The Growth of Law Clinics as a Vehicle for Legal Empowerment in Nigeria

March 1, 2012 § Leave a comment

I will be presenting a paper titled, ‘The Growth of Law Clinics as a Vehicle for Legal Empowerment in Nigeriaat the 12th Annual Africa Conference, 2012, at the University of Texas at Austin, USA. Dates: March 30- April 1 2012. This is the abstract for my paper:

The Growth of Law Clinics as a Vehicle for Legal Empowerment in Nigeria

Despite over ten years of democratic rule in Nigeria, the gains of democracy are very slow in realisation which could be partly due to over thirty years of previous military regimes plagued by numerous human rights violations, abject poverty and disintegration of the judicial system.

Poverty reduction and human rights have shared values and overlapping objectives some of which include non-discrimination, liberty and security of the person. Legal empowerment is a right-based approach which uses legal services to help the poor learn and take actions to alleviate poverty through information, education as well as organization and legal representation.

The introduction of law clinics in Nigerian Universities has made impressive progress in training law students in the practice of law as well as providing free legal aid to less advantaged citizens. This has gone a long way to improve access to justice, protect citizens’ constitutional rights and has the effect of reducing poverty.

This paper examines the growth of law clinics in Nigeria and achievements so far recorded, arguing that without law reform, they cannot achieve their full potential. It will start by giving a brief background from an international perspective, their root in Africa,  and the antecedents that led to the founding of law clinics in Nigeria. It will evaluate their accomplishments and provide recommendations to further strengthen access to justice and improve law clinic sustainability.

– By Kevwe Omoragbon

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