The Clinic for Public Defender's Office


About Us

The Public Defender Clinic is operated in cooperation with the Haifa Office of Israel Public Defender. The clinic is run by two staff attorneys of the Haifa Public Defender office, and the law students are teamed with public defenders and assist them in representing suspects and defendants in a variety of criminal proceedings. This full-year course combines academic theory and fieldwork consisting of representing clients in Public Defender cases. Both aspects of the course are designed to complement each other so as to broaden the students' understanding of criminal law and procedure and of the special legal needs of the Public Defender clients, mainly indigents, mentally ill, and juvenile clients. Among the clients of the Public Defender Office one can find many new immigrants, disabled persons and members of ethnic and religious minorities. Until the founding of the Israel Public Defender Office, a unit of the Ministry of Justice, in 1995, these social groups suffered from limited access to justice. The students of the clinic become part of the broader social mission to expand and to improve the representation of the underprivileged, leading to greater social equality. The academic topics include: right to counsel, discovery, plea-bargaining, adequate representation, representation of the mentally ill and paternalism, conflict of interests, interaction with witnesses for the prosecution, the duties of the defense attorney and the duties of the prosecutor and wrongful convictions. A special emphasis is given to the application of the rules of professional conduct in ethical dilemmas typically encountered by defense attorneys. The students visit an incarceration facility and a closed psychiatric ward. The clinic will be taught in conjunction with a seminar offered by Prof. Oren Gazal-Eyal, a law faculty member, where the students can engage in research about related issues.

Clinic Staff

sharon1 Adv. Sharon Ringer


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