Clinical legal education in Croatia – from providing legal assistance to the poor to practical education of students


  • Barbara Preložnjak University of Zagreb



Although clinical legal education has a long tradition in common law countries, the countries of the continental European legal system, to which the Republic of Croatia (hereinafter Croatia) belongs, have recognized its importance in the last few years. The first established legal clinic in Croatia was the one of the Faculty of Law at the University of Rijeka. It has been implemented as part of the curriculum for the academic year 1996/1997 and offered to the fourth year students as an elective course entitled “Clinic for Civil Law”. Within the Rijeka Clinic, law students were able to acquire theoretical and practical knowledge, by resolving hypothetical cases, under the supervision and with the support of teachers, lawyers, judges, notaries public and state attorneys. In 2002, with the support of the Institute Open Society from Budapest, the Faculty of Law at the University of Osijek established a legal clinic in the form of practical training for students of the third and fourth year of legal studies. By participating in the clinic’s activity, students of Osijek Law Faculty helped provide legal aid to citizens of lower economic status. This included help in providing general legal information and legal advice, as well as help in covering procedural cost from the funds donated to the Clinic. The lack of financial means that were needed for daily expenditures meant that the Legal Clinic in Osijek was temporarily closed. Nowadays, faculty members of Osijek Law Faculty are trying to solve financial problems and to continue previous good practice in providing legal aid to the poor citizens.