Current legal practitioners in Somalia often lack adequate understanding of the legal framework and procedures, having frequently been educated in other countries’ shari’ah- based laws, if at all.To improve the preparedness of Somalia’s next generation of legal practitioners, EAJ will support City University of Mogadishu and Mogadishu University to implement Clinical Legal Education (CLE) Programs within their respective law schools. These Programs will consist of two main elements:
- EAJ will support both universities in designing and developing practical legal education curriculums that are tailored to the Somali legal system and reflective of Somalia’s plural legal environment for use in the clinic programs. Such a curriculum does not currently exist.
- Through law clinics, EAJ will ensure that students obtain practical hands-on experience to develop skills in client engagement and assistance and provide legal awareness and much-needed legal support services to disadvantaged communities in Mogadishu.
The clinic experience provides an opportunity for students to develop an appreciation for the benefits of civic-minded legal work and professions in the public interest, beyond their education. While maintaining a student focus, the clinics may also offer walk-in client services and undertake ‘street law’ activities to bring legal assistance to justice seekers within their communities.
To ensure that the CLE programs are durable and accessible to future student participants, EAJ will work closely with each institution to align programs with their internal administrative structures and place student learning at the forefront of activities. EAJ will also support the clinics to initiate stakeholder consultations – including among state justice institutions – and to promote public discussion and guest lectures to link legal education with the wider legal profession. EAJ support will include exchange with and exposure to existing law clinics with demonstrated records of success, for which EAJ will draw on ABA ROLI’s ties to the East African Network of University Law Clinics.