Building a Model Curriculum for Clinical Legal Education in Belarus

Supervisors of five legal clinics at universities in Belarus recently met in Minsk to finalise a model curriculum for Live Client and Street Law courses.

The supervisors come from Polotsk State University, Belarusian State University, Belarusian State Economics University, Vitebsk State University, and at the Academy of Public Administration.

Legal Clinics offer a great opportunity for law students to gain a broader understanding of the law and human rights and its practical application, says Amelie Sällfors, the Director of RWI’s Europe office.

“Clinical Legal Education is very much about experiential learning methodology where students, through professional and experienced guidance of a law professor or a professional lawyer, can give legal advice to clients, or for example educate a school class on what rights children have,” says Sällfors.

RWI has cooperated with Legal Clinics at universities in Belarus since 2015, particularly focusing on improving the knowledge and skills of supervisors at legal clinics in integrating human rights and gender equality in their Street Law and Live Client courses.

The aim of the cooperation is to sustain this knowledge and skills at the Legal Clinics. As a consequence, clients that visit the Legal Clinic, or the public who are educated through different types of Street Law programmes, become more sensitive to human rights and gender equality.

A few comments from the participating supervisors and Heads of Legal Clinics: (in photo on left)

bela3“This curriculum will contain key aspects and standards of Live Client and Street Law courses in relation to human right and gender equality, which is very important in the preparation of socially oriented lawyers in Belarus,” says Yulia Khvatsik, Legal Clinic Supervisors and Head of Legal Clinic at the Law Faculty, Belarusian State Economics University.

“The curriculum is very important, particularly in relation to Street Law courses, since there is no standard curriculum in this field. It is important to train students on the basic concepts of human rights so that they then can train the public,” says Kristina Savitskaya, Supervisor of Street Law Course, Law Faculty, Polotsk State University.

“The workshop is a unique opportunity to meet peer supervisors and Heads of Legal Clinics at universities in Belarus to, together with international experts, learn from each other to discuss and jointly develop the model curriculum,” says Denis Berezko, Supervisor at the Legal Clinic at Vitebsk State University.

More about RWI’s cooperation in Belarus

The Institute’s current cooperation in Belarus lasts until 2019 and includes five Belarusian Universities. The goal is to work on developing individual capacities and strengthening methodology and the institutional framework to improve quality and conditions for human rights and gender equality education, research and dialogue between different actors in society. At the moment, cooperation is primarily with academic institutions.

The cooperation with Belarusian universities is financed by the Swedish International Development cooperation.

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