One student: Luděk Plachký, in 2017. This has been so far the only trace of the UP Faculty of Law in the UP Endowment Fund. However, this is no longer the case. Luděk Plachký has been joined by Kateřina Augustinová, who persuaded the board of the fund this year with her application, and thanks to their financial support she can now work on her research project. She is focussing on improving knowledge of the law in children and youths.
“I feel greatly honoured for the received support, and at the same time, I am really looking forward to the project. I know this means a huge amount of work, it will be a really demanding year for me. I hope everything works out fine,” said Augustinová, a fifth-year student in Law, who already has a Bachelor’s degree in Law in Public Administration from the UP Faculty of Law.
Knowledge of the law is definitely not something new to her. In the long term, she has devoted herself to it beyond her study duties and will also deal with it in her Master’s thesis. “I am the manager of the Erudium project within the law studies association Nugis Finem. We give lectures at primary and secondary schools. I am in contact with students and pupils and I think that the level of their basic legal knowledge is often very low.” Her dissatisfaction with the current state of legal education and determination to do something about it became the main motivation for Augustinová to apply for a grant from the UP Endowment Fund. Veronika Tomoszková and Lucia Madleňáková from the UP Department of Administrative and Financial Law helped her with the application and the concept of the project.
The 25-year-old student has a year to meet her goals. She will first identify the main reasons why people seek legal aid. She will employ statistics and her own experience from Student Legal Counselling at the UP Faculty of Law. “According to the data, I will create a questionnaire which I will send to primary and secondary schools. I will consult the methodology with a sociologist.” She then plans to consult the findings with social sciences teachers and school headmasters. Their perspective, rooted in practical experience, will be invaluable to her. Then she will suggest possible solutions based on her findings. Eventually, in the final phase of her project, in early 2020, she is planning to organise a workshop for teachers to help them teach law more effectively.
“I think my project has ambition – the ambition to change something. Even if my work would only be the first impulse for another project, that would be good enough. A big success would also be to change the approach of at least several teachers,” added Augustinová.
But there is more to her project. She has committed herself to publishing academic articles and to participating in scientific symposia. She has already attended the ENCLE (European Network for Clinical Legal Education) conference in Bratislava, which took place in early July. “My goal was to meet Prof Elaine Hall of the University of Newcastle at the conference and to ask her for cooperation. I had the opportunity to see her at work already during my Erasmus stay. She is a leading world expert in clinical legal education. Thanks to Tomoszeks from our faculty, I have managed to arrange a one-month stay. I will work as her assistant in October,” said Augustinová. In December, she will travel to Indonesia to present the results of her project at a global conference on legal education.
This year, eight students from four faculties joined the elite club of students for whom the UP Endowment Fund has been creating favourable conditions in order to support their projects over the past five years. The fund distributed CZK 745,020 among them, of which Kateřina Augustinová received CZK 128,860.