New President for Samoa Law Society

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu 25 May 2018, 12:00AM

Leiataualesa Komisi Koria is the Samoa Law Society’s (S.L.S.) new President. 

A Partner at Clarke Ey Koria Lawyers, Leiataualesa specialises in Court litigation and advisory work across a wide range of sectors including tourism, manufacturing and financial services.

Su’a Hellene Wallwork, who was President last year, was elected Vice President. 

The S.L.S. Treasurer is Seuamuli Sarona Ponifasio while Rebecca Schuster is the Secretary. 

The S.L.S. council members are Diana Roma, Vaipou Fetuliai Lagaaia, Edelma Niumata and Attorney General, Lemalu Herman Retzlaff, who is a non-voting member. 

Leiataualesa, in response to questions from the Samoa Observer, said the newly-elected executive council has been working to identify areas where it can provide valuable support to the membership of the Law Society this year. 

“The council’s work-plan for 2018/2019 is based on the specific areas that have been given priority, including the provision of training and continuing legal education for members, the review of the existing rules guiding the practice of law in Samoa and putting in place programmes to assist members to comply with the various requirements under our guiding legislation.” 

According to the newly-elected president, the executive council intends to implement its work plan over the next 12 months and looks forward to working with its members, stakeholders and partners to make this possible. 

Last month, Supreme Court Justice Leiataualesa Darryl Clarke expressed concerns about the poor effort being made with regards to legal citation among lawyers appearing before his Court.

Legal citation is the practice where lawyers credit authoritative documents and sources, such as Court decisions (cases), statutes, regulations, government documents, treaties, and scholarly writing.

From the bench, Justice Leiataualesa reminded lawyers about their vital role when they appear before the Court. Leiataualesa, as new President, welcomes feedback from the Judges. 

Responding to questions from the Samoa Observer, the S.L.S. President said for members of the Law Society, all feedback from the Judiciary on how Court cases are conducted is extremely valuable. 

“The specific concerns referred to here were addressed to a small number of legal practitioners and forms a small part of the feedback that our members generally receive from the Judiciary. 

“The Council, however, has given this due consideration and welcomes all such input from our Judges,” explained Leiataualesa. 

According to the Clarke Ey Koria Lawyers, where Leiataualesa is a partner, his area of specialty include domestic and international taxation, criminal and civil litigation, offshore finance regulation, international trade law and government law. 

Leiataualesa is known for his client service and commitment. His mix of private sector know-how and public law experience means he can create practical solutions for clients in a commercial and government context. 

Before joining the firm in 2016, Leiataualesa headed the Legal Division of the Ministry for Revenue for six years. 

In that capacity, Leiataualesa was the Government’s chief tax law adviser providing legal advice on tax and customs law and administration, tax incentives and international commitments under the W.T.O. and O.E.C.D.”

Leiataualesa played a key role in major legislative revisions and simplifications of Samoa’s income tax, customs and V.A.G.S.T. regimes.

Leiataualesa also has extensive experience as a criminal prosecutor during a six-year period with the Office of the Attorney General. He has conducted complex litigation in Samoa’s superior and appellate Courts, with particular emphasis on fraud and dishonesty offences.

Leiataualesa is a member of the disciplinary committees for the Samoa Law Society and Football Federation Samoa and Honorary Solicitor for the National Kidney Society. He is a team leader (youth group) and Sunday school teacher at the Fa’atoia E.F.K.S. Church.

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu 25 May 2018, 12:00AM
Samoa Observer

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