Book review: Social Justice and Legal Education. Edited by Chris Ashford and Paul Mckeown

Published date01 July 2018
Date01 July 2018
AuthorSandipan Mitra
Subject MatterBook Reviews
Book Review
Social Justice and Legal Education. Edited by Chris Ashford and Paul Mckeown, Cambridge Scholars
Publishing, Newcastle, 2018, 325 Pp. + vi. £70, ISBN 978-1-5275-0646-6
This edited volume entails a global study of social justice in the context of legal education. Contributors
to the collection are drawn from a wide range of geographical locations. In the recent years, social justice
has emerged as a powerful driver of work both in law schools and in legal profession. However, questions
regarding how the term is understood and given within the legal academy and beyond have remained
unanswered. This book explores the meanings that have evolved and might subsequently develop together
with a practical exploration of the projects that have sought to bring social justice agenda to life in law
schools. Over the course of seventeen chapters, it engages with a vast spectrum of social justice and legal
education themes, including clinical legal education, innocence projects, access to justice, cause lawyering,
LGBTQ identities, ethics in contemporary legal education and education for sustainable development.
The rst chapter inadequately introduces the works by simply summarizing their main points.
Based on the understanding that strategic and impactful clinical work affords students a meaningful
exposure to the cultural and social context of the practice of law, Chapter 2 outlines how involvement in
children’s rights strategic casework can increase a student’s critical awareness of the role of law and
lawyer in society. It suggests that putting students at the heart of strategic litigation offers a rich
educational space for critical observation of the process of professional decision-making in a unique
context and allows students to meaningfully introspect what type of lawyer they want to become.
Universities have varying aims. While some intend to achieve social justice for all the members of the
society by imparting moral values in the students, as in case of Denmark, others try to enhance economic
productivity by improving the students’ skills and professionalism. A number of factors, source of
funding being one of them, determine how universities envision their objective. Chapter 3 argues that
universities can achieve both these goals by incorporating clinics within their faculties. This provides an
innovative method of developing both skills of the students and contributing to the community.
Chapter 4 considers the ways in which clinical supervision can enable students to appreciate the
social justice dimensions of legal processes and legal work. It argues that effective supervision is integral
to the process of harnessing the rich learning potential of clinical experiences since supervisors play a
central role in providing learners with a deeper understanding of social justice concepts and the complex
nature of public policy debates. In doing so, the chapter, with a focus on Australia, thoroughly interrogates
the role of the supervisors and proposes certain important recommendations. Chapter 5 does a micro
study of the different stages of procedure and protocol of the advice process of the Legal Advice Clinic
at Huddersfield to understand the actual operation of law upon persons and the detrimental impact it can
have upon the vulnerable.
Asian Journal of Legal Education
5(2) 186–189
© 2018 The West Bengal National
University of Juridical Sciences
SAGE Publications
DOI: 10.1177/2322005818782563

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