In January 2009, the Centre for Comparative and Public Law (CCPL) launched its first credit-bearing clinical legal education scheme, in conjunction with the Hong Kong Refugee Advice Centre (HKRAC). 34 Students have participated in the programme since its inception. The programme is offered three times per year, in September (first semester), in January (second semester) and in the summer.
The HKU-HKRAC Clinical Legal Education Programme is offered to undergraduate and post-graduate students in the Faculty of Law and allows students the opportunity to learn both the theory and practice of domestic and international refugee law under the direct supervision of the HKRAC‘s Head of Clinical Programs. Students attend a two-day intensive training weekend, observe and perform client registration and intake interviews, write client testimonies, undertake country of origin research and submit a legal brief. The initiative provides unique opportunities for law students to gain practical legal skills by experiencing the law in action outside the classroom.
CCPL is responsible for administering this programme, the aim of which is to encourage students to pro-vide legal service to the community as they develop their skills as a lawyer; to reflect on the nature of the lawyer‘s relationship with a client including issues of power and trust; and to evaluate ethical conduct in a practical context. Specific skills taught include interviewing and counselling, oral advocacy, negotiation, fact investigation, legal research and analysis, and legal writing and drafting.
Students involved in the Clinic are exposed to ethical dilemmas and choices. As such, this Clinic environment provides a rich opportunity for a deep experiential learning about the nature and extent of a legal practitioner‘s professional and ethical responsibilities. Students have the opportunity to recognize challenges, creatively identify options, execute their own judgment, and understand the impacts of their decisions. At the same time, students exchange knowledge with the community on matters of great importance to potential refugees.
For the list of past participants of the HKU-HKRAC Clinical Legal Education Programme, please click here.
For the Testimonial on HKU-HKRAC Clinical Programme, please click here.
For the HKRAC Newsletter (July 2012), please click here.
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