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Clinical Legal Education: Comparative Global Models. Legal Education & Public Interest Lawyering in East Africa: The Role of University –based Law Clinics Feb.5-6, 2014 Kampala, Uganda. General history-Overview. Development of CLE: 1960’s- 1970’s (US)

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Clinical Legal Education: Comparative Global Models

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Clinical Legal Education: Comparative Global Models

Legal Education & Public Interest Lawyering in East Africa: The Role of University –based Law Clinics

Feb.5-6, 2014 Kampala, Uganda


General history-Overview

  • Development of CLE: 1960’s- 1970’s (US)

  • Idea borrowed from medical field—good pedagogical tool

  • Conducive environment/social factors—rights movement

  • Clinics mostly related to social justice objectives & challenging status quo

  • Institutional support from American Bar Association—student practice rules; accreditation (pushing for CLE at law schools)

  • Institutional/Uni support to make CLE part of the law school curriculum

  • Trend spreads to the Americas & Africa –models & focus shaped by context social factors & needs in the regions


Clinic MOdels

  • Walk-in legal aid clinics :widely across Africa, Americas; support to indigent; good exposure for students to live cases & clients; engage students in client representation; ethical dilemmas; honing of legal research & writing skills; responsibility for another human being; attention to the client.

  • Clinic course (with simulations): no live cases, purely pedagogical tool & not service oriented. Main goal-teaching legal skills through simulation.

  • Volunteer/Student-led clinics: not part of the curriculum, student-led initiatives that focus on engaging communities- legal assistance, referrals, legal empowerment.

  • Thematic specific clinics: tax, intellectual property, women, children, domestic violence, immigration, PwD, Human Rights, small business. (US-well funded CLE)

  • Street law/community law model: students visiting schools/communities to teach about the law, constitutional rights. Legal empowerment focused!

  • Strategic litigation clinics (public interest): focus on achieving fundamental legal, institutional reforms and tackling structural issues perpetuating human rights or constitutional rights violations at national or regional levels.


Human Rights Clinic Model

  • Accredited course- part of law school curriculum (elective)

  • Clinic seminar –teaching skills on legal representation, client-centredness, legal research & writing, trial advocacy, simulations, class discussion of cases & ethical issues;

  • Live cases/projects assigned to student teams-full responsibility to handle cases & projects with minimal staff oversight; -cases address wide range of international human rights issues;

  • Supervision by clinic staff—close supervision to mentor students on client representation and making court submissions;

  • Student exposure:

  • --Exposure to live international human rights issues, jurisprudence, socio-economic and political context in other countries;

  • --Exposure to using the law as a tool for social change & legal or institutional reform

  • --Generating student interest & commitment to human rights law practice

  • --Enables ‘student agency’ in playing an active part in fundamental reforms

  • Fora: Regional and International Courts/Mechanisms targeted

  • (ie: Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; UN mechanisms);


CLE IN The Americas

  • Strong emphasis on pedagogy- CLE as a tool to impart legal skills

  • Legal aid clinics- service oriented; expose students to needs/rights of indigent

  • Specialized clinics- specific thematic focus clinics

  • Human rights clinic model- first developed in the US & spread to the Americas

  • Enabling factors:

  • Social context—1960’s rights movement; interest in social justice & human rights

  • Support by ABA—CLE becomes part of law school curricula; accreditation raises CLE profile

  • Student practice rules enables students to litigate cases w/ staff supervision

  • Additional institutional support- CLEA; clinical conferences & networks, funders w/ CLE interest

  • Accreditation has made it easier to secure funds from core university budget

  • Interest in practical approach to teaching law in US (no mandatory internship reqm’t)


Cle in africa

  • Legal services model predominate in Africa—influenced by social context!!

  • Majority of universities in Africa with law departments/schools have a law clinic.

  • With exception of SA & Nigeria, boasting clinics in most of the law schools across the 2 countries; most other countries may have established clinics only in the leading or main universities; CLE still not widespread across the region. Some have yet to establish a university-based law clinic as such.

  • Factors affecting development of predominant CLE in Africa: SOCIAL CONTEXT

  • --access to justice focus/meeting overwhelming demand for services by indigent communities

  • --filling the gap left by State

  • -focus on professional training – “learning by doing”

  • -weak funding sources—limited university budgets;

  • -not focused on changing status quo or generating fundamental legal reforms

  • Exception: SA –strong institutional support-State sponsors/supports university-based law clinics- recognize role in promoting access to justice and complementing State duty to provide legal services

  • Recent trend- specialized clinics--example: HIV clinics & PwD clinics (external support)

  • No human rights or strategic litigation clinic model in the region—trend has not developedas yet.

  • Why not?? Limited political space to challenge gov’t action; limitations on student practice in court; formalistic law curriculum w/ focus on theory or commercial law?


Potential of HR Model in Africa

  • Student exposure: expose students to public interest law, human rights and social justice issues

  • Skills building: Hands-on experience with live cases & projects (critical legal analysis skills; human rights fact-finding and documentation; legal research & writing; advocacy skills; strategic lawyering skills; public speaking & presentation skills)

  • Agents of change: placing students at center of social change actions; students become players in fundamental legal & intuitional reforms

  • Professional training: placements w/ human rights NGOs (w/ supervision) hones professional skills

  • Commitment to public interest/human rights law- training a new generation of public interest lawyer; lawyers socially conscious and aware of civic duties to their community.

  • Bridging the gap between theory & practice: applying human rights law to real-life contexts & cases; students learn to appreciate and respond to complex socio-legal issues in context!

  • Learning in context: students exposed to topical issues and learn to address them through interactions with local human rights experts, advocates & activists; not purely theoretical learning.


Challenges

  • Securing funding (weak university support/financing); must compete for funds from external donors

  • Limited political space to allow for HR clinics challenging status quo

  • Formalistic law curricula w/ little appreciation of the human rights clinic model

  • Limitations on student practice in courts

  • National judicial system/judiciary rigidity/formalism


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