The Legal Clinic and its Role in Developing Legal Education
Dr. Mohammed Bentalha
Professor of Public Law
College of Legal – Economic and Social Sciences
Cadi Ayyad University – Marrakech – Morocco
This study aims to introduce the legal clinic and its role in developing legal education in colleges and universities, as it constitutes an interpretation of the modern concept which considers that education is no longer limited to the transfer of knowledge, but rather it enables students to freely interact with educational programs and acquire critical thinking skills.
The legal clinic was launched at the beginning of the last century and expanded and spread during the sixties of the last century in American universities. It has then introduced to most countries as an integral part of the curriculum. Its application witnessed many developments, the most prominent of which is going beyond the limits of the University campus and being taught to law students only as part of preparing them for their practical life, but rather moving to the society and involving marginalized groups who should be informed of their legal rights and enabled to achieve these rights through legal means.
The importance of this study is evident in that it provides the concerned professors, students, and university administrations a comprehensive overview of the goal of adopting legal clinics, the methods of their application, types and specialties, all in order to simulate the various aspects covered by the litigation processes so that the student acquires the academic and practical knowledge that qualifies him/her for professional success, as well as accustom him/her to engagement in voluntary work and the services of the community.
The problematic stemming from this study appears upon following up the application of the legal clinic in Arab countries, which has started about twenty years ago. This application is facing many obstacles and hindrances, among which is the lack of clarity of vision due to the literal application of the experiences of American universities without trying to adapt them to the reality of Arab societies. This is in addition to the limited spread of legal culture in these societies, as well as the limited financial capabilities that contribute to the success of this experiment and achieving its goals.
The study has been divided into six sections including: the emergence, development, programs, target groups and types of the legal clinic, the American and Arab experiences, before reaching a number of conclusions including the necessity to develop the capacities of law professors to keep pace with the modern approach of legal education, and to transfer to future education that is based on understanding and learning life skills instead of indoctrination.
Keywords: future education, legal sciences, defense and advocacy, right to litigation, target groups, justice.