Promoting Clinical Legal Education in India: A Case Study of the Citizen Participation Clinic
56 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2012 Last revised: 5 May 2015
Date Written: July 18, 2012
This Report is the product of a unique collaboration between the Good Governance and Citizen Participation Clinic at Jindal Global Law School and the Cornell International Human Rights Clinic at Cornell Law School. Students based in the Jindal Global Law School (Sonipat, India) and Cornell Law School (Ithaca, N.Y.) participated in a joint class using videoconferencing technology from January to May, 2012 and worked on preparing the Report.
The Report points out that most law schools in India lack robust clinical legal education programs. Clinical legal education is essential to preparing law students to practice law effectively and promoting access to justice for marginalized groups. The report recommends that law schools mandate that trained faculty directly supervise students undertaking legal work, provide credit to students who engage in legal aid services, and ensure low student-teacher ratios in skills-based classes. Additionally, the report recommends that the Bar Council repeal its prohibition against professors and students practicing law before courts in India.
The Report describes the key features of the Citizen Participation Clinic at Jindal. That clinic aims to address the disconnect between the Indian Constitution’s promise for a dignified life for every citizen and the reality of undignified human existence for the majority of the population, particularly in rural areas. That Clinic is one important example of a successful clinical model that can be adopted by other law schools in India to engage with their neighboring communities and to train law students in important lawyering skills.
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