What We Do

The Afghanistan Legal Education Project emerged in 2007 at Stanford Law School as a student-led initiative to produce legal textbooks and legal curriculum focused on Afghanistan’s current laws, with the aim of contributing to the effort to rebuild the country’s institutions. ALEP’s first initiative involved partnering with American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) in Kabul to produce a legal textbook of secular laws, setting them out in systematic order and providing insight into the ways in which they interact with Islamic and customary laws.

ALEP has published six textbooks, which are among the first to specifically address Afghanistan’s post-2004 legal system: An Introduction to the Law of Afghanistan (3rd Edition), Commercial Law (2nd Edition), Criminal Law (2nd Edition), Constitutional Law, International Law from an Afghan Perspective, and Law of Obligations. Legal experts in Afghanistan and abroad rigorously vet all of ALEP’s textbooks before publication. The ALEP team will soon publish its seventh and eighth textbooks, Property Law and Professional Responsibility, both of which will be available by Spring 2015. All of ALEP’s publications are available online for free use and distribution (click on the “Publications” link above). Most have already been translated into Dari and Pashto; all outstanding translations are forthcoming.

In addition to textbooks, ALEP has published professional English translations of two of Afghanistan’s most fundamental laws, the Civil Code and the Commercial Code, and a selection of Afghan Supreme Court cases.

Based on ALEP’s past success, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement awarded ALEP a $7.2 million dollar grant in 2012. Working collaboratively, ALEP and AUAF established a Department of Law at the AUAF Kabul campus and developed a Bachelor of Arts and Laws degree (BA-LLB) program accredited by the Afghan Ministry of Higher Education. The BA-LLB Program is training Afghan students to become professional lawyers and future leaders.

Why We Do It

The people of Afghanistan have established a democratic government through competitive elections. Afghanistan’s 2004 Constitution guarantees human rights and the free exercise of all religions, and provides women with equal protection under the law. Yet much work is still needed to institutionalize the rule of law in Afghanistan.

ALEP students graduate with analytical skills and familiarity with Afghanistan’s legal system. Their problem-solving skills will carry through to their work in both the public and private sectors, enabling them to tackle Afghanistan’s most vexing problems. Moreover, ALEP hopes to create “informed consumers” of Afghan law who are not afraid to use the legal system for dispute resolution and further legitimize the role of courts in Afghanistan’s future.

Who We Are

A dedicated team of Stanford Law School students author ALEP’s textbooks and manage day-to-day operations.  They coordinate with the talented law faculty at AUAF, who make the textbooks come alive in the classroom. ALEP’s Advisors are Erik Jensen (Faculty Director of Stanford Law School’s Rule of Law Program and Professor of the Practice of Law) and Megan Karsh (Executive Director of Stanford’s Rule of Law Program).

To learn more about ALEP, visit the “People” page of our website.