Engendering a Clinic: Lessons Learned from a Domestic Violence Clinical Course in Qatar
International Review of Law 2013:1
25 Pages Posted: 26 Nov 2013 Last revised: 9 Jul 2020
Date Written: April 18, 2013
Domestic violence, a serious problem around the world, remains a hidden concern among the Islamic Gulf States. Yet signs indicate the situation is changing. A team of American lawyers and professors, responding to student initiative and the Qatari development strategy, recently initiated Qatar’s first law school clinic, focusing exclusively on domestic violence. By highlighting the students’ experience, this article outlines the issues involved and the problems that were encountered, and resolved, during the development of this clinic. The students first studied the issue of domestic violence, then made presentations to the larger community to raise awareness of the topic. Subsequent to a review of international law, the Qatari criminal code and model domestic violence statutes from other jurisdictions, the students drafted legislation designed to criminalize domestic violence in Qatar. Finally, they developed what they called An Action Plan to Stop Domestic Violence in Qatar. This article also explores how the clinic’s work was informed by the sex-segregated educational environment, by Islamic culture at large, and by feminist and traditional interpretations of the Qur’an. The authors offer reflections on the lessons they learned and propose suggestions about how such pedagogy might proceed in future.
An abbreviated version of this article appears in Experimental Legal Education in a Globalized World: The Middle East & Beyond (Mutaz M. Qafisheh and Stephen A. Rosenbaum, eds.) (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016): Chptr. 7: "Scenes from a Domestic Violence Clinic in the Gulf: The Case of Qatar."
Keywords: domestic violence, Qatar, clinical law, service learning, women's rights
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