The Italian university system is undergoing significant transformation, also as a consequence of recent statutory reforms. Within this process, the long-established Faculty of Law of the University of Parma has now become the Department of Law. Within the Department various programmes are taught, including the Degree in Law (Single Cycle) and the Bachelor (First Cycle) and Master (Second Cycle) Degrees in Social Work and in Political Science. An introduction to each of these programmes may be found in the relevant section of this website and in the Student Guide.
The Degree in Law, after which the Department is named in keeping with traditions, aims at educating future legal professionals, in particular practicing lawyers, judges and notaries public. However, the programme also ensures adequate competencies and knowledge to students wishing to undergo a career in private and public sectors, at the national and international levels.
In order to take fully advantage of their legal education, students should possess a committed cultural background, proficient language skills, and be open-minded, favouring discussion and critical approaches to problems. Indeed, only the patient cooperation between different stakeholders can bring to a solution for many of the problems of day-to-day life. Students approaching legal studies often have the narrow thinking that this requires nothing but studying statutory rules, which are indeed increasingly complex. However, an understanding of changing social and human needs is essential in order to identify those rules which are both appropriate and consistent within the overall legal system to cope with them. In this framework, it is of primary importance to understand the increasing need of coordination among rules in a pluralistic, transnational and globalized legal context. It is easy to understand that reducing legal knowledge and competences to the mere knowledge of legal rules is fallacious. It is essentials for students to learn and command legal reasoning techniques which enable them to identify and use new rules of law, but also to interpret old ones in order to meet new needs.
As already mentioned, the Italian university system is undergoing major changes. The long-standing programme in Law has recently endured an intense innovation. However, it has preserved its traditional approach known as “prudentia iuris”. This expression sums up the attitude of solving the largest part of life’s problems through a strict use of dialectics, i.e. the art of arguing through logic, which is in turn indissolubly intertwined with tolerance and open-mindedness.
Continuing the effort initiated by the then Faculty, the Department of Law of the University of Parma is currently implementing the above-mentioned reforms. In particular, changes in the curricula have been introduced, as detailed in the Student Guide. Special mention should be made of the new curriculum for the Degree in Law, which took effect from a.y. 2008/2009.
Professors and Researches of the Department, with the cooperation of legal practitioners, have set up a School of Law (Scuola di specializzazione per le professioni legali). This higher legal training is aimed at law graduates (at master’s level) wishing to further their legal competences and skills in order to be eligible to admission to the bar, as well as to sit public competitions which are required to enter the judiciary (as judges or prosecutors) and to practice as notaries public.
Within available resources, other high-level vocational training and research programmes will be offered, in continuity with initiatives undertaken under the aegis of the former Faculty, including an Advanced Course in Labour Law. A PhD programme in Legal Sciences is now offered in cooperation with the Law Department of University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. Finally, existing cooperation with foreign Universities and academic institutions will be strengthened.
On behalf of the Department of Law, I convey to our students the wish that they may find in the academic life that feeling of trust and cooperation that is the precondition to progress safely and fruitfully in their path towards knowledge. In order to achieve this objective, it is essential to combine cultural curiosity and enthusiasm for old and new things with thorough and collaborative commitment.
Prof Giovanni Francesco Basini