Sustainability and University Law Clinic


  • Richard Owen Swansea University



Following increased activism, the climate crisis has moved up the political agenda, and with it an increased interest in sustainability issues. This article will look at how rebellious lawyering theory can provide a template for university law clinics when seeking to further sustainability objectives. It argues that as rebellious lawyering methods require a collective dimension to lawyering, egalitarian collaboration, deep knowledge of the communities that lawyers serve, simulations of a better future, self-examination and the building of broad coalitions it can in certain circumstances be a more effective way of furthering sustainability objectives than traditional legal process. Furthermore, building broad coalitions is vital to maintain the impetus behind sustainability initiatives.

It will reflect on the cultural change that is needed to respond to the sustainability agenda, what lessons can be learnt from the different approaches which have been taken internationally to the issue, as well as the pedagogical issues that need to be addressed to ensure that students have the appropriate sustainability literacy. It will also reflect on the extent to which sustainability is already embedded in the work of university law clinics.

It will examine how university law clinics can respond to sustainable development legislation by using Swansea Law Clinic’s experiences of working with sustainability goals and approaches, in the form of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, as a case study.

Author Biography

Richard Owen, Swansea University

Richard Owen is a Professor at Swansea University, United Kingdom.






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