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Title: Clinical Legal Education in Palestine: A Clinical Case under Military Occupation
Authors: Qafisheh, Mutaz
Keywords: Free Legal Advice, Legal Aid, Global Education, Occupation, Israeli Occupation, Palestine, Israel, Human Rights, Social Justice,Clinic
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan, New York
Citation: Mutaz Qafisheh, ‘Clinical Legal Education in Palestine: A Clinical Case under Military Occupation’, in Shuvro P. Sarker, ed., Clinical Legal Education in Asia: Accessing Justice for the Underprivileged, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2015, 113-135.
Abstract: Patrick Geddes’ slogan ‘think global, act local’ is reversed in the case of the Legal Clinic of Hebron University. Although started to serve the local community in a relatively marginalized area in a southern Palestine’s West Bank district, the Legal Clinic (‘Clinic’) has exceeded its local context and reached out nationally, regionally and internationally. This Clinic may offer yet a further demonstration that, in the words of Frank Bloch, ‘clinical legal education has gone global.’ With ever inter-dependant world, it appears that a favoured way to impact the globe is to act at the local level. This is at least the story of the legal clinic that will be told here. Founded before even having a law school, the Legal Clinic of Hebron University represents a case on the ability of legal clinics to start from scratch and gradually develop a system that suits a particular context. In fact, the Clinic has played the key role in establishing the law school within two years. Shortly after seeing the light in 2011, the Clinic has not only led the overall legal education process in campus, it became a model for legal clinics in Palestine and the Middle East region. The Clinic, which was originally set up to provide pro bono services to marginalised groups and for the students to practise law before graduation; it now constitutes the hub of rights activism, policy-making, curricular development, practical training, conferencing, and networking with governmental bodies, civil society as well as international organizations well beyond the campus. It forms a research and training centre, a law office, an NGO (non-governmental organization), and an external relations forum. This model proves that the capacity for law clinics to advance legal education is unbounded. Educators are still on their way to discovering the range of actions that young lawyers may afford to their local communities and to the world. However, the institutionalization of this Clinic, as the case of other legal clinics in Palestine and many Meddle Eastern universities, is an issue that only the future can tell.
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