online Legal Education
URLView the original
Author of SourceMacao Polytechnic University
The Source to ArticleThe 14th Higher Education International Conference on Online Teaching and Sustainable Quality Assurance: Challenges and Perspectives
Document TypePresentation
Faculty of Law
AffiliationUniversity of Macau
Recommended Citation
GB/T 7714
Neuwirth, Rostam J., Ramaswamy, M.P.,Svetlicinii, Alexandr. Online Legal Education in the Macao SAR: Fostering Technology in a Multilingual Learning Environment
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