What is a Critical Lawyers’ Group?
‘One must start by knowing what is going on, by freeing oneself from the mystified delusions embedded in our consciousness by the liberal legal world view.’ (Alan D. Freeman, ”Truth and Mystification in Legal Scholarship’, Yale Law Journal, 1981, vol. 90 p. 1229)
CLG started at the Kent Law School and the National Critical Lawyers Group is the umbrella organisation for a number of CLGs that extend across Universities in England and Scotland.
CLG brings together academics, practitioners, politicians and students in an explosive forum which is designed to extend the critical teaching that is fostered at Kent and remains the main alternative to ‘Black Letter’ legal education.
A CLG is open to all students, staff and practitioners with a critical approach towards law, legal education and practice. The CLG will seek:
- To develop a theoretically grounded critique of orthodox legal studies
- To foster debate on the role and limits of law in a capitalist society and to consider the potentiality of a legal education and practice in the interests of the disadvantaged and oppressed
- To provide a discussion forum for organisations and campaigns concerned with struggles around law, legal education and practice
- To initiate and to support progressive struggles around law, legal education and practice
- To encourage and to initiate alternative forms of legal education and practice
To these ends to invite speakers, engage in critical debate and undertake practical work
- To affiliate to the National CLG and assist in its organisation and activities
The achievement of any of the above changes in legal education and legal practice requires some form of organisation which brings together students, critical legal academics and practitioners. The critical movement in Britain has, until recently, failed to create such a structure. The formation, in the last few years, of Critical Lawyers’ Groups in a number of university and polytechnic law departments has provided a basis for remedying this failure and producing pressure for change.