School of Law

School of Law

June, 03, 2003 18:37 Age: 14 yrs

USP Law School academic attends meeting of the American Bar Association.

Category: Law News

USP Law School academic Associate Professor Peter MacFarlane attended the mid-year meeting of the American Bar Association and whilst there engaged in discussions with the Law School at the University of Washington, Seattle, United States.

During the first week of February 2003 Associate Professor Macfarlane attended the Mid-Year meeting of the American Bar Association. This meeting brings together over 4000 lawyers, judges and academics in the area of law and legal practice. The conference also brings together all the organisational arms of the ABA such as their Continuing Legal Education, Professional Responsibility, and Law and Technology sections. He also took some time to visit the Law School University of Washington.

There is an issue in the United States over the adoption of a set of Model Rules for professional practice. Codes of Ethics or Model Rules have always been regarded as an important ‘public interest’ protection so far as the practice of law is concerned. The United States has had a long history in this area, together with the teaching of legal ethics at law schools and research into the area. By way of contrast, here in Vanuatu, there is no Code of Ethics for lawyers and the law school does not have a discrete course in legal ethics.

Peter reported: "I hope to advance each of these issues, first by my participation in a committee established to review the Legal Practitioner’s Act (Vanuatu) and secondly by promoting the introduction of a course in legal ethics here at the law school. The American Bar Association were very supportive of both of these initiatives and offered assistance, not just in the form of personal contacts with those who have expertise in the area, but also practical support by way of books and materials."

Apart from the sessions dealing with professional practice, there was an interesting session entitled 50+ Hot legal PC tips, gadgets and Websites in 50 Minutes. As well as a discussion of useful websites for lawyers, there was an amazing display of the latest communication and computer technology. Peter's favourites were the new ‘Memory Stick and Pocket Drives’ (which you can also wear around your neck as a piece of jewelery!), wireless technology and a new lightweight super battery charger (like a mat that you just rest your mobile phone on). However his "absolute favourite" was the new ‘Solo Trek’; a personal flying device effective to 8000 feet with a speed of 70 knots! – just the thing to beat the Vila traffic! The cost of one of these is $45,000 (US).

The University of Washington has a fine reputation as a law school. They are about to occupy a new, purpose built building which Peter had the opportunity to tour. (Interestingly much of their communications is to be via a wireless network). The law school has a concentration centre in Asian law but is very interested in extending links with the South Pacific. Peter was able to talk to the relevant staff about student exchange programs, visiting staff fellowships and the development of closer ties between the two Universities. They displayed our USP LLM posters – and, according to Peter, they were impressed!.

Further details concerning the conference or links with the University of Washington can be obtained from Peter MacFarlane on email: macfarlane_p@vanuatu.usp.ac.fj.


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