Founded in 2007 as a student–driven initiative, the Afghanistan Legal Education Project at Stanford Law School (ALEP) develops innovative legal curricula to help Afghanistan’s universities train the next generation of lawyers and leaders. ALEP has developed an extensive law curriculum at the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) with strong support from the US Dept. of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement.
In 2012, ALEP was awarded a $7.2 million grant from the US Dept. of State to expand AUAF’s legal studies program into a Bachelor of Arts and Laws degree-granting program. Together, ALEP and AUAF established a Department of Law to administer the degree program and support the top-notch law faculty. There are currently over 260 students enrolled in AUAF’s law classes with many classes oversubscribed, attesting to the great need and demand for quality legal education in Afghanistan.
Since 2007, ALEP has published five textbooks, which are among the first to specifically address Afghanistan’s post-2004 legal system: An Introduction to the Laws of Afghanistan (3rd ed), Commercial Law (2nd ed), Criminal Law (2nd edition), Constitutional Law, and International Law from an Afghan Perspective. The books have been translated into the native Dari and Pashto languages and are available for free download online. Three additional textbooks- Professional Responsibility, Property Law, and the Law of Obligations- are currently in production.
True to its founding, Stanford students continue to play a vital role in ALEP’s success. After completing a rigorous introduction to development work through the State-Building and Rule of Law Workshop, students author textbooks under the direction of a faculty supervisor. They spend countless hours revising, hosting visiting professionals and holding symposia to improve the quality of the textbooks. Additionally, students build support for the program through site visits to Afghanistan, conferences, and fundraising initiatives.
(Philosophy of ALEP and the relationship of legal education to state-building and rule of law. Interview with Professor Erik Jensen, April 2013)