Twenty-nine USP law graduates were admitted to the Fiji Bar in an admission ceremony held at the Grand Pacific Hotel, Suva on Friday 12 March, 2021.
The ceremony was presided over by the Honourable Acting-Chief Justice, Justice Kamal Kumar.
All 29 newly admitted lawyers obtained their LLB (Bachelor of Laws) and PDLP (Professional Diploma in Legal Practice) from The University of the South Pacific’s School of Law and Social Sciences (SoLass).
USP Law lecturers Mr Nainendra Nand, Mr Josaia Waqaivolavola, Ms Anuleshni Neelta, Ms Barbara Malimali moved most of the admissions. Lawyers, Mr Pita Bulamainavalu and Ms Mele Rakai moved the admissions of their family members.
The ceremony was well attended by families and friends of the new lawyers who witnessed their loved ones take two solemn oaths, one for allegiance to the profession and the other to uphold the Constitution of the Republic of the Fiji Islands.
Speaking to the new lawyers, Justice Kamal Kumar reminded them of their oaths and the important role they play in the legal system.
“As Lawyers you will be entrusted to solve problems faced by members of our communities in terms of their properties, home, finances, business dealings and family matters. You will be called upon to defend and protect rights guaranteed to individuals under our Constitution and International Law. The judicial system has become an important part of your life. It is your duty as lawyers to get people treated fairly and grant them justice,” he said.
“You will be called upon to make decisions which will affect and change people’s life. You will be called upon to act in the best interest of your client. Your client will rely on your legal expertise or advice and of course pay you.”
“However, you must not forget the very basic fact that you, after being admitted to the Bar are Officers of the Court. You are therefore duty bound to adhere to the rules of the Court and Code of Conduct stipulated in the Legal Practitioners Act 2009 and towards the Court and fellow practitioners.
Ms Amele Adi Kuila Waqairawai was amongst the 29 graduates admitted to the Bar. She said it was a challenging five-year journey for her and she went through major life changing events leading to this day. Ms Waqairawai dedicated her success to her late father, Mr Tevita Waqairawai, who she recently lost.
“I’m thankful to have always had God with me because most of the times when I thought I was falling, my faith got me through,” she said.
Ms Waqairawai was admitted to the Bar by her uncle, Mr Pita Bulamainaivalu who spoke about her dedication and struggles through Law School and said he was proud to move her admission to the Bar.
The law students can only be admitted to the Bar to practice law after undergoing six months of intensive Professional Diploma in Legal Practice (PDLP) training.
The PDLP program trains law students on:
- Ethics & professionalism
- How to prepare wills and prepare court documents for probate
- How to conduct high level negotiation
- How to prepare documents for business transactions such as registration of companies and partnerships
- How to prepare documents for different aspects of conveyancing transactions such as mortgage/ transfers and sale and purchase agreement
- Civil litigation skills which involves preparation of court documents to institute civil proceedings
- How to conduct criminal trials and how to make applications for matters such as bail/ plea in mitigation
- How to prepare court documents for family law matters such as Divorce, Applications for Maintenance and Applications for Orders in Domestic Violence matters.
The PDLP Programme is undertaken by law students after they have successfully graduated from 4-year Law degree Programme.