There is nothing so practical as good theory
– Kurt Lewin
There has been little work done in theorizing public legal education. What work there is has focused on the legal theory underpinning much PLE practice. Gander’s master’s thesis, The Radical Promise of Public Legal Education in Canada, raises questions about the impact on legal positivism in inhibiting the realization of the more radical goals of early PLE practitioners.
Whether we realize it or not, everything we do is grounded is some assumptions about how things work. The more understanding we have of the basis for our actions, the more insights we can gain about what works, what doesn’t, and why. That in turn enables us to improve our practice and the impact that we have.
Because PLE is a multi-disciplinary field, we are influenced by and can, in turn, influence a number of theoretical. These are not discrete areas of theory. They not only overlap, they impact each other.
Capability theory is a concept that has its origins in economic theory. It became part of the progressive discourse as a result of nobel prize scholar, Amartya Sen. Law for Life (formerly PLEINet) in the United Kingdom explicitly grounded its work in the concept of capability as expounded by Amartya Sen. It is also cited in the work of organizations such as the Ontario Justice Education Network in Canada and the Law and Justice Foundation of New South Wales in Australia.
Documents of Interest: PLE Theory