Legal Clinics in Continental Western Europe: The Approach of the Utrecht Legal Clinic on Conflict, Human Rights, and International Justice
American Society of International Law Proceedings (Proceedings of its 104th Annual Meeting”, American Society of International Law, Washington, 2010, ISBN: 0-97923-297-8, pp. 46-49.
4 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2017
Date Written: April 20, 2017
It is a common feature in the United States and continental Western Europe that clinical education is developed on the understanding that its main goal is to provide students with an opportunity to actually apply their knowledge in ongoing real cases by placing them in a situation in which, with the close supervision of experienced (former) practitioners, they can provide legal services to individual or institutional clients. Nevertheless, the Utrecht Legal Clinic, as other law clinics in Western Europe, differ from a paradigmatic US human rights clinic in at least two key aspects: (i) the types of clients to whom they provide legal services; and (ii) the level of students’ autonomy and supervisors’ involvement in the elaboration of the legal work which is to be delivered to the clinic’s clients. Both aspects appear to be interrelated as the level of students’ autonomy and supervisor’s involvement in the elaboration of the final ‘product’ varies depending on who the clinic’s clients are, and the nature of their requirements. The Utrecht Legal Clinic constitutes a unique model because it focuses its work on international organisations which have a strong judicial component, and also because it combines the provision of pro bono legal services to international judicial institutions located in nearby areas such as The Hague as well as the Inter- American Court of Human Rights located thousands of kilometres away in San Jose, Costa Rica.
Keywords: Legal Clinics, International Law, Teaching Law.
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