Since 2003, BABSEACLE has worked to bring people together to promote access to justice through Clinical Legal Education (CLE).
How was BABSEACLE established?
When co-founder and co-director Bruce Lasky left the USA in 1999, he had already been working for social justice as a public defender for 8 years. Arriving in Cambodia in 2000, he first started a school for disadvantaged children in Pursat, and soon realized that the country’s problems went deeper than a lack of education. There was a need for access to justice for poor and marginalized people and an absence of progressive legal training for students. He decided to work to bring CLE to an area of the world where it was lacking and where traditional legal education was in need of modernization.
In 2002, Bruce Lasky began to work with Pannasastra University of Cambodia, with the support of the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) to do just that. From 2003-2006, Bruce assisted in the planning, development and implementation of the Pannasastra University of Cambodia (PUC) Clinical Legal Education Program in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. During this time, he also began doing regional outreach work to identify potential CLE partners in countries throughout Southeast Asia that would be interested in both developing a CLE program, and collaborating with each other in the process.
2003 to Present: The Development of BABSEACLE
BABSEACLE commenced in 2003 is to help establish, strengthen and support Access to Justice and Rule of Law in Asia and globally through justice education, including a core focus on legal ethics, professional responsibility and pro bono awareness raising.
The formation of BABSEACLE was the collaborative work of co-founders, Bruce A. Lasky, Wendy Morrish and Kevin Morley. Bruce brought his legal skills in the area of legal aid and legal education teaching experience to initially drive this development forward. Wendy Morrish, with her business background, refined the strategic plans using a workable business model that connected the countries. Kevin Morley, an educator from the region, contributed his pedagogical expertise.
Understanding the need to rely on a variety of sources and persons, the BABSEACLE founders reached out to other like-minded organizations, such as the Global Alliance for Justice Education, United Nations agencies, the Open Society Institute and individual clinicians, regional bar association members and universities worldwide. In doing so, they strengthened their mentoring base, relied on contextualized lessons learned, and steadily tested and revised a variety of CLE models throughout the region.
In 2005, in Phnom Penh Cambodia, BABSEACLE, OJSI and PUC held the 1st SE Asia Clinical Legal Education Conference, bringing in the various current and potential partners from the region to significantly raise the awareness and broaden the impact of CLE. In the course of these actions, BABSEACLE’s Clinical Legal Education model became a reality in the region.
BABSEA CLE’s initial partners and core universities came from across the Southeast Asia region and included Pannasastra University of Cambodia, Chiang Mai University Faculty of Law (Thailand), National University of Laos Faculty of Law and Political Science, Vietnam National University, University Malaya, Universiti Teknologi Mara (Malaysia), International Islamic University (Indonesia), and Ateneo University (Philippines).
Recognizing that each country shared similarities and were also different, BABSEACLE reached out to local legal organizations, civil society and government officials in each of these countries as a means to further understand the needs and also to ensure acceptance and support for the local partners.
As time went on, BABSEACLE’s initial partners and supporters increased. Later supporters and partners included UNDP, UNAIDS, CLE Foundation, Lux Development, UNODC, CARE International, and many others.
Knowledge for the development of CLE was gathered from a variety of worldwide sources. Looking at the initial development of CLE in the USA, and relying on veteran clinicians from that country, other regions and personnel were also connected in, including many from Central and Eastern European, South Africa and other African countries, Latin America, India, Australia, Britain and Far East Asia. Applying an open-minded approach, which tended toward applying techniques, rather than excluding ideas, the approach in Asia generated a unique model that fit well into the global CLE movement.
Timeline: Milestones of BABSEACLE and Related Organizations
- Bridges Across Borders (BAB) founded
- Bridges Across Borders registered in the State of Florida, USA
- Bridges Across Borders Cambodia (BABC) initiative commences
- Bridges Across Borders South East Asia Community Legal Education Initiative (BABSEACLE) founded
- BABSEACLE operates as a Bridges Across Borders (BAB) initiative (2003 – 2008)
- Bridges Across Borders Cambodia (BABC) signs Memorandum of Understanding with ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia
- Bridges Across Borders South East Asia (BABSEA) becomes independent from Bridges Across Borders (BAB) and registers independently in the State of Florida, USA.
- BABSEA CLE becomes a BABSEA initiative (2008 – 2010)
- Registration of CLE Group Thailand Co., Ltd.
- BABSEACLE becomes an independent organization (2010 – present)
- Registration of Bridges Across Borders South East Asia Community Legal Education Southeast Asia in the State of Florida, USA
- Registration of CLE Foundation in Thailand
- Registration of Bridges Across Borders Cambodia (BABC) in Florida, USA
- Registration of BABSEACLE Singapore
- Registration of BABSEACLE as a ‘not-for-profit 501(c) (3) corporation’ in Florida, United States of America.
- BABSEACLE started supporting CLE initiative in Indonesia
- BABC changes into Equitable Cambodia and registers in Cambodia
- Registration of BABSEACLE Australia
Timeline: Information About Related Organizations
Bridges Across Borders (BAB)
For more information , visit BAB website: http://www.bridgesacrossborders.org/
Bridges Across Borders South East Asia (BABSEA)
For more information, visit BABSEA website: http://www.babsea.org/
For more information, visit https://www.babseacle.org/thailand/