Himalayan Field School Program

Kathmandu School of Law (KSL) in partnership with University of Sydney, Australia has been conducting two weeks course on Law and Development since 2010. KSL had earlier collaborated on an AusAID-funded project to strengthen human rights in the criminal justice system in Nepal. KSL was involved in the design of the course and its delivery in Nepal, bringing the benefits of local expertise as well as enabling 15 Nepalese law students to participate in the course. 

The field school program aims to acquaint students from University of Sydney, Nepalese legal system, providing in depth knowledge on economic, social and development rights, rule of law and  constitutionalism. The students will also get an opportunity to learn the Nepalese cultural and experience rural life from the field visit at Melamchi and Pokhara. Apart from this the program is also scheduled for the visit at Constituent Assembly, UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, ICRC, National Human Rights Commission, UNDP & UNICEF Office.
Total of 30 students from Faculty of Law, University of Sydney and 10 students from KSL are participating in this program.

In this context, the Field School was designed to expose Australian law students to the role and limits of law in addressing acute problems of human development. It adopted an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the complexity of development, drawing on International law and Nepalese law, as well as on disciplines such as human geography, environmental and urban studies, economics, peace and conflict studies, religion, history and politics. The course also explored various critiques of development. The curriculum explored a range of inter-connected themes, starting with the transition from conflict to peace after a Maoist insurgency and the end of the monarchy, and efforts to draft a new constitution and build a new political and legal system. The course also investigated efforts to bring to justice the perpetrators of human rights abuses, while maintaining a fragile peace. 

In exploring the practice of development in Nepal, the course considered the protection of socio-economic rights (including food, water, housing and livelihoods), and the impact of development projects on natural resources, human livelihoods, and environmental protection. 

Particular attention was paid to the experiences of minority groups (such as indigenous peoples, ‘tribals’, and dalits – untouchables in the caste system), women and children in the context of traditional social norms, and vulnerable outsiders such as Tibetan and Bhutanese refugees. In learning about these issues, the Field School utilized innovative teaching methods, which encouraged creative thinking about the linkages between law, development and human rights. The traditional lectures delivered by Sydney and KSL academics, and extensive readings, were supplemented by a program of site visits and field trips. 

The sessions of the program are facilitated by faculties from KSL namely Prof. (Dr.) Yubaraj Sangroula. Prof. Geeta Pathak Sangroula. Asst. Prof. Kapil Aryal. Mr. Prem Chandra Rai. Mr. Sudeep Gautam and faculty from University of Sydney Dr. Ben Saul. Prof. David Kinley and Ms. Irene Baghoomians.