The ABA Rule of Law Initiative-supervised Human Rights Clinic Program will be formally incorporated into the curriculum of the Moroccan Law Faculty of Mohammedia at the University of Hassan II, beginning with the 2007-2008 academic year, the school has confirmed. The law faculty will assume management and financial responsibility for the clinical program after it completes its ABA-supervised pilot phase in July 2007.
The Human Rights Clinic Program was established in 2005 by the Rule of Law Initiative, in partnership with the Law Faculty of Mohammedia. It is the first clinical legal program in Morocco and the only one of its kind in the Maghreb region. The program was made possible through generous funding and support from the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor and the U.S. Mission to Morocco.
The clinical legal education program at Mohammedia combines course work that trains students on practical legal skills and a law clinic where students, under the supervision of a lawyer, provide free legal services to the public. Legal education in Morocco traditionally consists principally of lecture style classes. As a result, law students typically enter the workforce with few practical skills. In addition, the poor have little access to legal services in Morocco. Thus, the clinical legal education program has enabled students to gain practical skills and, at the same time, provided access to legal services to those who otherwise cannot afford to pay for such services. The clinic, which specializes in labor rights, has offered its services to vulnerable workers in the Mohammedia region of Morocco, including several substantial groups of workers facing wrongful job termination.
The law faculty recently sponsored a national conference on clinical legal education to highlight the success of its program. Representatives of other law faculties from throughout Morocco attended the gathering and expressed great interest in undertaking similar clinical legal programs at their institutions. During the conference, the dean and vice-dean of the Mohammedia Law Faculty proudly announced the continuation of their clinical program. The chair of the private law department of the law faculty, and a licensed lawyer, has been appointed to assume responsibility for the program, and a solicitation of interested students for the program during the coming academic year has been initiated by the law faculty administration.
The Rule of Law Initiative Morocco staff have worked closely during the past year with law faculty administrators to promote and ensure the sustainability of the pilot clinical program. The achievement of incorporating the program into the law faculty curriculum is a testament to the success of the program and the efforts of all those involved in its establishment in Morocco.