Empowering law students in the Pacific Islands

The Pacific Islands are famous for their stunning landscapes, but they are also some of the poorest and most vulnerable places in the world, being prone to natural disasters and the effects of climate change. They face severe structural impediments to sustainable development, including weak human and institutional capacities, low and unequally distributed income and scarcity of financial resources. To assist in supporting these communities, we have partnered with the University of South Pacific (USP) to provide legal education to law students from Pacific Island nations.

Using experiential learning methods, we provide practical training to law students to improve their legal knowledge and foundational skills. The training aims to increase knowledge of the rule of law, legal drafting skills and client interviewing techniques to prepare law students for the workforce. Each program involves two or three lawyers travelling to USP campuses in Fiji and Vanuatu and teaching groups of 20-30 law students from across the region.

We work with USP to empower the next generation of lawyers with strong legal skills to establish and further pro bono practices in their home countries. The project aims to advance the rule of law and foster the next generation of social justice lawyers by showing students how to improve access to justice and set up pro bono projects in their local communities.

Impact

Several the students we have taught have gone on to work in government roles and in private practice. Building the capacity of these law students not only strengthens the future legal profession, but also governments, which in turn supports the economic development of these Pacific Island nations and their communities, enabling these individuals to bring about positive change in the future.