October 10, 2007
On September 19, 2007, the University of Pristina Senate, as the governing body of the institution, approved a revised curriculum for the law faculty that includes all of the courses which the ABA Rule of Law Initiative has developed for the faculty over the last two years. This significant step toward modernizing the course offerings of the law faculty marks the culmination of anine-month effort by ABA ROLI, together with its partners USAID and the U.S.Department of Justice, as well as members of the law faculty, to have the courses adopted into the mainstream curriculum of the law school.
The ABA Rule of Law Initiative’s clinical legal education program began at the University of Pristina Law Faculty in 2005 in response to the inadequacies of the legal education system for providing students with skills they need tofunction as effective lawyers in Kosovo society. Approximately 200 students who have taken the ABA ROLI-introduced legal methodology course and simulation clinics in criminal and civil law since 2005 did so for the experience, but received no credit toward their law degrees. This approval means that, among other things, students can now get credit for taking these courses. While the clinics are to be elective options, the legal methodology course has now been made a mandatory class for first year students.
The path from proposal to adoption was a long one. In February 2007, the initial proposal was submitted to the dean of University of Pristina to include the legal methodology course, simulation clinics, and an upcoming trial advocacy skills and live-client clinic into the regular curriculum. Oncethe law faculty supported the proposal, the “Scientific Council” of the University, a body of faculty members with the authority to decide what should be brought before the Senate, also needed to approve the proposal, which theydid. The Senate’s approval bolsters the sustainability of ABA ROLI’s work withthe University of Pristina Law Faculty. While the law faculty has always been supportive of the introduction of the law courses, the adoption of thesecourses into the curriculum demonstrates long-term commitment by the facultyand the university to these aims.
The next major ABA ROLI contribution to the law faculty takes place this academic year, with the piloting of a trial advocacy course and the start of alive-client clinic, funded by the U.S. Department of Justice.
For more information, please contact Vjosa Hasanaj-Shkodra [email protected].