Thursday, July 27, 2006

YLS Co-sponsors International Conference on Access to Justice

Yale Law School, the Legal Education and Research Society (LEARS) of India, and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) will co-sponsor the "International Conference on Access to Justice: Law, Policy and Institutions" in New Delhi, India, August 11-13, 2006.

The conference's substantive sessions will include presentations and discussions on the theoretical foundations of access to justice, formal and informal dispute resolution systems, alternative dispute resolution, corruption, regulatory reforms, civil society initiatives in promoting access to justice, non-governmental organizations, legal literacy and legal aid, and the present and future of legal education.

Participants will include academics, lawyers, judges, non-governmental organizations, students, and journalists. Attending from YLS will be Peter H. Schuck, Simeon E. Baldwin Professor of Law; Vicki Schultz, Ford Foundation Professor of Law; J.L. Pottenger, Jr., Nathan Baker Clinical Professor of Law and Supervising Attorney; and Associate Dean Mark Templeton. Dean Harold Hongju Koh will address conference participants in a video message.

"India's role in the world makes access to justice for its almost 1.2 billion people a question of immense importance," said Professor Schuck, who is co-organizer of the conference. "The Yale participants hope to learn how this question is being resolved in India and perhaps to contribute information and ideas based on the American experience with public interest law, clinical legal education, class actions, and the like," he added.

"The conference is a landmark initiative and the first of its kind to examine access to justice issues in South Asia and beyond [and] to respond to the governance challenges facing the sub-continent and elsewhere," said C. Raj Kumar, chief executive officer of LEARS and professor at the School of Law, City University of Hong Kong.

The conference's opening session will be chaired by Justice A.S. Anand, the former chief justice of India and chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission. Union Cabinet Minister for Law and Justice Hansraj Bharadwaj will give the conference's inaugural address. Marcia V.J. Kran, deputy regional manager/head of policy and programs, UNDP Regional Centre, Bangkok, will deliver a special address.

"The partnership with LEARS and Yale Law School comes at a very appropriate time," said UNDP Resident Representative and UN Resident Coordinator Dr. Maxine Olson. "The UNDP and the government of India are currently working together to address fundamental issues related to judicial reforms in India," Olson added.

Yale Law School will host a dinner for conference attendees on Friday, August 11. The dinner's speaker will be Deepak Nayyar who is professor of economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, a member of the National Knowledge Commission, and former vice chancellor of the University of Delhi. Subsequent conference dinners will feature speakers Gopal Subramanium, additional solicitor general of India and senior advocate, Supreme Court of India, and Jairam Ramesh, India's minister of state for commerce.

Additional information about the conference is available on the LEARS website.

A pdf outlining the topics and speakers for the conference's substantive sessions is available here.