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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Pacific Islands Forum awards nine legal drafting scholarships for Pacific students at USP

The Pacific Islands Forum has awarded nine full scholarships for the Professional Diploma in Legislative Drafting at the University of the South Pacific (USP).

The joint initiative by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the USP School of Law was announced this week by Forum Secretary General, Greg Urwin, and Head of USP’s School of Law, Professor Brian Opeskin.

The USP Legislative Drafting course will take on 16 Pacific island lawyers in 2007.

Mr Urwin said the 30-week programme is aimed at building the capacity of legal infrastructure within the region.

“It is extremely important to foster proficient skills in the preparation, passage and maintenance of appropriate legislation and regulations,” said Mr Urwin.

“As we strive to achieve principles of good governance, as mandated in the Pacific Plan, we must pursue improved transparency, accountability, equity and efficiency in the management and use of resources in the Pacific.”

Mr Urwin said the course therefore seeks to contribute towards accurately reflecting good governance principles into laws and regulations of Pacific island countries.

“This is a critical investment into development of a sustainable governance infrastructure in the region,” he added.

In addition to the scholarships, the Forum Secretariat will provide support and mentoring through its Legal Drafting Unit for the nine sponsored students.

Professor Opeskin said the course is an important qualification in legislative drafting, and commends the Forum Secretariat for its support.

“The course will equip participants with practical skills for translating government policies into clear and effective laws, concluding with an intensive drafting workshop.”

Professor Opeskin noted the Forum Secretariat scholarships for 2007 have been instrumental in ensuring that a larger number of Pacific island lawyers are able to benefit from the course.

Source: PIFS

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