Evaluating a Different Model of Clinical Legal Education in South Africa: Community Consultations, Advocacy and the Right of Access to Information

Authors Fola Adeleke, Sithembiso Mabaso

ISSN: 1996-2177
Affiliations: School of Law, University of the Witwatersrand
Source: South African Law Journal, Volume 133 Issue 4, 2016, p. 874 – 896


In 2013, the Wits Law Clinic rolled out a revamped model of clinical legal education (‘CLE’) in partnership with the South African Human Rights Commission. This involved the development of a specialist law clinic, founded on the right of access to information, and which included client consultations by students in different community locations. It also involved the implementation of a human-rights theory that posits that the exercise of the right to information can unlock the delivery of other socio-economic rights. In this article we review the first two years since the project’s implementation, and conduct an analysis of the uniqueness of this model in comparison to existing CLE models in South Africa. The case studies discussed in this article show that the exercise of the right of access to information has been presented as a means to an end, and an opportunity for legal practitioners to assess potential causes of action on behalf of their clients. We argue that the new CLE model introduced at Wits has developed a new form of learning for students that can aid the resolution of disputes concerning human-rights violations, particularly in areas where litigation is a last resort.