The Faculty of Laws at University College London: One Step Away from France
Located a five-minute walk away from the Eurostar terminal at Saint Pancras, the Faculty of Laws at University College London (UCL) is geographically naturally prone to look towards France. The attraction to its spiritual father, Jeremy Bentham, of codification may also have been a reason for UCL to look beyond the Channel towards the French Napoleonic codified system. Reciprocally, the prestige of UCL Faculty of Laws – ranked third after Oxford and Cambridge according to a recent national survey of students – and its location in Bloomsbury were bound to raise interest among French universities and students. Links between UCL and France have therefore been long-standing, fruitful and active. These links take the shape of student programmes, teaching links and research collaborations.
UCL's Faculty of Laws has student exchange programmes with numerous partner universities across the world but our programmes with France are the most important in terms of student numbers and teaching resources.
International student programmes feature prominently at UCL since about one-third of our undergraduate students are part of exchange programmes. Some are recruited by UCL, others by our partner universities, which send a selected happy few to UCL for a year as ‘affiliate students’. UCL Faculty of Laws has links with prestigious universities, many in Commonwealth countries, such as the University of New South Wales (Australia), the University of Hong Kong, the National University of Singapore and Columbia University in the United States. But our European exchange programmes also stand prominently, counting links with: Germany – Cologne and Munich (Ludwig Maximilians Universität München); Spain – Carlos III in Madrid and Girona; Italy (Florence); and, of course, France, with Paris II University Panthéon-Assas and Université Paul Cézanne, Aix-en-Provence.
The links with France date back to 1984 for Aix-en-Provence and 1989/90 for Paris II Panthéon-Assas. Relationships have developed through time and rely on solid ties. Collaboration is smooth because academics and administrative staff involved in the management of the French links, and, indeed, of all European links, regularly meet up, informally. Moreover, UCL chairs a formal gathering once a year at one of our partner universities or at UCL. This provides a unique opportunity to plan ahead for the coming academic year but also to strengthen our relationships by enabling people to put faces to names.