A total of 45 law graduates from The University of the South Pacific (USP) were admitted to the Fiji Bar in a ceremony held at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva last month.
The ceremony was presided over by the Honourable Acting Chief Justice, Justice Kamal Kumar.
All 45 newly admitted lawyers obtained their Bachelor of Laws (LLB) and Professional Diploma in Legal Practice (PDLP) from USP’s School of Law and Social Sciences (SoLass).
Families and friends of the new lawyers were present for the ceremony, which saw their loved ones take two solemn oaths, one for allegiance to the profession and the other for support of the Constitution of the Republic of the Fiji Islands.
Justice Kamal Kumar reminded them of their oaths and their vital role in the legal system when speaking to the new lawyers.
“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.
“However, you must not forget the fundamental fact that you, after being admitted to the Bar, are Officers of the Court. Therefore, you are 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,” added Justice Kumar.
Director of the Professional Legal Training Programme, Mr Nainendra Nand stated the COVID-19 pandemic had posed a significant challenge for lawyers this year.
“Due to COVID-19, we had to teach this course online, whereas this course has always been face-to-face. However, I must add that the children did an excellent job of coping,” he stated.
Mr Aneet Kumar was one of 45 graduates who was admitted to the Bar.
He claimed it had been a difficult five years for him, with notable life-changing events leading up to this day.
Mr Kumar owes his achievement to his parents and siblings, who were his most incredible supporters.
“I’m grateful to have always had God beside me because my faith got me through most of the occasions when I believed I was falling,” he said.
Mr Kumar was admitted to the Bar by Rahkel Mercy, USP’s Vice-Chancellor and President’s Executive Officer, who spoke about Mr Kumar’s devotion and hardships during law school and expressed her pride in moving his admission to the Bar forward.
Mele Atasa Aleamotua of Tonga was ecstatic to have completed her PDLP. She is eager to return to her homeland and serve.
She described living here for the previous two years and six months as “wonderful” because she met new people and gained experience.
She owes all of her accomplishments to her PDLP classmates, who were incredibly supportive during her time away from home.
“They made Fiji and learning here better. Even when I wanted to leave, my course coordinators were always encouraging because I wanted to go home, especially in the first few weeks but they urged me to stay,” Aleamotua explained.
Law students can only be admitted to the Bar after undergoing six months of intensive Professional Diploma in Legal Practice (PDLP) training. Law students undertake the PDLP programme after they have successfully graduated from a four-year Law Degree programme.