Does Clinical Legal Education Need Theory?

McFaul, Hugh (2020). Does Clinical Legal Education Need Theory? Asian Journal of Legal Education, 7(2) pp. 152–163.



Clinical legal education (CLE) is an increasingly common feature of legal education programmes in higher education around the world. The growth in this area has led to a developing academic literature facilitated by specialist journals and conferences which have produced a largely pragmatic and practice-orientated discourse, with relatively little discussion of wider theoretical issues and their relevance to this area of academic practice. This conceptual study contextualises the growth of CLE in the UK by considering the influence of two neoliberal policy drivers; marketisation and the decline in publicly funded legal advice and representation. It proceeds to consider how these policies have helped to shape the practice-oriented focus of the literature on this area before making an argument that giving more explicit focus to theoretical issues has the potential to enrich the growing body of CLE literature.

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