UKZN Academic Advises Law Faculties in Africa on Clinical Legal Education

Participants at a Legal Education Workshop conducted by UKZN academic Professor David McQuoid-Mason.
Participants at a Legal Education Workshop conducted by UKZN academic Professor David McQuoid-Mason.

Acting Director of the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies Professor David McQuoid-Mason has been in Uganda and Zimbabwe to assist university Law faculties to integrate clinical legal education into their Law curricula.

McQuoid-Mason was at the School of Law at Makerere University in Uganda where he helped conduct a two-day School Curriculum and Clinical Methodology Seminar to advise participants on how to integrate interactive teaching and learning methods and community service into their Law curriculum.

McQuoid-Mason dealt with: Changing Trends in Legal Education: Experiential Learning and Experiences in Clinical Methodology, using interactive teaching methods to illustrate the topic. McQuoid-Mason also exposed participants to the educational rationale for interactive teaching, the different methods of teaching interactively, the elements of a good clinical legal education lesson and how to construct a lesson plan.

At the end of the gathering, Principal of the Makerere Law School Professor Christopher Mbazira reacted positively to McQuoid-Mason’s suggestion about the institution establishing links with the Law School at UKZN.

The workshop was held in Entebbe on the banks of Lake Victoria, and after delivering an early morning presentation on the second day, McQuoid-Mason took co-presenters – the Director of the Wits Law Clinic, Mr Daven Dass, and the Director of the Ghana Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Mr Victor Chimbwanda – on a 15- hour return trip to the source of the Nile River in Jinja about 120km away.

The Nile’s source consists of an underground spring that provides 30% of its water, and Lake Victoria which provides 70% of the water, combining to form the White Nile. Water from the sources takes about three months to reach the sea on the way joining the Blue Nile, the source of which is Lake Tana in Ethiopia.

In Zimbabwe, McQuoid-Mason ran the seminar at the Midlands State University in Gweru for representatives from five Zimbabwe universities. The workshop was attended by Law professors and law teachers from the School of Law, Midlands State University; the Herbert Chitepo Law School, Great Zimbabwe University; the Institute for Peace and Governance, Africa University; the Faculty of Law, University of Zimbabwe; and the School of Law, Zimbabwe Ezekiel Guti University.

On the first day, he advised participants on how to construct clinical legal education curricula for live client clinics and Street Law programmes, and on the second day demonstrated several interactive teaching methods, explaining the elements of a good clinical law lesson and how to construct a lesson plan.

Participants were divided into small groups and given time to select a topic and prepare a lesson to teach their colleagues using interactive teaching methods. Participants received tuition interactively and were double-debriefed by their colleagues, first as learners and then as educators.

At the end of the seminar, participants said they needed follow-up assistance at their home universities. It was suggested that McQuoid-Mason return to provide the Zimbabwe Council for Legal Education with guidance on the criteria that should be used to ensure proper standards for Clinical Law programmes at law schools.

Words: Ndabaonline

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