Title: The Importance of Transitioning from Generic to Specialized Legal Clinics in the Middle East and its Effects on Street Law

Lead Presenter: Seyed Masoud Noori

Co-Presenters:

  1. Maryam Torabi
  2. Zahra Azhar

Session Abstract: Legal clinics in the Middle East - like in other developing parts of the world - might be in a position, especially in their first years of activity, where they are obliged to provide general legal assistance in various areas to the disadvantaged groups of the society due to two factors. First, they lack human and other resources needed to specialize. Secondly, the needs in the society that have not been met by other juridical organizations are diverse. The main outline of this article is to indicate that for having a more effective performance by legal clinics in the legal structure of their countries, it is necessary that they transition from offering legal aid and teaching laws in every area to much more specialized fields like immigration law, environmental law, civil liability, and consumer protection laws due to the local needs of where they are situated and referring to their professional human resources. If clinics specialize in special areas of law, they would gain at least two achievements: firstly, being able to protect the vulnerable groups of the society and to enrich their knowledge on their rights and the laws they should be aware of. Secondly, these specialized clinics would have the opportunity to play a creative and significant role in the legal and juridical system of the country, for example, through comparative studies, exposing the new point of view to the jurists and judges, drafting new legal bills, and altering the impractical laws. Specialized legal clinics and teaching law to those in need through specialized street lawyers would benefit the whole society by preventing waste of energy and resources on working on the same topics by different activists. It will also stop sidestepping some areas of law which are left unattended due to dividing the work between legal clinics and those active in street law. To avoid stagnation of legal clinics and to have an active and proceeding system in street law, they must move towards becoming specialized in the legal services they provide.

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