The Public Interest Law Clinic (PILAC)


Until the beginning of the 1970s, Makerere University ran one of the best law clinics in Africa. However, the turmoil of the 1970s forced many resource persons to flee Uganda, which affected the running of the Law Clinic and resulted into its closure.

Although the School of Law at Makerere University is the oldest law school in Uganda, its curriculum for the training of lawyers has only had a limited module on Clinical Legal Education (CLE). It also lacked a law clinic to provide for practical application of CLE knowledge.

Because a great number of Ugandans are legally indigent and may not have the resources to protect their rights through legal processes, it was felt necessary to expand and fully develop CLE through PILAC. This is especially important since even with the liberalization of legal education and the resultant increase in the number of law graduates, there is still a paucity of public interest lawyers.

In addition, the curricular of various law schools and that of the Law development Centre are very much designed to prepare law graduates for commercial legal practice. Intensified teaching of CLE at the undergraduate level at the School of Law therefore comes in to fill this gap. Thus, following a School curriculum review meeting held in 2008, it was decided to establish a fully fledged Public Interest Law Clinic. This was done in January 2012.


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