Donnerstag, 18. April 2013
Reading through my daily newspaper a couple of days ago, I came across an interesting and inspiring article in Sueddeutsche Zeitung (one of the major German national newspapers) about the increasing number of law clinics at German universities – in my view an excellent tool to improve both, the legal education of students as well as the legal education of people struggling with legal problems in their every day life. The idea is simple: university students – still preparing for their exams – get trained to provide non-profit legal counselling to people not having the financial means and/or not disposing of the necessary know-how to defend their legal position such as asylum seekers, welfare recipients, consumers, lessees etc. In order to guarantee the necessary quality of the counselling the students get trained by professors and practitioners and are often obliged to do legal traineeships in their respective field of counselling during the semester breaks. While law clinics are already well-established in common law countries (the concept has been invented in the United States) in Germany their installation has not been possible before the enactment of the Rechtsdienstleistungsgesetz (Legal services act) in 2008 which pre-empted the exclusive right of German lawyers to provide for legal counselling.
Unfortunately, all of the German web pages I have found so far are only available in German (see e.g.: http://www.sueddeutsche.de/bildung/rechtsberatung-von-jurastudenten-nachwuchs-anwaelte-der-armen-1.1637905; http://www.recht.uni-giessen.de/wps/fb01/home/rlc; http://www.law-school.de/lawclinic.html; http://lawclinic.rewi.hu-berlin.de/clc), but maybe you have equivalent systems in your countries or feel inspired to foster a similar project at your hometown university…