Prof. Christopher Mbazira, the Ag. Principal of the School of Law Makerere University has received the 2021 award from Uganda Law Society (ULS) for his distinguished service in the Promotion of Legal Education.
Professor Mbazira, who is also coordinator of the Public Interest Law Clinic (PILAC) was recognized for entrenching the use of Clinical Legal Education methodology in the training of Law students.
In a statement shared on the ULS social media platforms, it was stated that Professor Christopher Mbazira has also spearheaded the mainstreaming of Social Justice and Human Rights across the School curricular. ‘He was one of the 9 academic staff who approached the Supreme Court of Uganda and were admitted as amici in the 2016 Presidential Elections.
A number of persons and organizations have applauded the ‘well deserved’ award by the Uganda Law society.
In the year 2012, Prof. Christopher Mbazira started Public Interest Law Clinic and with the 12 pioneer students, the School of Law started a journey of training a new cadre of social justice lawyers. The Mission of PILAC is ‘to promote social justice through legal education, legal research, legal aid, public interest litigation, and building strategic partnerships.
Practical experiential training has been emphasized through programs like The Community Law and Mobile Clinic, (CLAPMOC) which involves students supported by advocates reaching out to the poor and less served communities to address the identified social justice issues through literacy sessions as well as provision of free legal services.
Clinical Legal Education (CLE), a law module has been mainstreamed in most programs in the Law School. It offers an experiential teaching approach intended to equip law students with public interest lawyering skills.
Students also learn through Internships and Externships where they experience real-life legal problems and this serves as an opportunity for them to collaborate with various organizations and legal practitioners working on specific problems.
In April 2017, PILAC was accredited as a legal aid service provider by the Uganda Law Council. The establishment of a fully-fledged walk-in legal aid unit at the School of Law exposes students to learning opportunities from real cases.
Other pedagogical methodologies include Public Lecture Series designed to create a forum to discuss contemporary law and justice issues at the University. The Guest Lecture series enables students to interact with experts in a given field.