Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Strengthening Legal Education in Eastern Indonesia (SLEEI)

How can legal education in Indonesia become more relevant for supporting the rule of law and providing legal services that common citizens need?

2019 - 2021
Jacqueline Vel
NUFFIC’s Orange Knowledge Programme - ‘Security and Rule of Law in Indonesia’
Leaves of the lontar palm - an iconic tree of the dry Eastern Indonesian islands. Photograph by J Vel, April 2017, East Sumba

The SLEEI project aims at strengthening legal education, which is a crucial part of maintaining the rule of law in the country. Many  Indonesian citizens cannot realise their rights and continue to face a lack of legal certainty:  It is often unclear what laws apply in particular situations and it is hard to predict how the courts or the government will interpret them.  SLEEI will focus on course development and teaching methods that will produce graduates who master key legal skills required by the labour market, and who are aware of the ethical and inequality/gender issues involved in the problems they address.

The project will be conducted by a consortium of  four law faculties  in Eastern Indonesia (Ambon, Kupang, Waingapu, Mataram), two law faculties on Java (UGM and Jentera), one in the Netherlands (VVI Leiden), and the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT). The consortium builds on existing collaboration between Indonesian partners and Leiden Law School, including guest lecturing, masterclasses, joint research, and project based collaboration. With a central role for experts who are alumni of LLS (PhD) and now work at top universities in Indonesia, this project aims to change the collaboration’s focus from primarily Netherlands-Indonesia exchanges to structured interaction, sharing and support between and among Indonesian law faculties.

Working papers on legal skills, ethics, gender, local context and interactive teaching

A short survey in 2019 among students and lecturers of the Eastern Indonesian universities collaborating in the SLEEI project indicated that various aspects of the current legal education in those four universities could be improved. The main thematic areas of improvement include legal analysis and writing skills, legal ethics, higher responsiveness to local context, and also to gender aspects in law and legal education. Results of the survey also indicated existing interest in more interactive teaching methods.

The SLEEI team has now written 5 working papers that summarize the core aspects of these five themes.  The papers are written as key reference material for training law lecturers in Eastern Indonesia. Each paper discusses one of the themes and explains the issues that come up when enhancing law courses on content regarding the themes. The papers also contain practical suggestions on how to integrate the enhancements in existing courses.  These five papers compose the core of what will become the SLEEI manual for strengthening legal education. They are co-authored by Indonesian and Dutch experts who cooperate in SLEEI.

The Indonesian version of the papers can be also accessed through SLEEI’s website in Bahasa where you can also find more information on the project, events and updates.

The English and Indonesian versions can be downloaded here:

  1. Interactive teaching in legal education – English | Bahasa
  2. Legal Skills English | Bahasa
  3. Legal Ethics – English | Bahasa 
  4. Integrating gender in legal education – English | Bahasa
  5. Law in Local Context – English | Bahasa
Click to enlarge the image
Click to enlarge the image

WINNER conference

Week of Indonesia-Netherlands Education and Research (WINNER)
24-26 November 2020

SLEEI WINNER session 'From knowledge to practice through strengthening legal education'
Wednesday 25 November 9.00 - 9.45 hrs CET (online)


Updates on Project Activities

'International SLEEI Seminar/Webinar in Aru', photo credit: SLEEI team UnPatti/PSDKU Aru

28 June 2021

Faculty of Law, Pattimura University (Unpatti) Ambon’s study program outside the Main Campus (PSDKU) of Aru Islands Regency, held a Legal Academic paper Writing Competition, Legal Debate, Workshop and International Seminar.

The field coordinator of the event, Roky Mantaiborbir (see main photo), explained that the four international activities will be held in collaboration with the Van Vollenhoven Institute (VVI) of Leiden University in the Netherlands and Strengthening Legal Education In Eastern Indonesia (SLEEI).

"It is a great honor for us, PSDKU Aru Islands, especially the Law Study Program, because it was entrusted by the main campus of Unpatti, to organize an international event. And in terms of readiness, we're ready. Yes, despite a lot of obstacles. But thank God, we can go through well," he said.

The four competitions, he said, will be held today, June 28, 2021, in the psdku hall, which will be opened by the chairman of the Psdku Aru Legal Studies Study Program, N. Uktolseja.

The first activity is the international seminar, he explained, for which there will be three speakers. Namely, Dr. Herlambang P. Wiratraman (Lecturer of the Faculty of Law, Universitas Airlangga), Drs. Revoliyando Zakaria (Advisor to the Presidential Staff) and Dr. Revency V. Rugebregt (Director of SLEEI FH. Pattimura University Ambon).

The second activity is the Legal Academic Paper Writing Competition, about the theme of “the Role of Legal Higher Education in Eastern Indonesia in the Era of Revolution 4.0. " Seven teams participate in this competition," he said.

Thirdly, the Legal Debate Competition, he added, concentrated on the theme of Legal Education in Indonesia. Four teams, one from each of the Legal Studies Study Program at PSDKU Aru, participated, concluded Mantaiborbir. (WAL)

Translation of the original article: https://beritakotaambon.com/prodi-hukum-psdku-aru-akan-gelar-event-internasional/

Webinar Announcement poster, Photo credit: SLEEI team UNKRISWINA

Concerned about the recent occurrence of bride kidnapping on Sumba Island, Wira Wacana Christian University (Unkriswina) Sumba NTT held an international webinar reviewing legal views and other paradigms related to this subject.

Speakers at the seminar were Dr. Ir. Jacqueline Vel of the Van Vollenhoven Institute, Leiden Law School in the Netherlands, Dr. Widodo Dwi Putro, SH, MH of Mataram State University, Rambu Ami of the NGO Volunteers Solidarity with Women and Children of Sumba and Padjaru Lombu, SH, MH from Unkriswina Sumba. The Webinar was held on Tuesday (8/3/2021) in the hall of Unkriswina Sumba and online.

The webinar was opened by the Rector of Unkriswina Sumba Dr. Maklon P Killa, SE. There were approximately 200 registered participants watching through ZOOM, whereas there were more than 1400 views through Youtube.

Head of the Law Study Program Rambu Santi, MM, SH, MH said, this webinar aims to further study the bride kidnapping as it occurred on Sumba and see what legal measures could be taken, from the perspective of state law, human rights law and customary law which is also recognized in the country. She said "This webinar raises two major themes that are central in the SLEEI project, namely “Gender and law” and “law in local context”.

Committee Coordinator Raymon Letidjawa, SH, MH said, the activity was carried out right on International Women's Day. The first speaker Dr. Ir. Jacqueline Vel explained the cultural background of and reasons for bride kidnapping in various countries in the world and the gave an anthropological analysis of the phenomenon on Sumba. She highlighted the custom of marriage by elopement that existed in the past as a way for a young couple to escape from stringent marriage rules in local society. ‘Mutual consent’ and ‘acceptable violence’ are crucial issues in deciding whether kawin tangkap is criminal or not.

Rambu Ami highlighted several aspects of bride kidnapping cases that she encountered in her work with the NGO SOPAN. Moreover she also spoke about her youth when she confronted the threat of bride kidnapping four times, but fortunately could escape. It inspired her to help victims and be an activist for prevention of this violence against women, and pursuing legal action when it has occurred.

Lecturer of the UNKRISWINA Law Study Program Padjaru Lombu, SH, MH explained, about Women's human rights in a national context. Dr. Widodo Dwi Putro, SH, MH. argued that parties seeking legal solutions for bride kidnapping should pay attention to both cultural and human rights or anti-violence against women arguments. Only then there will be justice that is socially and legally accepted in the local context, because culture cannot be changed overnight.

Waingapu’s District Court Chief Justice Richard Basuki, SH,MH commented as discussant that since his appointment at the court Waingapu, there had not been a single case of bride kidnapping filed at the court. He argued that the issue needs to be considered in the context of other crimes against children and domestic violence.

This posting is based on the article in _ _TIMESINDONESIA:



This blog by Laurens van Veldhuizen is about strengthening universities’ legal education in remote areas in times of COVID-19.

Creating local ownership of a development project greatly increases its resilience to crisis. This is an important lesson we are learning in our SLEEI project, which has continued largely unaffected in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is thanks to the strong sense of local ownership among our Indonesian trainers and the deans and lecturers of participating universities. How did we cultivate this sense of local ownership?

Please read the full blog as published on the website of the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) at : https://www.kit.nl/local-ownership-creates-project-resilience/

'A sense of local ownership runs deep in the SLEEI project', Photo credit: SLEEI project, Ambon, Feburary 2020
'Legal education curriculum development workshop at UNRAM August 2020' Photo credit: SLEEI team UNRAM

August 18, 2020

Mataram University as one of 4 eastern Indonesian universities that are cooperation partners in the SLEEI Project has held a workshop on the development of legal education curriculum. The activity was held for 3 (three) days, namely on August 10, 11 and 12, 2020 at the Faculty of Law, Mataram University. Similar activities were also held at Wira Wacana Christian University in Waingapu (NTT), Artha Wacana Christian University in Kupang (NTT), and Pattimura University (Maluku).

Dean of the Faculty of Law Dr. H. Hirsanuddin, SH., MH gave a speech as well as opening a workshop event mentioning that the importance of this activity as one of evaluations as well as designing and implementing a new framework in curriculum development at the Faculty of Law, Mataram University.

Legal education curriculum development workshop was conducted virtually by the speakers and attended by workshop participants directly in the faculty of law in accordance with the standards of the Covid-19 Health protocol. There were 19 participants, with representatives from department within the law fculty, 2 facilitators and 5 members oof the organizing committee.

The first day was led by SLEEI trainer Bivitri Susanti (Jentera Law School, Jakarta) who addressed the subjects of legal skills (reasoning) and presented material covering the main subjects of legal reasoning methods, critical thinking in analyzing legal issues and using court rulings in studying law, and integration materials in the course syllaby (RPS). The next session was led by SLEEI trainer Rikardo Simarmata together with his UGM colleague Sri Wiyanti Eddyono. They addressed the theme of Gender and Law, discussion points included what is gender and why gender is questioned, then the definition of violence and gender discrimination and legal frameworks and policies in addition to legal approaches in the perspective of gender fairness and its application.

The second day SLEEI trainer Widodo Dwi Putro led a session about Legal Professional Ethics. The format of this discussion was slightly different from the previous day, because the speaker delivered the material directly in front of the participants so that the discussion were more lively with direct interaction in the session about ethics, morals, and profession. The next session was conducted by two SLEEI trainers, Herlambang P. Wiratraman (AirLangga University) and Rikardo Simarmata (UGM), discussing law in local context. In this session they showed a videos about the Bayan indigenous people and their tradition of wetu telu as it exists in the last two decades. Then there was a final session about how to integrate the themes discussed in the semester lecture plan (RPS) led by Herlambang P. Wiratman.

During the third day Herlambang P. Wiratman led a session about Interactive Learning in Legal Education. Participants were divided into groups per law department which included the criminal law, constitutional law, Business law, and Law and society. After they had completed their tasks participants presented the results of the group discussions in the plenary meeting.

The workshop was officially closed by the Dean of the Faculty of Law who again encouraged al law lecturers to engage in SLEEI supported curriculum development with the target of realizing innovations in their own semester lecture (RPS) designs. Workshop activities in general run well, interactive and conducive despite the shared concern about theCovid-19 pandemic. Finally the main output of this activity will be the implementation of redesigned law courses at UNRAM in which the 5 SLEEI themes are integrated can run.

Author: Titin Nurfatlah, translation J. Vel.


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