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Amsterdam Law Clinics

Free legal aid for civil society organizations

The Amsterdam Law Clinics are leaders in the field of ‘clinical legal education’ in the Netherlands. In this form of education, selected Master's students work on matters of public interest on behalf of clients. Does the organization you work for contribute to the public interest? We are happy to discuss how our students can help solve legal issues.

Looking for legal support?

Individuals or organizations working on cases or projects with a social relevance and looking for additional expertise in solving a legal issue can contact us. A dedicated team from one of our clinics could, for example, help with strategic litigation or provide support by conducting legal research. 

Our thematic clinics are:

The clinics do not focus on individual cases, but work on cases with a broader social relevance. Most clinic cases and projects use an interdisciplinary approach. In order to create synergy between the legal advice centres and the Amsterdam Law Clinics, students who work in a legal advice centre also participate in the Amsterdam Law Clinics education. The Amsterdam Law Clinics are a part of the experiential education programme of the Amsterdam Law Practice.

Of course, students are not on their own. They are intensively supervised by professionals. They can be (assistant) professors or lecturers, but also post-doctoral researchers or practitioners with special knowledge of a certain area of law. Our supervisors have experience in legal practice, which helps them to better understand the needs of their clients.

Law students during a clinic
A class about speaking in public
Law students at a course by guest lecturer Fokke Jensma

What are the teams like?

The students who participate in our clinics are Master's students from various legal backgrounds. Both students from the Dutch and English-language Master's programmes participate. 

The participants are selected on the basis of:

  • their motivation;
  • previous academic achievements;
  • demonstrated affinity with the project;
  • the ability to match legal expertise with the projects they will be working on in that semester.

What topics are covered?

We take on many different cases. The most important thing is that the request serves the public interest. Topics can range from human rights, to international criminal/humanitarian law, to environmental law and animal welfare. And from anti-tobacco campaigns, to the housing market, corporate social responsibility and the right to a fair trial. Cases may concern legal procedures, but may also involve legal research with the aim of strengthening a lobbying strategy or exploring legal possibilities and policies.

Do you work on a pro bono basis?

The Amsterdam Law Clinics work on a pro bono basis for a wide range of clients. From assisting lawyers or organizations with complex legal questions that require specific knowledge of several legal areas, to clients who do not have the means to finance regular legal aid. However, we are not a legal aid office that assists individual clients. In that case, please contact our legal advice centres

How is the work done?

Most projects are carried out per semester. Roughly from the beginning of September to the end of January and from the beginning of February to the end of June. We aim to make a final project selection and select students in May and November before the start of each semester, but we also accept requests at other times during the year.

There is no specific format in which the application should be submitted. We like to talk to our clients first about the needs and possibilities and agree on what the clinics can offer. Then we lay down the terms of our cooperation in a Terms of Reference.

All our projects are handled on a strictly confidential basis, unless otherwise agreed. Students are asked to sign a confidentiality agreement before the start of the semester. Any follow-up steps arising from our research and clinic work, such as publications or the organization of a symposium, will only be considered after approval by both parties and are usually carried out jointly.

Master's student Dilan
Copyright: FdR
Learning to think critically and out of the box makes the Amsterdam Law Clinics indispensable during your Master's. The high-profile cases you work on serve a social and wider interest, so you are not just working for one individual. Master's student Dilan, Business and Human Rights Clinic

Questions or registration?

Submit a request or contact us by sending an e-mail to amsterdamlawclinics@uva.nl. We will be happy to discuss the possibilities.