Abstracts

Short abstracts of the presentations were submitted by many of the speakers in advance of the conference. The titles of those that were submitted are underlined; to view those abstracts, click on the title.

Title: The Purpose And Impact Of Justice Education, And Its Incorporation In Legal Education Programme Design.

Lead Presenter: Jonathan Campbell

Co-Presenters:

TBA

Session Abstract: The purpose and impact of justice education, and its incorporation in legal education programme design. The three pillars of legal education are widely accepted in legal education literature to be knowledge, skills and values. See, for example, the September 2013 Singapore Declaration on Global Standards and Outcomes of a Legal Education, which includes under values the fundamental principles of justice and the rule of law. This is evident too in the rationale for the LLB qualification in South Africa, which is underpinned by constitutional values. Clinical legal work is able to contribute significantly to all three of these pillars, in particular the development of generic and practical skills in students and the inculcation of social justice values. Thus clinical work is a critical component of justice education, and yet in many jurisdictions it is regarded as an ‘add-on’ to academic legal education that is not fundamental to the academic project. What is often overlooked by clinicians and academics alike is the need for clinic work to be understood in the context of the purpose of legal education as a whole. If clinic work is promoted in this way, then it can earn its rightful place as an integral component of the academic law curriculum, which has resultant positive implications for profile, funding and resource allocation within the university context. The dual purpose of legal education has widely been identified in international literature since the nineteenth century as (i) an academic education and (ii) qualification for practice. Both functions of legal education are central to its purpose, and are not mutually exclusive. It is critical to recognise that clinical work can serve both imperatives. Whilst it is practice-based, with an emphasis on the development of a wide range of skills, the clinic provides far more than a technicist practical programme. The clinic is able to add flesh to social justice values foundational to an academic education in ways that are not possible in the classroom, and thus can breathe life into justice education. Furthermore, the law clinic is rooted in the community, not set apart in the academic institution, and so can provide justice education not just to law students, but also to paralegal advice offices that it supports, local communities, and others. The latter provides a wonderful opportunity for students to participate as educators, and many students testify to learning more from teaching and assisting others than as passive recipients of knowledge. It has often been said that the strength of any constitutional democracy (and of its judiciary) is dependent on the quality of its legal profession, which of course is reliant in turn on the legal education that prepares graduates for that profession. Yet a good lawyer is so much more than one who knows well the law and how to apply it. Social justice values of equality, human rights and freedoms are pervasive in constitutional democracies, which all lawyers have a duty to safeguard. The law is values-based, and a deep understanding and inculcation of the values of social justice are as important as knowledge of the law.

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See full list of abstracts here.