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Design technology to guarantee access to justice and human rights

Law in Action: Justice and Legal Technology

Learn how individuals and organisations can enforce compliance with human rights and how legal technology can contribute to that in practice.

In this minor, students will directly be able to put the knowledge and skills they obtained into practice. The courses on human rights and legal design thinking will prepare students to work on real projects in the Justice and Legal Technology Clinic. This way students can improve access to justice.

Overview courses

  • Human Rights in Action (6 ECTS)

    The Human Rights in Action course combines a doctrinal human rights approach with a focus on how human rights function in practice. Students learn how human rights operate and to think critically about the implementation and enforcement of human rights and the different actors involved therein. It will address various methods for enforcing human rights such as strategic litigation and self-regulation. This course focuses on themes that are relevant for the projects of the Justice and Legal Technology Clinic. 

  • Legal Technology and Design Thinking (6 ECTS)

    The Legal Technology and Design Thinking course develops students understanding of what legal technology is and how it is applied. At the end of the course, students are able to evaluate and select appropriate legal technology to address practical legal problems, and to apply legal design skills to present technological solutions in an intuitive manner appropriate to the end-user. Students reflect critically on the use and ethics of legal technology and the ethical consequences of their designs. This course discusses topics that are relevant for the projects of the Justice and Legal Technology Clinic.  

  • Justice and Legal Technology Clinic (12 ECTS)

    In the Justice and Legal Technology Clinic students work on a project in which they use and/or design legal technology to solve a real problem concerning access to justice and/or human rights. Students work in small teams under the supervision of a teacher of the minor or a partner organisation of the VU. They practice and develop lawyering skills while having immediate social impact. They gain hands-on experience of legal problems and directly engage in the practice of law. Through exposure to real-life applications of their lawyering skills, students are able to reflect critically on the role of law in society. Within the Justice and Legal Technology Clinic, students can choose from different tracks. In the academic year 2022/2023 the minor offers a Human Rights Investigation track, a De Facto Detention track and a Local Access to Justice track.

  • Legal and Professional Skills (6 ECTS)

    The Legal and professional skills course links writing and communication skills to the projects of the Justice and Legal Technology Clinics. Starting from their own projects students are trained in multiple approaches to writing in a variety of genres. At the end of the course, students are able to write both concise legal and scientific texts as well as share technical and general instructions with specific groups in a wider audience. Coupling technical and practical skills with reflections on the power of words and the relevance of discourse promotes an integrated approach. This allows critical reflections on the use and ethics of legal technology and its ethical consequences to become part of practical projects in a constructive way. This advances students’ ability to employ their communication and writing skills in a reflective way and put them to work in a variety of technical and practical settings.