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Conference on Legal Education and Public Interest Lawyering in East Africa: The Role of University Based Law Clinics (5 th – 6 th FEBRUARY 2014 ) Richard.

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Presentation on theme: "Conference on Legal Education and Public Interest Lawyering in East Africa: The Role of University Based Law Clinics (5 th – 6 th FEBRUARY 2014 ) Richard."— Presentation transcript:

1 Conference on Legal Education and Public Interest Lawyering in East Africa: The Role of University Based Law Clinics (5 th – 6 th FEBRUARY 2014 ) Richard KAYIBANDA (LLB & LLM) Assistant Lecturer, Legal Aid Clinic of the School of Law College of Arts and Social Sciences-University of Rwanda 4/29/20151University of Rwanda- Legal Aid Clinic (UR-LAC) Practical Legal Training in Rwanda: The Butare Approach

2 Outline of the Presentation  Background of LCs & CLE in Rwanda  Legal Clinic as a subject of the Law Curriculum  Legal Clinic as a Community Service 4/29/20152 University of Rwanda- Legal Aid Clinic (UR- LAC)

3 In details... 4/29/20153 University of Rwanda- Legal Aid Clinic (UR- LAC)

4 1. Background of LCs in Rwanda  In Rwanda the history of Legal Clinics is of recent : University of Rwanda Legal Aid Clinic (UR-LAC) in 2001 Kigali Independent University (ULK) Legal Clinic in 2006 Independent Institute of Lay Adventists of Kigali (INILAK) Legal Clinic in 2007 Ruhengeri Institute of High Education (INES) Legal Clinic after 2003 Institute of Legal Practice &Development (ILPD) Legal Clinic in /29/20154 University of Rwanda- Legal Aid Clinic (UR- LAC)

5 Background (Cont’d)  UR-LAC was set up by the School of Law of the University of Rwanda (former Faculty of Law, National University of Rwanda) with mainly a twofold objective: Serving as a laboratory for law students Contributing to access to justice by providing free legal aid services to the community (mainly desperate, marginalized, poor rural villagers & vulnerable people)  The creation of LAC appears thus as a means to achieve the University’s mission to to deliver quality education and develop research meant to address community’s problems 4/29/20155 University of Rwanda- Legal Aid Clinic (UR- LAC)

6 Background (Cont’d)  Education need to marry theory and practice for law students to benefit from adequate legal training LAC helps to mould future legal practitioners (legal advisers, attorneys, judges…) proficient enough and with hands-on experience to deal with the real challenges of the legal practice.  Research Recurrence at LAC of some specific types of problems among the cases received from clients (E.g. succession, sexual violence against women and children, property related claims…) prompting deep enquiry into their root causes Proactive programmes informed by research findings (e.g. trainings, awareness campaigns, publication of booklets, advocacy, …) 4/29/20156 University of Rwanda- Legal Aid Clinic (UR- LAC)

7 Background (Cont’d) 4/29/20157 University of Rwanda- Legal Aid Clinic (UR- LAC)

8 Background (Cont’d)  A service to the community free legal service to vulnerable people, marginalized poor villagers Do not know their rights Some who might know their entitlements lack the resources or confidence to take their cases forward low advocate-to-population ratio ( 1 advocate for 9,544 people) & few professional lawyers willing to offer their services in rural A few professional lawyers operating in rural areas are often too expensive for the ordinary citizen 4/29/20158 University of Rwanda- Legal Aid Clinic (UR- LAC)

9 2. Legal Clinic: a Law Curriculum Subject  Legal Clinic is a 12.5 credit compulsory subject (course) in third year undergraduate  students attend the course in batches (intakes) throughout the academic year  Each batch is composed of an average of ten (10) groups of two people and their involvement lasts five weeks 4/29/20159 University of Rwanda- Legal Aid Clinic (UR- LAC)

10 Legal Clinic….(Cont’d)  Legal Clinic takes basically two parts: 1)an introductory briefing session Organized at the beginning of every academic year & all attended by all third year law students It is on the organization & function of LAC and conduct of the course Students are introduced to interviewing techniques, drafting of some legal documents, ethical issues (confidentiality of client’s information, behaviour towards the clients…) 2)Thursday sessions Thursday sessions constitute the key component of clinical programme Under the supervision of assigned Law lecturers or LAC legal assistants, students attend their Legal Clinic sessions every Thursday from 2 to 5 PM in groups of two and their respective batches as said above and this for five weeks 4/29/ University of Rwanda- Legal Aid Clinic (UR- LAC)

11 Legal Clinic….(Cont’d)  Clients come from mainly an area of 5,701 Km 2.  In the early years the Legal Aid Clinic received an average of 8 clients per week, but this number has increased 2010 to an average of 18 people per week (actually per day). 4/29/ University of Rwanda- Legal Aid Clinic (UR- LAC)

12 Legal Clinic….(Cont’d)  typically students welcome the client and get form them a broad outline of their problem.  After the interview the client is excused and students (in pair) discuss the problem and explore possible solution(s).  Thereafter, supervisor (Law Lecturer/ Legal Assistant) intervenes to assess the students’ understanding of the legal problem and adequacy of the proposed solution and allow them to go ahead and advise the client on the way forward 4/29/ University of Rwanda- Legal Aid Clinic (UR- LAC)

13 A client discussing her case with students during the Legal Clinic session 4/29/ University of Rwanda- Legal Aid Clinic (UR- LAC)

14 Legal Clinic….(Cont’d)  Possible advice include: referral of the client to an institution or organ competent to handle their problem like the labour inspector, mediation committee (Abunzi), a public administration institution, the court, etc drafting a court submission for the client drafting a legal opinion advise to settle the dispute through mediation under the auspices of the LAC 4/29/ University of Rwanda- Legal Aid Clinic (UR- LAC)

15 Legal Clinic as Community Service: what types of Legal Aid Services ?  Mediation Most disputes are between related people (by blood or marriage) Justice is serve but also strong family ties are maintained mainly carried out by staff –than students  Court submission drafting Where the only possible option for the case is to proceed to court a court submission is drafted for the client by students and proofread by the supervisor In Rwanda, it is a must to submit court submissions while filing a claim to court 4/29/ University of Rwanda- Legal Aid Clinic (UR- LAC)

16 Legal Clinic....legal aid services (cont’d)  Legal opinions (legal memos) mostly drafted for local administrative authorities, employers,… as direct advice of the Legal Aid Clinic to the addressee drafted where their addressee has not abided by the law thereby causing harm to the client (ex. Refusal or delay to enforce court decisions, unfair dismissal, etc). show out the facts of the case and the related legal provisions and the LAC position on what should be done and predictable legal consequences in case of failure. drafted by law students, reviewed by their supervisor and perused by the LAC’s coordinator under whose name they are signed, stamped and delivered to the concerned party LAC writes legal opinions not as a commanding institution, but reminding them what they are required to do by the law. 4/29/201516University of Rwanda- Legal Aid Clinic (UR-LAC)

17 Legal Clinic....legal aid services (cont’d)  Administrative assistance Legal Aid Clinic also approaches institutions (mainly local administrative authorities) on clients’ cases when it thinks befitting to thrash out the case through face to face or phone discussions  Legal representation before courts LAC provides qualified lawyers to represent before courts of law indigent persons with complex legal problems Service dependent on availability of funds from donors 4/29/ University of Rwanda- Legal Aid Clinic (UR- LAC)

18 Legal Clinic....legal aid services (cont’d)  Outreach programme –for PLWHIV/AIDS Since 2006 LAC has a Unit of Human Rights and HIV/AIDS LAC staff attached to the Unit meet PLWHIV/AIDS at their particular places and provide them with legal aid services, legal training and discuss about possible discrimination against them, etc 4/29/ University of Rwanda- Legal Aid Clinic (UR- LAC)

19 Challenges Operational Budget constrainst Infrastructure 4/29/2015 University of Rwanda- Legal Aid Clinic (UR- LAC) 19

20 Conclusion CLE education core to legal training in bridging the gap between theory and practice LAC has not only contributed to producing law graduates with hands-on experience but also served as a means for University to achieve its mission as a service to the community 4/29/2015 University of Rwanda- Legal Aid Clinic (UR- LAC) 20

21 Murakoze! 4/29/2015 University of Rwanda- Legal Aid Clinic (UR- LAC) 21


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