BABSEACLE collaborated with its partners, Thaksin University and Prince of Songkla University, to host two conferences between the 28th of March and the 3rd April 2015. These two events were attended by approximately one hundred people from around the Asia Region, including law students, law lecturers, legal practitioners, judges and many others with a legal interest.
Together with Thaksin University Faculty of Law, we hosted the Monitoring and Assessing Clinical Legal Education (CLE) Program Conference, which took place in Songkla, Thailand. This event was held at Thaksin University, from March 28-29 2015 and was attended by one hundred participants including students and lecturers from universities in the region, as well as the Lawyer Council of Thailand, Bar Association and Songkla provincial court.
This conference followed up on a previous BABSEACLE conference held in Khon Kaen (Clinical Legal Education as a Means to Assist in Reforming the Thailand Legal Education System: Regional and International Experiences and Perspectives Conference). The participating universities came together and received assessment and evaluation of their work. They will be given feedback over the next few weeks, and will be given help from BABSEACLE in order to accurately assess the success of their programs and make improvements. The conference accomplished activities such as
- Working with university partners to implement CLE programs which apply best practices in supervision/assessment/monitoring and evaluation
- Further strengthen the Southeast Asian CLE Association (SEACLEA)
Currently the CLE movement is establishing itself throughout the Asian region, but it remains somewhat fragmented both within countries and throughout the region. The Measuring and Assessing Clinical Legal Education (CLE) Program, hosted by Thaksin University Faculty of Law and Bridges Across Borders Southeast Asia Community Legal Education Initiative (BABSEACLE), aimed at assisting the Asian Region to develop a best-practice model for emulation throughout the region.
Regional Monitoring and Assessing CLE Program Conference hosted together with Thaksin University, in Songkla, Thailand
Together with the Faculty of Law Prince of Songkla University, we organised a Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility Conference and Workshop at The Prince of Songkla University in Songkla, Thailand. This event was held from the 1-3 April 2015 and was attended by one hundred participants from universities in the Asian Region, as well as Mr. Nick Booth from the UNDP, participants from the Lawyer Council of Thailand, Bar Association and Songkla provincial court.
Through its work with partner universities, BABSEACLE found that most universities in Asia have not taught legal ethics or have only taught legal ethics in theory or as part of other subjects. Lack of legal ethics textbooks and curricula has been another problem to address. Moreover, students do not appreciate legal ethics nor do they understand how legal ethics work because of the traditional teaching methods used. Additionally, even when legal ethics has been taught there is little to no emphasis on access to justice and pro bono work. Thus, BABSEACLE and its partners identified a need to assist in the development of a curriculum on legal ethics, pro bono, access to justice, and professional responsibility. These are areas that (largely) cross jurisdictions, meaning that one curriculum can be developed and used as a template by partners in numerous countries. The curriculum can then be delivered by lawyers, clinicians, lecturers or other legal professionals.
With this in mind, BABSEACLE and the Prince of Songkla University organised the Regional Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility Conference and Workshop, which included an exciting mix of keynote speeches, panel discussions, poster presentations and interactive workshop sessions. It provided a multitude of opportunities for participation, collaboration, networking and dialogue.
BABSEACLE realized that this was a natural and logical merger, as legal ethics and pro bono have a strong and close connection. Legal ethics and professional responsibility can be considered the backbone of the legal profession, providing a set of principles and core values in each lawyer to do the right thing. Pro bono is the transformation of these values into reality with a variety of initiatives and programs worldwide.
Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility Workshop and Conference, Songkla, Thailand
By: Tracey Atkinson, Asia CLE Training Support (Intern) April 4th, 2015