Social justice jurisprudence of clinical education programme: A paradigm shift from legal education to justice education


The legal profession has remained relevant in bringing about positive transformation in society — with leaders, policymakers, and change makers around the world mostly possessing a background in the law. That said, the trust, and positive image, enjoyed by legal professionals continues on a declining path. Considered more glamorous, the legal profession has gone astray from the path of social justice. In this article, I argue that the negative perception of legal professionals is, in large part, because of the way legal professionals are taught and trained in law schools. I argue that legal teaching pedagogy in South Asia, and generally in developing countries, is a product of colonial structure. Even after the so-called decolonisation movement, law schools and universities, for example in South Asia, institutionalised a legal pedagogy unsuited to the epistemic actualities of their societies. A law student in South Asia was and continues to be taught the Western conception of what the law is and its relationship to justice. In a legal culture carrying the transplanted laws of the colonisers, the students of developing countries are meticulously trained in the technical skills of reasoning and interpretation by applying Eurocentric guidelines of positivist construction. In light of this, I propose a shift in legal education: to transform the existing legal education and pedagogy into ‘justice education’. I focus on the ancient principles — located in the Eastern legal philosophy — of empirical reasoning and the importance of the human nature of sociability in arriving at social justice. To combat the tendency of insulating law students from societal problems, I propose a social justice-driven legal pedagogy. I have also reflected on some practices that ‘are’ and highlighted other practices that ‘ought to be’. My thesis connotes that the legal profession has an innate role in building the capability of individuals who are deprived and excluded. In line with it, I present examples of scalable clinical legal education being practised specially by the Kathmandu School of Law that can create multidimensional legal professionalism.

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Sangroula, Y. Social justice jurisprudence of clinical education programme: A paradigm shift from legal education to justice education. Jindal Global Law Review (2021).

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  • Clinical legal education
  • Social justice jurisprudence
  • Field-based education
  • South Asia
  • KSL experience