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19/12/2017

Access to Justice and Legal Clinics: Developing a Reflective Lawyering Space. Some Insights from the Italian Experience

WP C.S.D.L.E. “Massimo D’Antona”.INT – 141/2017



The paper has been presented at the “Public Interest Law and Access to Justice” Conference held at the Universidad de los Andes, 12 May 2017. It is currently under review for publication as part of a collection of papers on public interest law and access to justice.



Chiesto The paper will explore the potential of legal clinics in contributing to making access to justice more effective. It intends to do so in the light of a critical assessment of the Italian system of access to justice, while taking into account the peculiarities of legal clinics as a public interest law actor.

To this end it will analyze the Italian system of access to justice with the aim of highlighting its shortcomings. It will than offer an account of the mechanisms aiming to ensure effective access to justice, at the individual and/or collective level that have been put in place by private and governmental actors, focusing first on the court enforcement of the Workers’ Statute, then on gender equality legislation and finally on the more recent experience of enforcement of antidiscrimination law provisions concerning, race, ethnic origin and nationality.

The paper will explore these experiences trying to go beyond their success or failure in enforcing rights in court as to enlarge the field of enquiry to the relation between legal strategies and political mobilization.

This part of the paper will set the ground for a context-sensitive assessment of the type of contribution legal clinics can provide in moving forward a critical reflection on public interest law practices in the Italian and more broadly in the European context, and in making access to justice more effective. Such assessment will start by considering the constrains which hinder, in the national context, the role of legal clinics as providers of legal services and will highlight the peculiarities of legal clinics as a public interest law actor.

author(s): Marzia Barbera - Venera Protopapa
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