Liberating legal education? Innocence projects in the US and Australia

Carole McCartney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Since the establishment of the first student-led Innocence Project at New York’s Cardozo Law School in 1992, innocence projects have spread across the United States and are now also established in Canada and Australia. Founded upon experiences of Innocence Projects gained in the US and Australia, this paper explores the educational merits of this method of legal education. The potential benefits of Innocence Projects in the UK are discussed, with reference to ongoing demands for innovation in legal education; the pressing need to defeat plagiarism with novel assessment techniques; the requirement to provide students with ‘enterprise skills’ and enhanced ‘information literacy’; and efforts to encourage ‘deep’ learning and reflective practice. This paper concludes that, as Burridge (2004) asserts, the UK has been slow to emulate international exemplary educational techniques that achieve important pedagogical aims. While student law clinics meet some of these aims, and there are encouraging signs of interest in innocence projects in the UK (see Naughton 2005), this paper argues that valuable lessons from the US and Australia can still be learnt within the domestic legal education community.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWeb Journal of Current Legal Issues
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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