Legal clinic "Pro bono"
Brief Overview of the Legal Clinic
Legal clinic ‘Pro bono’ (from latin – ‘for goodness’) is the joint project of the Charity Foundation “Legal Initiatives” and the National University of Ostroh Academy. Today legal clinic is the structural unit of the University and acts in accordance with the Law of Ukraine “On Higher Education” and the Model Regulation on the Legal Clinic of the Higher Educational Establishment of Ukraine.
NUOA Legal clinic ‘Pro bono’ has been one of the first in Ukraine, as it was found in 2000. Since it almost foundation and till now, legal clinic holds one of the prior positions among legal clinics of Ukraine.
Aim of Legal Clinic and Its Activity Fields
Legal clinic is – first of all – the basis for professional practice for the future lawyers.
Volunteering students of the legal clinic work as legal consultants as they directly consult people who address the legal clinic on various legal issues. This consultation is provided under the careful supervision of legal clinic mentors who are legal practitioners. Legal consultations are given mainly in civil law questions, including, but not limited to the treaty law, land, family, inheritance, housing law, as well as questions which relate to taxes, electoral, Human rights and non-discrimination. Legal clinic does not consult on criminal law and corporate law issues.
Legal Educational Activity
In addition to legal consultation, the other equally important element of the legal clinic activity is legal educational work. In particular, we work to raise the level of peoples’ awareness in legal sphere through – from amongst – the Street Law programme. Under Street Law component the consultants develop and perform interesting practical law lessons for the high school students in Rivne, Volyn and Khmelnytskyi regions. Legal clinic ‘Pro bono’ also cooperates successfully with the system of Free Legal Aid which is provided by the state within Ministry of Justice system. Consultants of the legal clinic together with the representatives of the state free legal aid local centre have given joint Street Law lessons. Also, depending upon the specificity of the case, the applicants may be redirected between legal clinic and the centre.
Besides, the legal consultations on the most up-to- date issues are being published in the local mass media, various Internet resources and portals. Legal clinic ‘Pro bono’ has cooperated with the informational platforms Osvita.ua and Legal Space by proving answers to legal questions from the platforms’ users. Legal consultations were also published on the Legal clinics of Ukraine Internet forum.
Legal Clinic ‘Pro bono’ Uniqueness
Client Consultation Competition
It was NUOA Legal Clinic “Pro bono” where for the first time in Ukraine national round of the Client Interviewing and Counselling Competition (at present – Client Consultation Competition) was held in 2005. This round is the promotion stage to the Brown Mosten International Client Consultation Competition. Our legal clinic consultants have been multiple winners of the national round and thus have represented Ukraine in the International rounds in 2006, Cardiff, Wales; in 2008, Bangalore, India; in 2009, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA and in 2011 in Maastricht, Netherlands.
After some pause the National round was renewed and since 2015 the Competition is again being held at the National University of Ostroh Academy.
Cooperation with the Civil Society Sector
In June, 2017 legal clinic volunteers have joined the networking action campaign “Open Dialogue. European Values”, which is being organized by the Literary group «STAN» modern art community throughout Ukraine.
Rather unique is our experience of the cooperation with the Ngo European Law Students Association – ELSA-Ukraine and in particular – participation in the Students Trainee Exchange Programme (STEP). Within the past few years legal clinic Pro bono has hosted more than ten interns form Germany, Belarus, Hungary, USA and the Czech Republic.
International cooperation is not limited just to STEP programme. So, last April, 2017 legal clinic head Mariia Tsypiashchuk took part as a speaker in the ХХVII All-Polish Conference of Legal Clinics. Moreover, at the beginning of June, 2017 there was a first stage of the International study visit held between the legal clinics of Vitebsk (Belarus) and Legal clinic ‘Pro bono’. During this visit the Belarusian colleagues had an opportunity to familiarize with the structure and activity of Ukrainian legal clinics, visit the real court hearing in the district court and practice during the helpful training on client interviewing and consultation.
Mariia Tsypiashchuk – Head of the NUOA Legal Clinic ’Pro bono’ is also a Board member of the Association of Legal Clinics of Ukraine, аas well as the member of the joint Ministry of Education and Science and Ministry of Justice working group on the drafting amendments to the Model Regulation on the Legal Clinic of the Higher Educational Establishment of Ukraine.