Constitutional Court Explores Collaboration with University of Leeds’ School of Law

Secretary-General Heru Setiawan (center) and the Head of the Planning and Finance Bureau, Tatang Garjito (right), posing for pictures alongside the Head of the School of Law, Prof. Louise Ellison, Tuesday (6/25/2024) at the School of Law, University of Leeds. Photo by MKRI.

LEEDS, UK — Located 350 km or 4.5-hour drive south of the Supreme Court of Scotland, the University of Leeds was the second destination for the Constitutional Court (MK) delegation's visit to the United Kingdom (UK). On Tuesday morning, June 25, 2024, at 10:00 local time, the Court Secretary General Heru Setiawan's delegation arrived at Woodhouse Lane, the University of Leeds home. They were greeted by Dr. Adam Tyson and several university staff. Also present were two Indonesian students in Leeds, namely Gibran, studying at the School of Law, and Tanaya, studying sustainable fashion at the School of Design.

After introducing themselves, Tyson took the Court delegation on a brief tour of the main buildings of the University of Leeds before heading to the Faculty of Law and Social Science. Tyson shared with the Court delegation that the University of Leeds has many students from various countries, including Asia, as evidenced by the numerous non-UK students around the campus.

Many of them were seen taking photos in graduation attire and accessories. According to Tyson, Gibran, and Tanaya, these students usually take such photos because they have completed their studies and their funding period has ended, so they will leave the UK before the official graduation ceremony. Tyson mentioned that, in fact, the cost of living in Leeds is not as high as in other cities.

Arriving in front of the Leeds University Union—a kind of university club or student center—Tyson pointed to an old three-story building that stood taller than the surrounding structures. The building had a red tile roof. Its third floor was a small white structure that seemed to jut from the roof. This small white room had flat glass windows, characteristic of European architecture, and faced the University Union, giving the impression that someone inside was watching over the students.

According to Tyson, the old Beech Grove House building has stood since the 1920s and is used as the Education House or Academic Department of the University of Leeds. This building symbolically represents the University's responsibility for all academic activities. Slightly behind Beech Grove House is a modern building with walls almost entirely made of glass. The delegation was invited inside and went up to the second floor using a staircase with iron steps covered in wood. The atmosphere in the lecture building was relatively quiet due to the semester break when the delegation was surprised by the presence of a tall figure greeting them at the top of the stairs.

The tall figures were Dr. Trevor Clark and Dr. Paulo Sandro, who were accompanying the Head of the School of Law, Prof. Louise Ellison, to meet with the MK delegation. During this visit, the Secretary General of MK was accompanied by the Head of Planning and Finance Bureau, Tatang Garjito, Constitutional Clerk Expert Associate, Mardian Wibowo, Muhammad Halim, and Donny Yuniarto and Rizki Kurnia Chaesario as language translators.

The School of Law at the University of Leeds Overview

The delegation was received in the Head of School's meeting room in a warm and informal atmosphere. After the Secretary General explained that the purpose of the visit was to establish relations and explore educational cooperation between the Court and the School of Law at the University of Leeds, Prof. Louise explained the School of Law and current legal issues.

The School of Law is part of the Faculty of Law and Social Sciences. Therefore, its highest leader is called the "head" rather than the "dean." The School offers four main study programs: Law and Social Justice Studies, Criminal Justice and Law Studies, Business Law Studies, and Legal Education Innovation and Research Studies. These programs cover undergraduate (Bachelor's), postgraduate (Master's), and doctoral (Ph.D.) levels of education.

When it was founded in 1899, 125 years ago, the School of Law had only 22 mostly local, male, and predominantly part-time students. Today, the School of Law has over 2,000 full-time students from around the world. The School of Law's alumni now reach 16,000, spread across the globe.

Louise explained that the academic tradition at Leeds does not separate law from social sciences. This differs from the Indonesian tradition, where law and other social sciences are often divided into separate faculties.

Exploring Collaboration

During the discussion session, the Court Secretary General Heru Setiawan explained that the Court has three capacity-building programs for its employees: Master's and PhD studies both domestically and abroad, short courses or recharging programs at foreign universities, and international conferences. The collaboration proposed by MK to the School of Law is a short course or recharging program where the School of Law would act as the facilitator. Naturally, the funding for such programs would be the responsibility of the MK.

Heru Setiawan also explained the recharging programs the Court has conducted with several universities or legal institutions worldwide. These recharging programs typically last between two to three months and thus have a different curriculum structure compared to regular courses.

In response to such collaboration offers, Louise mentioned that the concept of recharging or short courses is new to the School of Law. They are very prepared to accept students at the regular level. Louise even explained that the master's level can be completed in just one year, with a thesis length of around 10,000 words.

From such exploratory discussions, both parties gained new and interesting information. Therefore, Heru Setiawan, representing the Court, and Louise, representing the School of Law, agreed to continue efforts to explore collaboration in the next meeting, both through direct interaction and correspondence via email.

Closing today's visit session just after lunchtime, Secretary General Heru Setiawan and members of the delegation took turns presenting souvenirs. These included a plaque from the court building and authentic Indonesian batik cloth. A fragrant Indonesian coffee package was also given as a gesture of goodwill and friendship.

Also read: Court Exchanges Knowledge with the Supreme Court of Scotland

Author            : DY/MH/RKC/MW
Editor             : N. Rosi
Translators     : Naomi Andrea Zebua/Rizky Kurnia Chaesario (NL)

Disclaimer: The original version of the news is in Indonesian. In case of any differences between the English and the Indonesian versions, the Indonesian version will prevail.

Tuesday, July 02, 2024 | 14:37 WIB 14