“Just teach them the law!”: The ethics of value inculcation within legal education

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To what extent should law teachers be permitted to advance controversial ethical, moral or political views as part of the LLB curriculum? This short paper grapples with that question by defending the ethical permissibility of such behaviour subject to the important proviso that it does not cause students “pedagogical harm”. In reaching this conclusion, three alternative views are considered and dismissed, each of which seeks either to eliminate value inculcation entirely or to restrict its scope to the moral-political values currently immanent within established law. The approach taken is argumentative, drawing upon analytical philosophy, with each contested and contestable view being presented in propositional form. Ultimately, it is concluded that value inculcation cannot be avoided within legal education and that, given this fact, the question becomes which values law teachers have a responsibility to advance. It is contended that this judgement, fraught though it might be for various reasons, is best left to individual teachers and that, for this reason among others, a permissive “no-harm” approach to value inculcation best justifies current pedagogical practices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)390-399
Number of pages10
JournalThe Law Teacher
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sept 2023

Bibliographical note

This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the University’s Research Publications and Open Access policy.


  • normative ethics
  • philosophy of education
  • value inculcation
  • Curriculum design

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