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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Prof Dr Susanne Baer

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About the Humboldt Law Clinic Grund- und Menschenrechte

Defending constitutional and human rights in court, advancing non-discrimination and inclusion policies in the context of gender, racism, able-ism, and other social inequalities, students work on practical cases in an interdisciplinary setting.

By integrating academic training and practical case work, in close collaboration with practice experts, the Clinic provides students with the opportunity to gain both practical skills and in-depth knowledge of a specialized field of law. They get to know the tasks and workings of specialized advice centers, of lobby organizations and of law offices, expand their theoretical knowledge and gather practical experience, such as writing expert reports or case briefs.

 

How does it work?

The Humboldt Law Clinic: Grund- und Menschenrechte is a one-year program that starts each fall and that is integrated into the regular curriculum. It is open to law students from their second year, as well as to students of Gender Studies. It comprises two courses, two hours per week each, and an internship:

Foundational course

A foundational course, “Fundamental and Human Rights in Theory and Practice,” takes place during the first semester of the cycle.

Using concrete cases that students will pursue throughout the year, this course teaches the theoretical foundations and the basic skills needed to work with human rights and against discrimination. This includes practical questions of client interaction, the tasks and workings of specialized advice centers, strategic litigation, writing model or amicus curiae briefs, etc. Students are introduced to the basic legal instruments, train competences for advice and litigation work, and develop a practice-oriented understanding of working with fundamental and human rights in concrete cases.

Human rights and anti-discrimination experts are regularly invited for classroom talks and workshops.

Internship

The four-week internship in the semester break focuses on the cases that the students have been introduced to during the foundational course. Moreover, students get to know the practical work of organizations and lawyers in the field.

The internships are provided by the Humboldt Law Clinic GMR. We cooperate with NGOs, human rights and anti-discrimination lawyers, as well as official institutions.

Please refer to our Cooperations page for more information on Clinic partners.

In-depth seminar and certificate

The in-depth seminar in the second semester of the cycle continues the casework in a colloquium format. Keeping in touch with the NGOs and lawyers, students expand their case-relevant legal knowledge by conducting academic research, while working on a written product. Depending on the needs of out partners and on the project, this can be a brief or a report ready for use in a trial procedure, in legal policy debates or in advice work.

Emphasizing the importance of human rights work in legal education, the program is part of the regular curriculum, both in the Law Faculty and in Gender Studies. Students obtain regular credits for most parts of the program. However, participating in the Clinic requires a readiness to engage that goes far beyond most courses – in exchange for skills and insight that also exceed a regular academic course. A certificate honors this commitment.

Staying involved

After completing the Clinic, students are invited to remain involved in their cases or in the Clinic project as such (e.g. as part of a study group).

 

The Humboldt Law Clinics

The Humboldt Law Clinic constitutes an innovative and practice-oriented course module at the Humboldt University's Law Faculty, Berlin, that is an umbrella to three separate Clinics.

The Humboldt Law Clinic was first founded in 2010 by Prof. Dr. Susanne Baer, LL.M. (Michigan), Dr. Nora Markard, MA, and Jacqui Zalcberg, LL.M. It started its first cycle in 2010/11 with a focus on Human Rights. In 2011/12, the Human Rights Clinic was renamed "Humboldt Law Clinic Grund- und Menschenrechte (GMR)," extending its scope to practical protection of constitutional rights, national and international human rights, and anti-discrimination law.

Since then, the Humboldt Law Clinic has started to diversify: in 2012, the Consumer Law Clinic joined, and an Internet Law Clinic started in 2012/13.

 

Further information and contact

For more information on the Humboldt Law Clinic GMR, including information on how to apply, the current cyle, partners, and past projects, please check here.

You can also contact us via email: lawclinic@rewi.hu-berlin.de.