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More foreign students studying Law in Leiden

25 June 2007, 00:00

Every year about a hundred foreign Law graduates come to Leiden for a post-academic study programme, an advanced LL.M. (LL.M.: Master of Laws).

Every year about a hundred foreign Law graduates come to Leiden for a post-academic study programme, an advanced LL.M. (LL.M.: Master of Laws). And the general English language master's are becoming increasingly popular among foreign students - this academic year, 120 foreign master's students applied for admission at the Law Faculty.  Also, the Faculty hosts some 200 exchange students every year.  

Advanced LL.M. programmes
Entrance to the advanced LL.M. programmes is only open to those students who have obtained a Law degree in their country of origin, which gives them access to the senior legal professions, as judges or lawyers.  The Law Faculty offers four different advanced LL.M’s; the teaching is carried out within four associated institutes. Following a visitation by the an international commission, all four programmes have now been accredited.  This is an important quality standard, but it is also significant because, since 1 April 2007, the IND (Immigration and Naturalisation Department) will not issue a visum to international students who are following a non-accredited study programme. 

Many Chinese students
Public International Law and International Tax Law in particular are very popular.  Almost a hundred students registered for Tax Law this last year.  It was only possible to admit forty students, which meant that the selection criteria were very strict.  In the first instance, the university where the applicant had studied was considered.  Last year a remarkably high number of Chinese students applied for the international tax programme.  If they have graduated at a very reputable university such as Peking, this was a good recommendation.  If they also have a good command of English - as demonstrated by an adequate score in a TOEFL or IELTS test – they were in almost all cases accepted.

Unique in the world
Air and Space Law and International Tax Law are unique in the world.  Leiden is the only University to offer these programmes.  This is not the case for Public International Law and European Business Law. Public International Law does have the advantage of a very competitive position compared to similar programmes elsewhere in the world, because all the main international courts of law are located in The Hague. There is a high degree of competition for the programme in European Business Law. This programme can be followed at some twenty other locations in Europe.  There are, however, a number of ‘unique selling points’, explains Professor of European Law and Programme Coordinator for European Business Law, Prof. Piet Jan Slot, LL.M.: ‘We publish the most significant journal in this field: Common Market Law Review, and a further pluspoint is that Leiden University has such a good reputation throughout the world.  We have some 25 students a year at European Business Law. An ideal number, in fact; with a larger number, teaching becomes more difficult.’

‘What grant? I pay my own fees.’
An advanced LL.M. programme takes one year and costs between twelve and fifteen thousand euro. The programmes are self-financing, which means that neither the University nor the Faculty has to make a contribution.  Although this is a large sum of money, most students are willing to pay the fee.  Slot: 'On my occasional visits to China I take the opportunity to talk about our advanced LL.M. programmes.  I tell potential applicants that it might be useful to look at the possibilities for a grant, but they are often not interested in trying for a grant.  'What grant?' they say.  'I earn this amount, I have so much left over and so I can pay for it myself!' The attitude is very different from in Europe.  People there are proud to be able to pay and they are prepared to fight for what they want to achieve.' 

The Faculty is very pleased with the four advanced LL.M. programmes, which are in addition to the regular programmes which have recently received a good assessment.
Dean of the Law Faculty, Prof. Carel Stolker, LL.M.: ‘These programmes increase the allure of Leiden enormously.  The people who leave here with an advanced LL.M. diploma often hold top positions in international law.  They work, for example for major European and American law firms with branches all over the globe. Or they find positions in the international courts of law.  Some also go into the diplomatic service or join the National Bank of  China.  These people are all ambassadors for Leiden and for the Leiden Law Faculty, and as such they help to maintain and to strengthen our good reputation.'

Breeding ground
The advanced LL.M. programmes also act as a breeding ground for PhD researchers and staff.  Many of the students want to obtain a PhD, although this does not always happen because they have such busy jobs.  But some do make it. Slot: ‘And we have also been able to recruit some excellent staff members from the advanced LL.M. circles.’

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