Very recently, the Nawaloka College of Higher Studies (NCHS) entered into a landmark partnership with Ulster University to launch a new LLB programme. During the first two years, students will follow the lectures in Colombo, which will mirror on a weekly basis what is being taught at Ulster through a curriculum and syllabus that maintains the highest standards of British higher education. A distinguished team of lecturers will deliver these lectures with examinations and assessments being moderated by staff at Ulster. During the third year, students will be able to study at Ulster University. With 28,000 students spanning a full range of undergraduate and postgraduate as well as doctoral programmes across 4 campuses in Northern Ireland, plus 2 satellite campuses in England, Ulster is the one of the larger universities in the United Kingdom, and it is the largest on the island of Ireland.
Ulster has attracted students and scholars from across the globe. It has over 1,000 students from more than 90 countries enrolled in various programmes. Northern Ireland is an integral part of the United Kingdom. London, for instance, is just over 1 hour away, served daily by over 30 flights. The capital city, Belfast, is among the world’s top destinations for financial and legal services technologies investment. The city of Belfast routinely tops surveys for the quality of life. For students, all of this is available at a cost which makes Northern Ireland the most affordable region of the UK in which to live and study, and also a safe one. Belfast is the second safest city in the world. The University offers guarantees of a place of residence in University owned or managed accommodation on or close by to the campuses. Based on previous students’ assessments, the International Student Barometer survey placed Ulster at Number 1 as the most desirable place to study in the UK.
For students who come to study Law at Ulster during the third year, there are particular strengths to note. Ulster offers a fully recognised UK undergraduate law degree which enjoys Qualifying Law Degree (QLD) status in both Northern Ireland as well as England & Wales, plus also the Republic of Ireland. The School of Law adopts a holistic approach to teaching which links classroom study to real life legal situations through problem-solving learning. In the 2017 National Student Survey, the School achieved an overall satisfaction of 96% (way above the national average for this subject). At the Guardian Newspaper’s University league table for 2018, the School was ranked in the top 20 of the Law Schools nationally in the UK. At the launch on 14 December 2018, Professor Paul Carmichael, Associate Dean (Global Engagements) for the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences stated that “through our exciting new partnership with Nawaloka College of Higher Studies, students can look forward with confidence to a top quality life transforming educational experience that will help them to fulfil their potential and unlock the door to many more opportunities beyond.”
We now live in a global village where English law is increasingly accepted as the applicable law in international contracts, arbitrations and conflict of law situations. As China progresses along its ‘One Belt One Road’ philosophy, it finds itself that partner countries prefer to adopt English law principles. In international arbitration centres in London, Tokyo, Sydney, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Dubai and Mumbai, for instance, the preferred choice of law is mostly English law. With Sri Lanka poised to become an International Financial Centre, those whose legal education has been enriched by exposure to U.K. law taught both here and in the U.K. will be at a distinct advantage to work in international law firms or to advise clients. During the first two years at NCHS, students will have the opportunity to follow, if they so wish, optional Sri Lankan law subjects which will help to broaden their horizons. Their knowledge of Sri Lankan law will stand in good stead when they need to sit Law College examinations if they so choose to gain admitted as Attorneys-at-Law after completing their studies at Ulster.
The ‘Two Plus One’ formula is an innovative approach in legal education offered in Sri Lanka. Students would have gained sufficient familiarity with U.K. and Irish legal concepts by the time they go to Ulster. They would have acquired a high degree of maturity and understanding of the broader role of law in society and how the law impacts on social relations. Through moot court sessions, they would have been able to sharpen their articulation and intellectual skills to be ready for court work later on. Among the subjects taught in semester one are Exploring Law and Law, Politics and Governance - two exciting subject areas that will stimulate critical thought and comment. Recent local events have exemplified the complexity in interpreting constitutional and legal provisions coupled with traditions followed by Parliaments around the world. The inter-section of law with governance in a political setting opens up a new world of potential permutations and combinations and students enrolled at the NCHS Law School will be the first generation of Sri Lankan law students to be part of this fascinating journey.
Dr. Dayanath Jayasuriya P. C.