"About a month ago I was summoned to the police for questioning, without knowing what it is about. One of the most stressful things for me was not knowing what was happening and being unprepared. Once I was referred to you, you were kind, reassuring and professional. You prepared me for the questioning and made me feel confident."
A client of the Criminal Justice Clinic
The Criminal Justice Clinic provides legal assistance free of charge to individuals involved in any stage of criminal proceedings, from arrest through indictment, trial, and appeal. Its objective is to combine theory and practice to generate social change, whether by providing representation in individual cases in the various courts or by promoting policy change in core issues of criminal law. Criminal justice procedures have far-reaching implications for individual rights, which are at a great risk of being infringed by the authorities. There is therefore a need for very strong guarantees that such rights are well protected. The Clinic aims to provide quality legal assistance to those without means.
Alongside helping individuals to protect their rights at the criminal process, the Clinic's goals are to arm students – the future generation of lawyers in the public and private sectors – with social sensitivity and an understanding of the nature of representation in the criminal process. Participants undertake a variety of tasks, all of which are carried out under the close supervision of the Clinic’s attorney, including analysis of case materials, meeting with clients, and preparing cases for court. Additionally, the clinic works towards policy change in the area of criminal justice, and conducts projects within the community to raise awareness to criminal law issues and the importance of a just process.
Among the Clinic's recent achievements:
- The Clinic succeeded in convincing the Attorney General to drop charges against a client suffering from financial difficulties. The client, a mother of four with no criminal record, stole from a grocery store basic products for her children. The clinic filed a petition to delay the criminal proceedings, based on the unfortunate life circumstances of the client and her financial situation, and describing the crime as a poverty crime.
- Every year, the Clinic holds a workshop on law and justice for young adults who are under a probation order. In the framework of the workshop, The Clinic's students give 20 lectures on different issues concerning the participants' rights such as human rights, labor law, debt collection etc. The workshop includes a tour of the Knesset. The highlight of the workshop is the mock trail which takes place at the end of each academic year, with the participation of Faculty members, the Clinic's students, probation service management and the proud families of the workshop's participants.