Five Years of Clinical Legal Education in Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Nigeria: Are We There Yet?
Paper presented at the 2013 CLEA Conference in Durban
Professor CA Agbebaku and Mr Emmanuel Akhigbe
Faculty of Law, Alli University, Ekpoma, Nigeria
As the first set of graduates emerge this academic session, this paper seeks to answer the question posed by way of an examination of the state of clinical legal education in Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Nigeria since its introduction into the curriculum of the Faculty of Law five years ago.
To this end, the paper will discuss the concept of clinical legal education generally but will place special emphasis on its introduction and implementation in the Faculty of Law, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Nigeria taking into consideration the challenges faced in this regard which ranges from institutional apathy, aversion to change to inadequate funding. These challenges will be examined and measures to overcome them will be suggested.
Clinical legal education was introduced into the curriculum of the Faculty of Law, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Nigeria in 2007 after extensive deliberations by the Network for Universities Legal Aid Institutions (NULAI) with the relevant university authorities. The Network for Universities Legal Aid Institutions (NULAI) is a nongovernmental organization that is propagating the introduction of clinical legal education into the curriculum of Nigerian law faculties. Consequently, it established a law clinic in the faculty of law to complement the newly introduced system.
Further, the paper will also serve as an assessment of the impact of clinical legal education in the provision of quality legal education in Nigeria, as the view of stakeholders namely the student, faculty members and the community will be considered against the background that the main objective of clinical legal education is to improve the quality of legal education and by implication the legal profession in Nigeria.
In conclusion, the paper will review the enabling legislations relating to legal education in Nigeria with a view to identifying factors militating against clinical legal education and proffering suggestions to how to remedy the identified factors. The paper concludes by answering the question earlier posed with “Not yet but we are on course”, and expects that if the suggestions proffered are implemented then we will get there.