The study of law and development seems to be flourishing these days. I do not mean that there are well- attended conferences or widely read journals. There should be but there aren’t. Rather, what I mean is a lot of things are going on in lots of places that are carrying forward the original law and development impetus even if they do not use that title or communicate with others doing related work.
Take my recent visit to Nagoya University’s new program on Cross Border Legal Institution Design run by the Nagoya Law School’s Leading Graduate School Program http://www.law.nagoya-u.ac.jp/~leading/en/index-e.html. This program, under the energetic leadership of Yoshi Matsuura, has developed an innovative program to train law and development practitioners and scholars from all over the world. Students engage in real-world projects, meet with leading scholars and experts, travel to developing countries to do field work, and prepare concrete reform proposals.
I was there to attend a student-organized conference that involved leading academics from Asia, Europe and the US who had been selected by the students. While there we worked with student groups on topics of mutual interest. The students come from rich and poor countries: I personally interacted with students from Japan, France, Poland, Taiwan, Uzbekistan and Bangladesh. Hassane Cissé, Deputy GC of the World Bank, was there to talk about the Bank’s newly created Global Forum on Law, Development and Justice. http://www.globalforumljd.org/ and we had a stimulating discussion about the limits of global solutions to law and development problems and the need for deeper knowledge of local contexts.
If the field of law and development is to realize its promise, there is a need for more programs like this, better ways to share information about research and teaching, and more opportunities to bring senior people in the field and aspiring practitioners and scholars together.
By David Trubek