GAJE is a GLOBAL ALLIANCE of persons committed to achieving JUSTICE through EDUCATION.
GAJE has sponsored five worldwide conferences since it was formed in 1999, with delegates at each conference representing every region of the world. GAJE conferences, as well as other GAJE activities described on this website, are aimed at promoting the exchange of information and experience among persons involved in Justice Education around the world. Clinical education of law students is a key component of justice education, but GAJE also works to advance other forms of socially relevant legal education involving practicing lawyers, judges, non-governmental organizations, and the lay public.
Street law is a legal awareness programme designed to enable law students and others make school children, prisoners, and members of communities aware of their legal rights and where to obtain assistance. Street law explains to people “on the street” how the law affects them in their daily lives and helps people to understand how the law works and how it can protect them. Street law students, like legal aid clinic students, obtain valuable insights into social justice issues in the communities they serve. GAJE members are actively involved in such initiatives, and Street Law training workshops were conducted at the GAJE conferences in India and Argentina.
Legal Literacy has a unique role in justice education. As a first most important step in bringing masses of people closer to law and its processes, legal literacy has a critical role in ensuring just and rule of law-oriented societies. As part of a clinical program, legal literacy clinics are one of the most important entry points of community engagement for law students and teachers. They build community trust and confidence in what law schools aspire for justice education and help students empathize with the needs of their local communities.
Community lawyering, when practised through clinical legal education clinics, provides opportunities for law students to engage directly with poor and disadvantaged communities about pressing legal matters. Students learn about the barriers in law, and lack of access to justice for these communities. This form of lawyering is inter-disciplinary with creative and responsive service delivery models. Students work to empower not just the individual client, but the community or group’s interests as a whole. Community lawyering, when it involves students, is about achieving justice for disempowered individuals and communities while educating and inspiring students simultaneously. This is central to the ideas of justice education and GAJE goals.
Central to the idea of justice education is the desire to pursue justice at a systemic level, as well as for individuals. Where the law itself contributes to injustice, then law reform is of vital importance. GAJE’s broad membership—including activists, non-government organisations (NGOs) and legislators—encompasses many people who work hard to improve how the law protects fundamental rights. Justice education recognises that practicing and academic lawyers have an important role in reforming the law so that it serves the ends of justice.
GAJE seeks to achieve justice through legal education. At the core of attainment of justice is an effective realisation of fundamental human rights and freedoms. It is therefore imperative that rights holders are not only aware of these rights and freedoms but are also able to employ existing domestic and international mechanisms to vindicate their human rights. GAJE members seek to contribute to the realisation of these rights through clinics on human rights litigation, research, and advocacy that involve law students in the theoretical and practical application of human rights standards and norms.
Despite many strides towards equality, women across the world suffer discrimination either directly or indirectly in all spheres of their lives. They suffer domestic violence including sexual abuse within homes and families. In many countries they do not have equal rights to property – hereditary or matrimonial. They also lose in the public sphere with the labour standards supporting the life styles of men in most parts of the world. Women often have lower literacy rates, higher malnutrition, lesser income, and more temporary and unskilled or semi-skilled work. Mainstreaming of gender issues to promote equality is a basic component of just legal education and GAJE. Provision of equal representation of women from all parts of the world on the steering committee of GAJE is just one example of the sensitivity of GAJE and its members to equality of women.