Born out of the clinical legal education movement, HRDI recognised the potential role of law clinics in the fight against injustice. Consequently, it works to increase the capacity of law clinics to realise their full potential within the domestic, regional and international spheres. 

Cooperation with university law clinics is thus central to our strategy. However, in countries where this has not been feasible, HRDI has instead decided to partner with human rights NGOs. Our partnership is based on equality, mutual accountability and transparency. Ours is NOT a donor/grantee relationship even though HRDI does make a financial contribution toward the clinic.

A further component of the partnership between HRDI and law clinics is a forum of directors/representatives of law clinics called the Partnership Forum. Here we engage in discussions, exchange ideas and strengthen our co-operation across countries, languages and legal systems. 

The Partnership Forum performs an important function within the HRDI operations. It is here that we jointly identify actual and potential problems that may impede the progress of the project, both at HRDI and at the partner institutions.

The Partnership Forum is in fact a nucleus for a formal and informal network of law clinics.