Academic Programme - Practical Law (PRR 410 and 420)
The UP Law Clinic can accomodate a maximum of 100 students each year. Prior to the students enrolling for Practical Law (PRR 410 and 420) they are required to submit a brief CV and personal profile setting out any previous working experience (e.g. vacation work), particular skills (e.g. proficiency in languages), interests and career intentions. They are then interviewed individually.
During these interviews the mission and goals of the clinic are conveyed to the prospective students and the responsibilities and demands associated with working with actual clients are emphasised. He/she is also encouraged to reflect on and to be prepared to verbalise his/her expectations of a course in practical law at the first meeting between the students and clinic personnel.
After these individual interviews the first meeting with students is used to involve them in a discussion of the learning outcomes that the students and clinicians would like to achieve. This in itself is a learning experience for most students involving negotiations and goal setting.
During a second meeting the concept of small group work is introduced and the students are requested to form groups reflecting gender and cultural diversity. The rationale behind this requirment is explained to the students and time slots for working at the clinic is then agreed upon.
Students, supervised by attorneys, engage in training simulations before meeting their first actual clients. This happens at a two day long off-campus orientation workshop.
Photo by/Foto deur Lourens Grové
Practical Law 410 is an elective available to final year LLB students. It carries full academic credit and runs for the first semester. The course consists of:
- An intensive intitial two-day residential workshop held off-campus during which the students are sensitised to client centred consultations and counselling, issues of equality and diversity and negotiation skills;
- A classroom component of one hour per week during which time the lecturer or clinician meets with the entire group of clinic students and offers instruction through various media and methodologies, covering aspects of substantive and procedural law, skills and values;
- A practical component which involves students (initially in groups, later in pairs and eventually as individuals towards the end of the course) consulting and advising clients, engaging in collaborative research of facts and law aimed at problem solving, drafting of letters, notices and pleadings, negotiating with other parties and legal representatives and learning skills at both theoretical and practical level - ranging from the opening and closing of a file to managing a case. All of this is done under the supervision of clinic attorneys who provide constant feedback.
Practical Law 420 is the elective that runs in the second semester. A prerequisite for this subject is that Practical Law 410 must be passed. It carries full academic credit. This subject is structured in the same way as Practical Law 410.
Innovative assessment practices are followed, asssessing the full range of competencies.
A portfolio is created of all the work done by a student or a group consisting of:
- A collection of the client files that the student had worked on, containing examples of the completed application and indemnity forms, consultation notes, correspondence, pleadings, etc;
- Experiences and activities when shadowing a candidate attorney;
- The overall performance and participation of the student in the day to day operation of the clinic;
- For purposes of assessment of students in a clinical setting give basic modes are used: self-assessment, staff-assessment, external assessment, peer assessment and assessment by clients of the clinic;
- Regular tests and assignments based on the weekly lectures;
- An essay on a topical matter or proof of extensive research done by the student in connection with a case that he worked on;
- An oral examination conducted by clinic staff and practitioners in private practice.
In using all these role-players to assess we strive to get a 360-degree evaluation.
We strive to constantly enhance the subjects. The clinical legal education house currently consists of three consultation rooms and a well equipped computer lab. We are also in the process of establishing an observation room with an one way mirror to enable us to assess the students' development in consultation skills.
Students wishing to apply for admission to the subjects PRR 410 and PRR 420 can find application forms on the link "PRR 410 and 420 application forms".