Recently, while he was away in Somalia advising the Federal Ministry on Legal Aid, Professor David McQuoid-Mason of the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, received the good news that he had received an A2 grading from the National Research Foundation (NRF) for his world-wide work as a scholar in clinical legal education and access to justice.
The NRF rating system aims to build a globally competitive science system in South Africa; a valuable tool for benchmarking the quality of our researchers against the best in the world. A researcher in A2 group is recognised as a leading scholar in his field internationally for the high quality and impact of his recent research outputs.
Professor McQuoid-Mason is the President of the Commonwealth Legal Education Association (CLEA) which represents over 3 000 Law schools across the Commonwealth Nations
He has visited more than 130 countries and facilitated numerous training, curriculum and material development workshops on Clinical Legal Education, Street Law, Access to Justice, Human Rights and Democracy in a variety of countries.
In this regard he has worked with Street Law Inc, the Ford Foundation, the Open Society Institute, NORAD, DANIDA, the Commonwealth Secretariat and other organisations.
He acted as an International Scholar in the Academic Fellowship Programme to develop law curricula and teaching methods for Moldova in 2009-13, and Armenia for 2014-15.
McQuoid-Mason’s passion for ensuring that poor communities have access to the law have seen him providing his expertise in the drafting of legal aid legislation for countries such as Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Kenya.
He has also advised on the establishment of new and improvement of existing legal aid schemes, training paralegals, helping to develop paralegal advice offices, providing professional legal training, and conducting medical law workshops in South Africa, Africa and beyond.
He has published more than 160 articles in law and medical journals. He has written two books, co-authored 25 books and manuals, and contributed more than 60 book chapters.
He has delivered over 150 papers at national conferences and over 200 at international conferences. He also runs frequent workshops on clinical legal education and access to justice, medical law and human rights in different parts of the world.
‘I was somewhat surprised when I received the news because I am an expert in more than one speciality, whereas many of the most highly rated academics focus on more narrow areas of their speciality,’ said McQuoid-Mason.
‘Much of what I do is based on what I have learned from interacting with communities, students, government officials and professionals throughout the globe, and they should really take the credit for teaching me much of what I have used when trying to provide practical solutions to some of the world-wide challenges that arise in the fields of human in general, and in access to justice, legal aid, clinical legal education and medical law and ethics in particular,’ he added.
Words: Lungile Ngubelanga
Photograph: Albert Hirasen