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: Collaboration Of The Legal Clinic And The Legal Service At The University

Lead Presenter: Katsiaryna Harbuzava



Session Abstract: Nowadays there is a serious problem with the involvement of the experienced supervisors to the clinical educational process in Belarus. On the one hand, universities that have legal clinics are not ready to pay salary to potential supervisors. On the other hand, the Belarusian lawyers think quite critical about the consultation pro bono and often undervalue this kind of work. They not see the benefits such practice could bring. Besides, there are very few organizations and citizens who are well-informed about the possibilities of free legal aid in Belarus. Also it’s quite problematic to involve representatives of the NGO’s and human rights activists in legal clinics. The exceptions are some organizations that can provide legal advices time to time, not constantly, and they are involved in the protection of the rights of a certain social groups (for example, Office for the Rights of Disabled Persons). In these conditions it is usual that legal professors who do not have practical experience (or practice at this very period) often work as supervisors, and they do research work in various fields (civil, family, labor, criminal, administrative law, etc.). Belarusian legal clinics solve this problem in different ways. Legal professors who have a job at the universities in addition to practical activity at the same time work as supervisors. Some clinics attract their own graduates as supervisors because they are familiar with the specific features of legal clinical education and ready to help a new generation of clinicians. But usually supervisors are the legal teachers who have no practical experience (or had legal practice long time ago and don’t know the nuances of modern legal processes). Legal clinic at Vitebsk State University tries to solve this problem un the following way. As all the universities we have a legal service that provides legal assistance in economic cases, contracts and at the same time have to give legal advices to the students, their parents and university staff. So the head of this legal service controls the work of some clinical students on civil, labor, family, educational cases. This approach helps to receive the following aims: 1) the legal clinic has an experienced supervisor; 2) this supervisor is “closer” to the students, it is easier to organize a meeting with him (cause other supervisors who practice law are much more busy); 3) the university has an opportunity to solve more legal questions of the students and academic staff that apply for the legal advices to the legal service; 4) the students of the clinic are more responsible in the cases where they work with their colleagues and professors; 5) the students can stay at the office and watch the processes of legal advices given by the head of the service in some cases (if the client is agree).

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