Catalan usage is decreasing is Catalonia's Law studies, according to data released Thursday by Plataforma per la Llengua. These data were obtained after analysing the teaching plans of Law degrees and master’s degrees' subjects, as well as data published on the faculties' websites. The conclusion is clear: the Catalan language is a minority in all law degrees and master's degrees at Catalan universities. Only 38% of Law degree's hours and 28.7% of the master's degree's hours are taught in Catalan. This represents a decrease of 3.2 points for degrees and 2.5 points for master's degrees.
It is true that public universities offer a higher percentage of hours in Catalan than private universities. On average, public degrees offer 44.7% of their hours in Catalan, while private universities only offer 7%. It should be noted that the Universitat Rovira i Virgili (85.8%), the Universitat de Lleida (62.4%) and the Universitat de Girona (47.8%) universities are the only ones that offer more hours of classes in Catalan than in Spanish. In the rest of the centres, both public and private, the percentage of teaching in Spanish is higher and the usage of Catalan has worsened when compared to last year: only the Universitat de Lleida (1.4 points) and the private Universitat Internacional de Catalunya (10.4 points) have increased the number of law classes' hours imparted in Catalan. Regarding public centres, the number of hours imparted in Catalan fell by 3.7 points overall, a widespread drop: "of particular concern" is the 8.8-point drop at the Universitat de Girona or the 3.2-point drop at the Universitat of Barcelona, which represents 40% of the Law degree's teaching hours in Catalonia and was already the university that taught the least hours in Catalan.
No university guarantees the right to study a 100% in Catalan
Plataforma per la Llengua considers that its analysis "show it is almost, if not completely impossible, to study a law degree entirely in Catalan". No university in Catalonia guarantees the right to study entirely in Catalan, except for the online Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (which was not part of the study). Only the Universitat Rovira Virgili offers a wide array of core subjects in Catalan. The Universitat of Barcelona and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona have the most student groups, at least one of which is taught in Catalan in almost all core subjects, but most of the groups are taught in Spanish. Although the Universitat de Lleida and the Universitat de Girona are among those which teach the most hours in Catalan, they do not have a group in which over half the core subjects are taught in Catalan.
The analysis also reveals that Catalan is used more in the initial courses of the law degree than in the higher courses and in the master's degree for access to the legal profession. The presence of the native language declines above all from the third year onwards, continues in the fourth year, and is accentuated in the master's degree. However, in this academic year hours taught in Catalan diminished in first (36.4%), second (40.8%) and third (33.2%) year when compared to the two previous years, although in fourth year the percentage (40.6%) increases every year. Only the Universitat de Girona (76.1%), the Universitat Rovira Virgili (63.1%) and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (51.3%) impart more than half of the master's hours in Catalan. In fact, the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and the Universitat de Lleida (44%) are the only ones to improve: in the case of the Autònoma, the percentage of teaching hours in their native language increased by 20.3 points.
Catalan in Law Studies in the Balearic Islands and the Valencian Country
The data do not refer exclusively to Catalonia, but also make clear that Catalan in law studies is stagnating in the Balearic Islands and growing in the País Valencià. In the Balearic Islands, 21.7% of undergraduate classes are taught in their native language: teaching in Catalan is stagnating and only grew by 0.6 points. In the Valencian Country, 23.8% of undergraduate teaching and 5.6% of master's degree teaching is taught in Catalan: the percentage in undergraduate teaching increases 4 points thanks to the Universitat de Valencia's plan to increase teaching in Valencian. These and other data can be consulted on the Plataforma per la Llengua website.
The problem the Catalan language suffers in the justice system is well known, and that is why Plataforma per la Llengua considers" crucial that training in Catalan for future law professionals in order to increase its use in professional practice is promoted". Therefore, guaranteeing "an option to study in Catalan and that groups in Catalan in all timetables are offered, in the event that both morning and afternoon classes are imparted, is necessary". In addition, the organisation believes that "students must have full knowledge of the Catalan legal language" and proposes the creation of "a subject on Catalan legal language to facilitate this". "It is important that all teaching material is available in Catalan and that measures to ensure the teacher's high degree of temporality and internationalisation does not alter the linguistic uses of the universities be implemented. Plataforma per la Llengua is also in favour of increasing the language's use in law master's degrees because of its professional profile, and calls on private universities to show the language as a plus in their training plans, not to consider it a nuisance for international students", concludes the organisation.