Stanford Law School just launched the Afghanistan Legal Education Project (ALEP) Web site. Here you find the ALEP Blog, links, and full-text of publications, including “Introduction to the Law of Afghanistan” and “Introduction to Commercial Law of Afghanistan.” Additional resources are planned for the future.
Afghanistan Legal Education Project
Founded in 2007, the Afghanistan Legal Education Project (ALEP) at Stanford Law School is dedicated to developing innovative legal curricula to help Afghanistan’s universities train the next generation of lawyers and leaders.
Afghanistan’s legal sector requires urgent attention. While other institutions are transitioning more quickly, reconstruction of the legal system lags behind. At the heart of this problem is a dire shortage of qualified lawyers. Because the assistance of skilled practitioners is crucial to the efforts of the people of Afghanistan to reconstitute their justice system, training the attorneys that will guide the rebuilding of Afghanistan is of chief importance. The students of today in Afghanistan are also the leaders of today, and familiarity with the justice system is essential for them to work in government, business, and virtually any other field.
In 2007-08, ALEP developed an introductory textbook on the laws of Afghanistan based on Afghanistan’s 2004 Constitution and current legal codes. It was the first legal textbook specifically on the law of Afghanistan created in the last thirty years. Afghan and international law experts reviewed the textbook at a symposium hosted by Stanford University and during a trip by the ALEP team to Kabul in March 2008. The textbook is the foundation of the first Legal Studies class at the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF).
Already, over fifty students have taken the class, which was taught by Professor Mohammad Haroon Mutasem, Vice Dean of the Faculty of Law and Political Science at Kabul University and Lecturer in Law at AUAF. The introductory text will be available for free in Dari and Pashto by August 2009.
A common refrain among the students enrolled in the introductory law class was that they want still more offerings. To that end, in 2008-09, ALEP has continued to refine the introductory textbook and has drafted two new textbooks—one on commercial law and the other on criminal law. The textbooks will be taught in two new courses at AUAF in the fall and spring semesters 2009-2010, forming the core requirements of a certificate in law from AUAF.
In addition to writing textbooks, the ALEP team is in constant contact with rule of law experts in the region and at home in the United States. The project has forged a close alliance with the Afghanistan Legal Educators project at the University of Washington, of which Professor Mutasem is a graduate. In the future, ALEP will continue to write and develop textbooks and teaching materials for free distribution to AUAF and around Afghanistan