GRIFFITH UNIVERSITY has this month hosted an international conference aiming to enhance ethics and professionalism within practice-based clinical legal education.
The ninth Australian Clinical Legal Education Conference attracted students and legal practitioners from around the globe, including South Africa, Nigeria and the US. According to Griffith University’s Professor Jeff Giddings, the conference allowed delegates to look at ethical issues from a fresh, international perspective. “A key part was learning about the diversity of clinics operating in a range of countries from China, Nigeria and South Africa to Thailand and the United States,” said Giddings.
For Giddings, one exciting aspect of the conference was its cross-discipline approach which saw legal professionals — such as CEO of Legal Aid Queensland Jenny Hardy and Blake Dawson Waldron’s Anne Gately — speak alongside academics from various backgrounds. “The other key part was the involvement of academics from other disciplines at the university, including nursing, criminology and criminal justice, as well as with people from the practising profession.” He said the “conference recognised clinical legal educators can benefit a great deal from the insights and experiences of a range of professionals”.
Giddings believes that clinical experiences are central to the preparation of students in a wide range of legal disciplines. “Students need to see the practical impact the law has on people’s lives and legal clinics provide them with this through intensive, small group learning experiences where students work with real or simulated clients under the supervision of experienced practitioners,” he said.