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
Date Written: 2015
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
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