What is a Human Rights clinic?

Human Rights clinics usually have two main purposes: to strengthen legal education and to improve the protection of the rights of vulnerable groups in society. Historically, clinics have emerged where there has been a particular need for legal advice and assistance for the most vulnerable in society. This has been the case in the United States, but also in large parts of the former Soviet Union. In Sweden, we have had a strong tradition of the state protecting the interests and rights of individuals. Independent and professional authorities in the welfare state combined with a strong awareness of rights, especially socio-economic rights (for example, through trade union activities) have contributed to this. This worked fairly well in a homogenous Sweden without large groups in exclusion. However, today´s society is more complex which requires nuanced solutions and the involvement of more actors. In this context, the importance of a strong civil society grows. This is where human rights clinics can play an important role by creating a link between the university and civil society. The clinics do not replace something that already exists and do not aim to push away other actors. Human rights clinics meet an existing need and they create pluralism, breadth and depth in terms of the protection of rights in society.

At the Human Rights Clinic, students work closely with Sweden´s leading human rights organizations, working with concrete cases. Students write legal analysis under the supervision of teacher and researchers at the Faculty of Law and representatives of the human rights organizations. The students write legal investigations, shadow investigations, consultations responses, submissions to supervisory authorities, etc. Lectures and presentations may also occur. Common to all tasks is that the students work with specific matters and that feedback is given continuously from the supervisors, which in turn contributes to in-depth oral and written skills among the students.

Last modified: 2021-12-20