In order to assist in the development and carrying out of Clinical Legal Education (CLE) Programmes throughout Myanmar, Bridges across Borders Southeast Asia Community Legal Education Initiative (BABSEACLE) offered five law teachers, from 5 of the 18 Myanmar Universities, to be participants in the 2nd Asia CLE Summer School and Training for Trainers. It was held in the Chiang Mai Regional Development Centre, and included: the BABSEACLE Regional CLE Development Training of CLE Mock Trial Case Scenario Workshop (19 June – 8 July, 2016); the CLE Community Teaching Seminar (9 – 22 July, 2016); and the Curriculum Development Workshop (23 July – 8 August, 2016).IMG_1625

After getting permission from the Ministry of Education, we arranged visa and flight tickets, and arrived in Chiang Mai, on Wednesday, the 8th of June. We met Wendy, one of the BABSEACLE Co-Directors, who picked us up with her car, and we went to the BABSEACLE  volunteer house, where we stayed, with many other people, from different countries. Our group consisted of Aung Aung Lay from the Yangon University of Distance Education, Khin Khin Su from the University of Yangon, SoeThri Win from the University of Taunggyi, KhinSoeSoe Linn from University of Myitkyina and HninPwintOo from the Yadanabon University. All of us were chosen because we are strongly committed to improve university CLE programmes.

During the initial part of the Summer School we learned about CLE programme administrative structure and proposal writing, had an introduction to Southeast Asia Clinical Legal Education Association (SEACLEA), and experienced amazing methodologies that can be used in a CLE programme. We then spent a number of days and sessions focusing on supervision, monitoring and evaluation of CLE programmes and the mission and purpose of the Southeast Asia Clinical Legal Education Association (SEACLEA).

One night, after class, we went to the Night Bazaar, bought presents for friends in Myanmar, and ate Thai food. At 8.30pm, we returned to the volunteer house, by red truck, which only cost 20 Baht each.IMG_1626

The next day, at 9 AM, the session started with a fun energizer. After that, the Case Management session started, and we learned about the scope of case management, the organization of the case, pro bono lawyer and the legal aid clinic. Other sessions of the day focused on professional responsibility, access to justice and original development. After lunch, the lecturer gave us various client intake forms, explained how to use them and asked which one was the best. The case logs session included various group activities and we collectively shared different ideas. Later that day, our homework was sent to the lecturer, Dr. Chris Walsh, by email, and from 5:30 to 9:00, an International Cooking Night was held at the BABSEACLE volunteer House. Again, all the food was delicious!

The 6thday session started with an Introduction to the ethical practice of client-centred lawyering, and the lecturer explained the session objectives. Then, issues regarding the meeting of clients, the trusting of a lawyer, the duty of confidentiality, legal professional privileges and avoiding conflict of interests were discussed and analysed. That Wednesday, we continued to discuss the ethical practice of client-centred lawyering. The agenda addressed lawyer ethics, lawyer duties, and the duties associated with the administration of SEACLEA justice. At 5:30P.M, there was the wrap-up and evaluation session.

IMG_1627On Thursday, we studied different types of CLE models- e.g., the In-House Clinic programme, Community Teaching/Street Law, the Externship Programme, and the Stimulation Clinic. Day 8’s session ended at 5:30 P.M, with the evaluation of all the courses. On Friday, we had a chance to study how CLE relates to pro bono. All the trainees worked together to design and to prepare a presentation on pro bono CLE externship programme, and at 6 P.M., the closing dinner was held.

On Saturday, we felt happy and sad to attend the last day of the Asia CLE Summer School, and after presenting the CLE Programme Course Designs, many workshop participants (but not us) got ready to go back to their home countries.

It was sad to see everybody leaving. So, lunch time, we were quiet and could only say, “see you again”. We, the Myanmar group, will always remember the experience of living and working with friendly people, from so many countries, at this summer school.

Thanks to the workshop, we learnt many new teaching methodologies, in order to develop our universities’ CLE programs, and by using these methods, critical thinking skills will be promoted and lessons will be more interesting. We wish that the Asia CLE Summer School will continue to be a great success in many years to come!

By Aung Aung Lay , Associate Professor Law Department, Yangon University of Distance Education