Nattakan Chomputhong (Ann), Legal Fellow
The Clinical Legal Education as a Means to Assist in Reforming the Thailand Legal Education System: Regional and International Experiences and Perspectives conference was successful in promoting and encouraging the development of Clinical Legal Education (CLE) in Thailand and throughout the South East Asian region. The conference brought clinicians and academics together, from all over the world. All are strong advocates of clinical legal education who have also been involved in access to justice work for many years and in various countries. There were many examples outside the region, demonstrating the importance as well as the advantages of CLE. The representative from UNDP also emphasized the importance of the social justice component of clinical legal education.
It was exciting to see the Deans and university policy makers from various Thai universities not only discussing legal education problems but also brainstorming ways to overcome such problems. It was also exciting to see a number of universities becoming interested in CLE as a result of attending the conference. Furthermore, the SEACLEA region network also expressed an intention to improve legal education and social justice through the implementation of clinical legal education. Below are some comments from attendees;
“After a few years of an attempt to introduce Clinical Legal Education to Thai legal academia, this conference has actually taken us to a new step. Many law school deans showed their strong intention to integrate CLE into their curriculum as an accredited course. It is clear that CLE is not just providing a legal service to people, it is also an educational program that provides students with practical experiences, understanding on the ramifications of the law, lawyering skills, and values of the profession. Many participants are very keen to gain a practice model for their program. This conference also bought together social justice educators and their international alliances to share experiences, ideas, and also their passion for social justice” said Dr. Panarairat Srichaiyarat-Khon Kaen University, Thailand.
“Clinical Legal Education is one of the best ways to educate a person to become a great lecturer” said Cheewin Malikamarl, lecturer of Law Department Faculty of Social Science, Kasetsart University.
Along with academics and universities, the Thailand Law Reform Commission also showed a positive response to the universities’ intention of developing clinical legal education in Thailand. Noodjanee Nontaphone, Senior Academy of Law Reform, Law Reform Commission of Thailand made the following comment;
“As one of LRCT’s missions is to analyze and support research for setting goals, policy and project planning and to reform and rectify the law, Education Law of Thailand should be reformed to conform and support the current situation.
This conference demonstrated the important of CLE in the improvement of legal education, thus we will bring this issue to
the Legal Education Department of the Law Reform Commission. We hope to improve the legal education of Thailand that will lead to the development of professional autonomy” said, Noodjanee Nontaphon, Senior Researcher, Law Reform Commission of Thailand.
As a law graduate and legal fellow who has been involved in Clinical Legal Education through working with the CLE students, within a legal clinic and with community and international clinicians, I have seen the benefits firsthand. I can honestly say that this movement and regional collaboration will provide advantages to various sectors. It is obvious that clinical legal education provides benefits to students by providing them with legal knowledge, practical skills and knowledge of the value in legal ethics. It will also empower vulnerable and marginalized communities by providing them with access to justice. I am honored to be a small part of this movement.
For the press release please follow this link
BABSEACLE would like to announce that our next conference will be partnering with the Law Society Singapore August 9th until the 11th. Details coming soon in the annual BABSEACLE magazine.