Evolving Jurisprudence in Clinical Legal Education - A Contemporary Study in Theory and Practice
AbstractIn concept and practice, clinical legal education is widely affirmed by its global success. As R.J. Wilson puts it, clinical legal education is an “…ongoing and growing revolution that is assaulting the deepest traditions of the legal academy.” It is also asserted by others that “the trend across the globe has shifted from traditional legal education to justice education which is inspired by justice education campaigns.” This success is however marked by the absence of a coherent and articulate jurisprudence that unifies the essence of clinical legal education. This may be largely due to the sheer diversity of forms, conceptualisations and justifications of what has become a movement in recent decades. This globalised movement presents as a complexity of diverse thinking and practice. Nevertheless, upon careful examination, it becomes evident that there are many unifying strands of thinking underpinning clinical legal education that make it possible to theorise clinical legal education whether as pedagogy or legal philosophy. The ambition of this article therefore is to seek to give jurisprudential expression to clinical legal education as an articulate but integral category of legal philosophy. The author will draw on a unique clinical project based in the London Borough of Ealing that has successfully partnered the local law school and the principal human rights and equalities body in the borough to create the Community Advice Programme (CAP) as a substantial expression of the essence of clinical legal education in a modern globalised world. The essay will firstly offer a brief contemporary contextual framework of analysis which reveals a significant level of intersectionality in many parts of the world between clinical legal education and practice and other social, economic, political and cultural developments that challenge traditional models of clinical legal education. The article will then examine clinical legal education in theory and practice and conclude with reflections on an evolving clinical jurisprudence.
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