Law students want to retain ‘Dr’ title
Changes to the law course will remove the Doctorate of Laws (LLD) title.
James J. Piscopo
8 January 2014, 12:00am
Law students are expected to re-engage in talks with junior minister Owen Bonnici and Attorney General Peter Grech later on today, where they will once again make their stand clear that after five years of studies they want to retain the ‘Dr’ title upon graduating.
Changes to the law course resulted from the implementation of the Bologna Process, which sought to facilitate recognition of degrees and academic qualifications across Europe.
The changes will remove the Doctorate of Laws (LLD) title and replace it with Master of Laws (LLM), which means that prospective lawyers will not be honoured with a doctorate degree.
The amendments to the current setup will also see the duration of the course reduced from six years to five: four years for a bachelor in laws (LLB) and a year for the LLM. Currently, three years are taken for LLB and a further three years for an LLD.
Law students already voiced their concerns in a consultation meeting organised on campus last December.
Current students believe that changes should only apply to future prospective students, who will be informed of the changes before commencing the course. They deem it unfair if it affected current students, who entered the course with the intention of attaining a doctorate.
“It doesn’t make a huge difference whether it will be LLM or LLD. But the person with an LLD, having a Dr title, will be considered superior to others. This may instigate possible discrimination at the workplace between lawyers with a Doctorate and a Masters degree,” a law student said when contacted by this newspaper.
But not all the students give the same importance to the issue.
“The 'Dr.' title that is currently awarded amounts to nothing more than a mere honorary title. I see nothing wrong in having a shorter course, getting a bachelor degree and a master degree in 5 years and exiting university on an equal academic footing, as current practitioners carrying a Dr title,” Jake Azzopardi, a second-year student said.
Yesterday, a meeting was held between law students, Justice junior minister Owen Bonnici and the Attorney General. Another meeting is expected to take place later on today.
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