The use of scenarios in legal education to develop futures thinking and sustainability competencies

Michelle Lim*, Andrew Allan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Achieving sustainability requires a populace equipped to deal with complex, interacting and ever-changing realities as well as uncertain futures. There is however a significant lack of focus on developing sustainability competencies within legal and governance education. Legal education plays a key role in shaping sustainable futures. Long-term sustainability relies on lawyers, judges and policy-makers being able to make optimal decisions in the present when faced with significant uncertainty about the future. This paper discusses how the combination of problem-based learning (PBL) and scenario-based pedagogical approaches can provide an authentic contextualised learning environment to empower law students to deal with the challenges of global change. The paper highlights the potential of the approach to equip students with the skills to work through plausible future challenges; to consider a range of options; and to manage interacting environmental, social and economic issues in an adaptive fashion. The paper describes how the approach was applied in the context of the Water Law Master’s (LLM) course at the University of Dundee. The paper concludes with recommendations of how scenario-based approaches could be used in other contexts and further highlights the importance of such approaches in developing sustainability competencies through the legal curriculum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-340
Number of pages20
JournalLaw Teacher
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'The use of scenarios in legal education to develop futures thinking and sustainability competencies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this