Hebron, Palestine, 22 July 2012-- The Legal Clinic of Hebron University (HU) participated in the Tenth annual Conference of the International Journal of Clinical Legal Education organized by Northumbria University in Durham, United Kingdom, from 10 to 14 July 2012. This conference served as forum in which about 200 clinical educators from some 90 universities, representing 25 countries from all continents, who came together to discuss various aspects of clinical teaching, to learn from one another and to share best practices. The conference included academics, lawyers, law students and social activists with a mix of keynote speech, panel discussion, formal presentations and interactive workshop sessions. There were opportunities for participation, collaboration and dialogue. The conference themes included trends in international clinical legal education, internationalizing clinical legal education, clinic twinning projects, clinical scholarship, reporting research findings, assessment/grading of clinical legal education, in particular how do rubrics and other techniques of the grading process, evidencing best practices, new clinics and new clinicians, review of clinical operations, and student and faculty attitudes to clinical learning.
Hebron University was represented by its Legal Clinic Director and Professor of International Law, Dr. Mutaz Qafisheh. Dr. Qafisheh presented a paper entitled “The Role of Legal Clinics in Leading Legal Education: The Model of the Legal Clinic of Hebron University”.
After presenting an overview on the clinical legal movement in Palestine, Dr. Qafisheh discussed the role of the legal clinics in contributing to the legal education by using practical means not only in the level of the university, but also at the local community and at the national level. Although the Legal Clinic of HU has been recently established, it in effect led the legal education processes in HU and beyond. The Clinic, which was originally established to provide functions that standard legal clinics anywhere in the world serve, i.e. training law students to provide pro-bono services to marginalized groups and practice law before graduation, it constituted the hub of rights activism, policy-making, curricula development, practical training, and conferencing. The Clinic hosts a specialized law library and a modern computer lab, training and conferencing facilities. It networked with a number of NGOs, governmental institutions, and international organizations. It supported the curricula development, in the process of setting up a new Palestinian peer-reviewed law journal, organized major national and international conferences. In short, the Clinic forms an institute of law, a research and training center and a law office. The paper elaborated on these activities with the purpose of laying the ground for further discussion to enhance the mandate of this Clinic, learn from other experiences, and explore whether HU’s Clinic may offer a model that could be replicated at the national, regional and international levels. The paper would be published in the forthcoming issue of the International Journal of Clinical Legal Education.
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