IRLI Involvement

Vietnam now is one of the most dynamic emerging countries in South East Asia.

Despite this progress, inequality persists with many still living in poverty.  In recognition of the linkages between poverty, legal exclusion and injustice, IRLI has partnered with access to justice organisation, BABSEA-CLE, to assist in enhancing Clinical Legal Education (CLE) within universities in Vietnam.

BABSEA-CLE’s approach to CLE is explicitly public interest based in that students are encouraged to use their practical knowledge to benefit marginalised and disadvantaged people.  This is done primarily through community law programmes, student-run legal aid clinics and street law initiatives.

It is seen as a means to embed student knowledge and understanding of the interaction of law in society, law in practice, the role of legal practitioners and law, advocacy and social change.

In 2011, solicitor Freda Grealy volunteered with BABSEA-CLE and upon return came sought to further engage Irish lawyers in building the capacity of law students in Vietnam.

In April 2013, IRLI embarked on its first CLE training visit to Foreign Trade University (Hanoi), Hue University and Ho Chi Minh University.  The workshops concentrated on experiential learning with specific focus on employment law and dispute resolution.


Ho Chi Minh

IRLI team and participants at Ho Chi Minh University, 2014

IRLI returned to Vietnam in 2014 and it devised a long-term plan to their programme in Vietnam in various ways, including but not limited to:

  • Assist with development of CLE curriculum, teaching modules and teaching syllabi (including integration of professional ethics).
  • Assist in the facilitating of meeting foreign clinic experts to share/exchange experiences.
  • Assist in organising and delivering local, national and (if feasible) regional workshops.
  • Assist with the development and/or strengthening of administration procedures and policies for the operation of the CLE programme;
  • Provide general organisational capacity development support to core-members of the clinic.
  • Assist in the development of linkages between university clinics and legal stakeholders (lawyers, prosecutors, provincial justice departments) and other organisations which may be providing legal assistance.
  • Assist in the development of CLE programmes related to increasing the knowledge of communities of their legal rights and obligations, and how to access justice through ongoing community programmes delivered by law clinics as part of needs assessment, base line studies, post training evaluation.
  • Assist in supporting dialogues between law clinics and government/state officials on policy and law reform issues relevant to the operation of law clinics.
  • Assist with other activities, as needed, reasonably related to achieving the goals of the BABSEA-CLE and its partners in the strengthening of CLE in South East Asia.