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Lawyers’ Incubation Clinic: Initiatives Towards Access to Justice for all

India is a diverse country which has numerous challenges and one such challenge remains the idea of access to justice for all. The idea also finds its place in Sustainable Development Goal No. 16 which provides to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. Even though there are various schemes, policies and legislations in place that lays importance to the problematics attached with proving access to justice for all, the resources allocated and the design of the schemes are not reaching out to the poor and the intended beneficiaries. Amidst all this, the role of law schools stems up as they usually are equipped with the resources and infrastructure enough to contribute towards the problem of access to justice for all. The mechanisms of providing access to justice for all is already at place with the establishment of statutory authorities such as National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) along with its counterparts, District Legal Service Authority (DLSA) but the ever-growing challenges of fair legal representation requires the growth of new institutions to undertake the task of access to justice for all. Since the idea of law is symmetrical to the notions of justice and fairness, the legal community of India, owes a professional responsibility towards the large sections of society to contribute towards legal aid and welfare. In furtherance of this mission statement, the University has established Lawyers’ Incubation Clinic (hereinafter referred to as “LIC”) which plays a pivotal role in delivery of benefits and resources to the marginalised people, particularly towards those sections of the society those who may be termed as subalterns and are beyond the eyes of law.

The various services rendered by the Lawyers’ Incubation Clinic of the University are:

  • Legal Literacy Programs –LIC carries out several activities that promotes legal literacy. For example, student conduct dramas and skits in open marketplaces mostly in local language so as to generate legal awareness amongst the common masses. The clinic also collaborates with NGOs, schools and other colleges to further generate awareness amongst the wide audience.
  • Legal Advice –The students of the LIC provides free legal advice to the clients. This is done in collaboration with a panel of lawyers so as to make sure that the advice rendered is professional and sound in nature.
  • Legal Representation –The students of LIC represent clients in quasi-judicial forums wherein they are allowed to appear such as Consumer forums. A separate clinic is constituted for the said purpose (named as “Consumer Law Clinic”). In matters where students are not allowed to represent in front of the forums, they refer the case to the District Legal Services Authority.
  • Para-Legal Services –The students of LIC render various Para-Legal functions like helping the people procure krishi cards, ration cards, birth and death certificates, and drafting affidavits and documents which are required for obtaining benefits under the welfare plans of the Government.
  • Alternate Dispute Resolution –The students of LIC engage in alternate dispute resolution mechanisms such as public mediation in resolving the local problems so that the dispute be resolved without opting for traditional dispute resolution mechanisms which usually costs more.
  • Public Interest Litigation –The students of the LIC have time and again approached the High Court of Gujarat by way of Public Interest Litigation for issues of larger public interest after exhausting all the remedies that were available to them and after proper inquiry and research.

It is important that access to justice for all remains the vision of the society at large and LIC breathes the same air and constantly thrives to achieve the same. It is imperative for all law schools to align themselves in line of being termed as a “strong institution” within the framework of Sustainable Development Goal No. 16 to meet the larger goal of social justice.

Author Mr Alaukik Shrivastava, Assistant Professor