Clinical Legal Education and Human Rights Values: A Universal Pro Forma for Law Clinics

Date01 January 2022
Published date01 January 2022
Subject MatterArticles
Clinical Legal Education
and Human Rights Values:
A Universal Pro Forma
for Law Clinics
Omar Madhloom1 and Irene Antonopoulos2
This article explores the theoretical foundations for a social justice–centric global law clinic movement.
Our starting position is that law clinics, a type of clinical legal education (CLE), are in a unique position
to engage in, and potentially promote, social justice issues outside their immediate communities
and jurisdictions. To achieve this aim, it is necessary for law clinics to adopt a universal pro forma
underpinned by the key concepts of CLE, namely social justice education and promoting access to
justice through law reform. We argue that the main features of CLE are aligned with those of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on issues such as human dignity and social justice.
Incorporating UDHR values into CLE serves three purposes. First, it acts as a universal pro forma,
which facilitates communication between clinics across jurisdictions, irrespective of their cultural or
legal background. Second, it allows clinics to identify sources of global injustices and to share resources
and expertise to collectively address injustices. Third, the theoretical approach advocated in this article
argues that clinics have a Kantian moral right to engage in transnational law reform.
In an increasingly globalized legal profession, which is required to respond to transboundary challenges,
legal education should prepare law students to engage with the world around them and not be simply
conned to the ‘law in action’ in their own jurisdiction.3 This presents two challenges: identifying the
legal barriers to transboundary clinic collaborations and the framework through which students can
3 Irene Antonopoulos & Omar Madhloom, Promoting International Human Rights Values Through Reflective Practice in Clinical
Legal Education: A Perspective from England and Wales, 37 in InternatIonal perspectIves In socIal JustIce programs at the
InstItutIonal and communIty levels 109–127 (enakshI Sengupta & PatrIck BlessInger eds., 2021),
S2055-364120210000037008 (accessed 7 May 2021).
Asian Journal of Legal Education
9(1) 23–35, 2022
© 2021 The West Bengal National
University of Juridical Sciences
Reprints and permissions:
DOI: 10.1177/23220058211051031
Corresponding author:
Omar Madhloom, Senior Lecturer, School of Law, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1HH, UK.
1 Senior Lecturer, School of Law, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK.
2 Lecturer, Department of Law and Criminology, Royal Holloway, University of London, Surrey, UK.

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