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: A Balanced Diet: Clinic For Sustainable Communities?

Lead Presenter: Christopher David Simmonds



Session Abstract: The Clinical Legal Education movement continues to grow with new clinics opening across the globe and with existing clinics continuing to expand and develop. It therefore seems timely to return to some of the basic questions about clinical provision within universities, in particular: 1. What are the goals of clinic; and 2. How should a clinic be structured in order to achieve those goals? The overall theme for the conference ‘Justice Education for a Just Society’ hints strongly at two of the potential goals, firstly the education of students and secondly supporting and promoting social justice. It would be wrong to think that these are the only goals of clinic. No doubt each clinical project has its own distinct goals. However, this paper considers the role of clinic in supporting and promoting social justice. Drawing on the theories of John Rawls in relation to social justice, it will examine what we mean by social justice and the similarities between the definition of social justice and the concept of sustainability, in particular the need to ensure balance between economic, social and environmental factors. Having highlighted the similarities between social justice and sustainability the paper then raises the question as to whether the goal of clinics should be to support and develop sustainable communities in order to achieve social justice. If so, then is it right that we should concentrate on assisting ‘low income individuals and communities and vulnerable members of society’ or should the scope of clinic be wider and include: 1. Promoting the development of local businesses, charities and community enterprises in order to aid economic growth; and 2. Working with NGO’s, local pressure groups etc… in order to advocate in relation to local environmental issues. Having set the scene, the paper will then be opened up to delegates for debate and comment on the issues raised with a view to opening a dialogue that, this paper will argue, should be ongoing in the context of clinical legal education.

Session Material:

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See full list of abstracts here.