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A vineyard in a law clinic: the practical application of a therapeutic jurisprudence philosophy in a UK law clinic

Marson, James; Ferris, Katy; Kawalek, Anna


James Marson

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Associate Professor

Anna Kawalek


In late 2015, the British Red Cross approached the lead author. It was increasingly evident that given the austerity-driven political agenda of the UK government in cutting public funding to advisory services, coupled with the developing refugee crisis and its impact on countries and regions, refugees in many parts of the UK were in need of legal and non-legal assistance. University law clinics were an obvious source of support given their objectives of developing students' understanding and engagement with community groups. As our law clinic, based in the Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice (HKC), was developed specifically to address the needs of groups such as refugees, and given the groundbreaking work of Wexler and Winick (in Therapeutic Jurisprudence) and Gould and Perlin (on its application to clinical legal education) on providing a therapeutically positive experience for users, we sought to base our clinic aligned with Therapeutic Jurisprudence (TJ) principles. This paper examines the development and practical operation of a law clinic from a TJ perspective. It discusses how we have sought to infuse its core values, style and techniques, underpinned by humanitarian philosophies, into Clinical Legal Education (and as a starting point for its legal pedagogy). To date, most papers in this area have examined criminal law clinics in the US, but this paper is made unique by its focus upon the linkage between TJ and refugees against the UK contextual backdrop. As both frameworks strive towards achieving the same objectives (social justice and human rights), the close alignment between TJ and the HKC has allowed the Clinic (and its students) to learn from TJ as a rich and broad school of enquiry. This is particularly important when considering recent political UK initiatives keen to promote/incorporate comprehensive law practices into law processes more readily. As such, the ideas that TJ exhorts are becoming an increasingly important skills-base for graduates, particularly for those students who will become the next generation of lawyers/advisors, and must therefore also be incorporated into global legal education.


Marson, J., Ferris, K., & Kawalek, A. (2019). A vineyard in a law clinic: the practical application of a therapeutic jurisprudence philosophy in a UK law clinic. Singapore Journal of Legal Studies, March 2019, 124

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 14, 2019
Publication Date 2019-03
Deposit Date Jan 15, 2019
Print ISSN 0218-2173
Publisher National University of Singapore, Faculty of Law
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume March 2019
Pages 124
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