– Harsh Mahaseth & Anuj Agrawal
When it comes to the region of choice for LL.M. applicants, the US and the UK are two of the most popular. While there are plenty of good law schools in both, it should be pointed out that there are some equally good law schools in our own backyard. Asian universities regularly feature in the best law schools of the world, and even if you are not into rankings, these universities merit a second look for anyone interested in an LL.M. abroad.
Apart from the high quality of education, Asian universities also offer other advantages such as their strategic location, relatively lower tuition, and a culturally diverse environment.
So, if you are thinking about pursuing an LL.M. in Asia, here is a list of universities that we think you should take a look at. Do note that this list is not meant to be an exhaustive one; the idea is to highlight the fact that there are some amazing law schools in this region.
Singapore is one of the most developed nations in Asia, and it has a strong educational system. It is no surprise that it also houses two of the top law schools of Asia, namely:
1. The National University of Singapore
The National University of Singapore ranks as the best law school in Asia and #12 in the world. It has a range of LLM programmes including specializations in Asian Legal Studies, Maritime Law, Intellectual Property & Technology Law, International Arbitration & Dispute Resolution, etc. all of which are ranked among the top universities for these specializations.
The NUS faculty has professors from all around the world, and many more visiting each semester, making it a perfect environment for specializations such as Asian Legal Studies, or International and Comparative Law.
As Singapore is a huge hub for international arbitration, the specialization in International Arbitration & Dispute Resolution has some of the world’s leading academicians and practitioners teaching the course.
2.Singapore Management University
Although not as popular or well-known as NUS, the Singapore Management University is certainly worth a closer examination. The University has an interesting Cross-Border and Finance Law in Asia LL.M. Programme as well as Dual LLM Programme in Commercial Law with degrees from SMU and the Queen Mary University of London.
If you are interested, you can even take a look at the SMU JD course as this Indian law graduate did.
The best university in Malaysia and within the Top 100 ranked law schools in the world, the University of Malaya has a long and rich history. Have a look at their LLM programme with interesting courses such as Media Law, Biosafety Law, International Natural Resources Law, Oil and Gas Law, Nano Technology and Policy, etc.
This top-ranked private university in Malaysia, Taylor’s University offers 2 interesting niche specializations – International Business and Trade Law, and Healthcare and Medical Law.
Also read: Our interview of Puteri S. the LLM Program Director at Taylor’s University
Although currently in the midsts of social and political uncertainty, Hong Kong has consistently been one of the best Asian countries for education. The three law schools in the nation all rank within the top 100 law schools in the world.
Ranked as the second-best law school in Asia and #19 in the world, the University of Hong Kong offers several specialised master’s courses. With a strong programme in Arbitration & Dispute Resolution and Hong Kong being one of the biggest international arbitration hubs, the LLM (Arb&DR) has huge potential for students interested in this area.
The university also has several other interesting programmes such as the LLM(Human Rights), LLM(Medical Ethic and Laws), LLM(Compliance and Regulation), etc. and also the possibilities of full scholarships.
Also see: FPA of Hussain Somji, LL.M. in Arbitration and Dispute Resolution, HKU
2. Chinese University of Hong Kong
The University offers interesting specializations such as International Economic Law, and Energy and Environmental Law, and even a Common Law specialization for students who want to learn more about the Common Law Legal System.
Apart from the courses, the work at the different centres could be of interest too.
3. City University of Hong Kong
The University offers interesting specializations such as International Economic Law, Corporate and Commercial Law, Intellectual Property and Technology Law, and even a Common Law specialization for students who want to learn more about the Common Law Legal System.
Japan has a rich culture and the same goes for its law schools. There are also a lot of scholarships for international students who want to study in Japan. While the opportunities for foreign trained lawyers are few and far between, Japan can still be a wise choice given the country’s economic prowess.
The LLM is a one-year degree program taught entirely in English. The diversity of both the faculty and student body ensures a unique educational experience at one of Japan’s oldest and most prestigious national universities. Also, do have a look at the ADB Scholarship, which is a fully-funded opportunity.
A fairly recent introduction, the LL.M. in Global Legal Practice at Keio University is an interesting programme that has managed to garner a global alumni in a short amount of time. The fact that the diversity is also reflected in the faculty, is another reason for giving this course a deeper look.
South Korea is an interesting nation with a fusion of culture and technology. There are also a lot of scholarships for international students who want to study in South Korea.
Since its foundation in 1895, Seoul National University has been one of the leaders in advancing legal scholarship and education in Asia. Ranked 38 in the world, SNU has a prestigious LLM programme with fierce competition for every slot.
The course offers numerous specializations including Constitutional Law, Civil Law, International Law, Social Law, Commerical Law, etc. Do note that the LL.M. at SNU is a two-year course.
Also read: FPA with Shubhi Pandey, LL.M. candidate at SNU
For over 110 years, Korea University has been making history. It has been at the forefront of academic excellence. Do have a look at their different courses, including an interesting JSD program.
China is a global superpower, and any expertise in the country will be of immense value to the global lawyer of tomorrow. The country has recently started opening its borders, and now houses a number institutions which are providing quality legal education. There are also a lot of scholarships for international students who want to study in China.
One of the first law schools in China, Peking University has an LLM program and one in Chinese Law. Do note that the LL.M. is a two-year program with the LL.M. (IP) a three-year programme.
Also read: An Interview with Cole Agar, School of Transnational Law at Peking University
Tsinghua is one of the premier institutions in China. Check out the International Arbitration & Dispute Settlement program at the University.
With a long and rich history, the University of Colombo has a prestigious LL.M. programme and an illustrious list of professors and alumni members.
(Lead image by Jéan Béller on Unsplash)