Clinical Legal Education's Contribution to Building Constitutionalism and Democracy in South Africa: Past, Present, and Future

60 N.Y.L. Sch. L. Rev. 433 (2015-2016)

Posted: 16 Dec 2017

See all articles by Peggy Maisel

Peggy Maisel

Boston University - School of Law

Shaheda Mahomed

University of the Witwatersrand

Meetali Jain

University of Cape Town (UCT) - Faculty of Law

Date Written: 2015

Abstract

Clinical Legal Education (“CLE”) courses were first introduced in South Africa nearly fifty years ago. Since then, their role has changed from addressing legal problems perpetrated by an oppressive system, to strengthening South Africa’s transition to democracy. The end of apartheid has been accompanied by a transition of focus from private law to public law. South Africa currently has seventeen public universities, each of which has a law faculty and a legal clinic. Many clinical programs’ missions are primarily dedicated to community service and providing access to justice.

Although CLE programs have undertaken some human rights and law reform work, more can be done to increase law school engagement in these areas. Analyzing data from a survey of clinical directors and associate directors, the authors find ways to maximize the impact of CLE courses on transformative constitutionalism. The authors recommend several types of programmatic integration to increase engagement in law reform work. These positive changes include integrating CLE courses into the law school curriculum and having CLE courses work more closely with the broader public interest legal community.

Keywords: South Africa, Clinical Legal Education, law school curriculum, pedagogy, transformative constitutionalism, law reform, access to justice

Suggested Citation

Maisel, Peggy and Mahomed, Shaheda and Jain, Meetali, Clinical Legal Education's Contribution to Building Constitutionalism and Democracy in South Africa: Past, Present, and Future (2015). 60 N.Y.L. Sch. L. Rev. 433 (2015-2016), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3088631

Peggy Maisel (Contact Author)

Boston University - School of Law ( email )

765 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States

Shaheda Mahomed

University of the Witwatersrand ( email )

1 Jan Smuts Avenue
Johannesburg, GA Gauteng 2000
South Africa

Meetali Jain

University of Cape Town (UCT) - Faculty of Law ( email )

Private Bag
Rondebosch 7701
South Africa

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