The Role of the Legal Clinics within the Legal Education in Azerbaijan42 - Hukuk Öğretiminde Yeni Yaklaşımlar: Hukuk Klinikleri
The Role of the Legal Clinics within the Legal Education in Azerbaijan42
Dear Symposium participants,
First of all, I would like to express my deep gratitude to organizers of symposium for organizing such event and inviting us.
We hope that such events will contribute to the spreading and developing of clinic education.
My speech is dedicated to the role of law clinics in Azerbaijan legal system. I will try to inform guests about this topic in brief and involve to cooperation. There was a need to legal reforms after the gaining independence in 1991. Being part of soviet legal system the existing legislation has not been conformed to that time. After the adoption of the Constitution these reforms have been expanded. In a short time the legislative system of Azerbaijan has been enriched with required normative legal acts. Newly adopted normative legal acts were conformed to the provisions of the international treaties. It was required the conformation of the law education to the time requirements. Conducted legal reforms made necessity of the reform of institutions of higher education on law. Unfortunately unlike the legal reforms, the process in law education was slow. It had a negative impact on the implementation of law clinics in law education, too.
It should be mentioned that, at that time there was not clinic education in educational institutions on law and at the end of the each academic year students pass a probation for a month in different state bodies (court, prosecutor office and so on). But this short-term experience was not so useful for the development of professional skills. Merely in the end of 1990s law clinics under the law faculties of high education institutions were emerged. It should be emphasized that these law clinics were operated on private projects, not as a regular-operated structure section of law faculty.
Operating law clinics were financed by grants from international organizations and covered certain period. The purpose was to provide free legal services for families with low-income. These clinics were mainly operated in private higher education institutions, such as University of Azerbaijan, University of Land of Fire and so on.
Now the law faculties exist in several state higher education institutions. The main of them is the law faculty of Baku State University. The future fate of law clinic of Baku State University is a model for others.
I want to mention that, “Law clinics” has been operating more than a decade under the Law faculty of Baku State University. The essential purposes of clinic are to increase practical skills of students of Law faculty, legal awareness of people, ensuring the protection of the rights of low-income population, eliminating of social tension. As a result of this, students have acquired practical opportunities and professional skills. Free legal assistance to low-income population has contributed the implementation of social policy of our state.
Formerly, Law Clinics received financial support from SOROS Foundation (2001-2003) and American Bar Association (2011-2012) for the providing its activity. The main focus of the clinic is aimed at increasing students' practical knowledge.
According to the order of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan on “Approval of National Action Plan for the protection of human rights in the Republic of Azerbaijan” 28 december 2006, in order to assist to exercise the right to legal assistance and to acquire vocational skills of the students of law faculty, it is intended to create law clinics under law faculties of higher educational institutions and assist in their activities.
Creation of law clinics is directed to 2 main purposes: firstly, enabling right to legal assistance to population, secondly, teaching skills to future experts in law sphere.
In this regard, the operation of the "Legal Clinic" as the institution of the university has formed the basis for nexus with the educational institution and more productive work.
Taking all these into account with the order of the rector of Baku State University "Legal Clinic" was established within the law school in January of this year. Thus, Legal Clinic was started to run as a structural unit of the Faculty of Law. The list of the legal clinic personnel was approved: the chief of the clinic, lawyer-consultants (2 people) and an administrator. In addition, the involvement of Faculty of Law professors and other professionals to the activities of the clinic were intended. The legal clinic will be constantly operated due to the university budget. Material and technical base of the clinic was enhanced at reasonable level.
The function of the clinic as a structural unit of the Faculty of Law has revived the agenda of changes for the existing curriculum. Currently, making convenient changes to the 2013/2014 curriculum are in the process. Moreover, "Fundamentals of Clinical Education" course is thought to incorporate into the curriculum of the Faculty. Additionally, in some disciplines (for example, civil law, labor law, criminal law, etc.) seminar classes are considered to be a part of the clinic. These steps will contribute to a more effective functioning of the clinic.
Furthermore, the scientific analysis of normative acts and practice in law enforcement regarding some spheres of legislation has been identified as a target. For instance, for this purpose the preparation of the condensation in base of changes of legislation and its distribution among students and the teaching staff is meant by the students who participated in the clinic. In addition, the conduction of the scientific researches is thought to solving the problems arising in the law enforcement process.
In order to expand the circle of the people who are benefited from the activities of the clinic we have planned to deliver ads and information about the activities of the legal clinic to low-income population through the mass media.
Thus, as a result of the realization of the actions we have carried out the legal clinic activities in three directions - science, education, and practice of the students.
I would like to emphasize that the function of the Legal Clinic not only contribute to mastering skills of the students of the faculty, but the following objectives would be achieved:
- The legal awareness of the population
- The protection of the rights of low-income population;
- The elimination of social tension.
Free legal assistance to low-income population brings about the elimination of the causes of distrust that may arise against the state. Thus, legal problems they faced are solved and restore confidence in existence of legal system and the respect for the rule of law by state bodies, legal entities and natural persons.
As can be seen, our plans are sophisticated and in achieving these goals are insistent.
We have planned to cooperate with the education institutions, which have had extensive experience in this area on more accurate and effective application of clinical education. Herein, we are currently in cooperation with Tulane University (USA). In this regard, attendance to the symposium held here - at the University of Anatolia will be useful and hope for the best. We intend to go into new partnership, so invite everyone to cooperation.
Once again I express my gratitude to the organizers of the symposium and wish good luck.
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