Top legal minds from the Pacific gathered in Samoa this week.
They are here for the Pacific Islands Legal Officer’s Network (P.I.L.O.N.) workshop opened by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi on Thursday.
The workshop is funded by Australia and New Zealand.
Participants come from Vanuatu, Tonga, Solomon Islands and Samoa.
Justice of the Supreme Court of New Zealand, Sir William Young, Justice Mark Cooper of the High Court of New Zealand and Judge Carlo Shore of UN’s Tribunal were also present.
In addressing the meeting, Tuilaepa said advocacy is very important part of any democracy.
“To the participants, advocacy is an important part of any democracy and by exception an important part of any Justice System,” said Tuilaepa.
“We the islands pride ourselves in being able to speak as orators before our communities in our own language.
“You must also use that cultural pride to build your skills in the European courts and oversee the day to day life of our Pacific people.
“Your participation in this training will strengthen not only you as a professional, but also strengthen the Justice System of the countries that you call home.
“Our hope and prayer is that you will absorb all the lessons that members of the faculty will teach you in the coming days and then you will use those skills in your own land.
“For Samoa, one of the goals of our law and justice sector is promoting a safe, fair and justice Samoa, building capacity, litigation and skills in the court room is an important step towards achieving that goal.”
This is the second time Samoa has hosted this event.
Tuilaepa also acknowledged the support of New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs towards the training.
“This training is no small feat and it would not have been possible if not for the commitment of your two offices,” he said.
“Thank you also to the Chief Justice, Minister of Justice Administration of Samoa for agreeing to make available this office here at Mulinu’u for this training.
“This will allow the participants and faculty members to undertake the training in a court center which I understand is greatly beneficial to the participants.”