Clinical Legal Education

The CLE course is dynamic and multi-faceted in that it includes the seminar class (four hours per week of coursework), additional hours for students to engage in casework and projects; and specifically allotted time to student supervision by PILAC staff. CLE Seminar class: The class meets in seminar for four hours per week to introduce students to the technical aspects of legal representation, human rights practice, and advocacy in a public interest law context.

Topics include: interviewing and counseling skills, fact-finding, oral advocacy, legislative advocacy, legal writing, the regional and international human rights mechanisms, working with vulnerable groups, amongst others. The seminar hosts guest lecturers on a regular basis. The guest lecturers are all practitioners who are asked to discuss the pertinent topics in the context of their work, illustrating the realities and challenges of applying the law in practice.

The guest lecture series further bridges the gap between theory and practice within the classroom setting and challenges students to apply their legal knowledge to addressing real-life cases and situations. The CLE seminar approach is deeply rooted in promoting the client-centred approach, meaning that students must also seek to understand and respond to the human-element in a case, and confronting sensitive ethical issues.

Casework & Projects: The seminar is accompanied by a practical component, in which students are assigned to take on live cases and projects. In order to provide students with rich and varied practical experience in the field, the nature of the casework may consist of any combination of: litigation of cases before national courts or the filing of complaints with the Uganda Human Rights Commission; litigation of cases before regional tribunals; or legislative advocacy (preparation of legal memoranda providing analysis and critique of legislative bills addressing topical public interest issues).

During the inaugural semester of the CLE programme (Jan-May 2012), the students undertook research to support select public interest law cases in the area of social, economic and cultural rights and the rights of vulnerable persons; and engaged in a legislative advocacy programme through which students were required to prepare analytical and legal commentary on a number of legislative bills before the Parliament of Uganda.