The outcomes of community legal education: a systematic review, Justice issues paper 18 ( 2014 ) Cite this report
In general, the aim of CLE is to educate community members about the law and legal processes in order to assist them to resolve their legal problems most effectively and participate in law reform. However, the goals articulated for different CLE programs and strategies vary considerably, ‘from the very general — for example, awareness raising — to the highly specific — such as equipping users to carry out specific actions to solve a particular problem’ (PLEAS Task Force 2007, p.14).
The Guidelines for the Management of Community Legal Education Practice set out four goals for CLE, which encapsulate the key aims of CLE described in the literature in Australia (Cox 2002) and overseas (Barry et al., 2012). These goals are to:
• Raise the awareness of the community of the law and legal processes.
• Increase the ability of the community to understand and critically assess the impact of the law and the legal system on themselves in society generally and in relation to particular sets of circumstances.
• Improve the community’s ability to deal with and use the law and the legal system.
• Create a climate for participating in or influencing the law-making process and for pursuing law reform, through collective action where appropriate. (CCLCG, 2004)
The PLEAS Taskforce in the UK further expands upon the higher level aims of public (or community) legal education as including: