From L-R: Mr Pryde, DPP; Professor Chandra, USP VC; Professor Paterson; Justice Gates; Professor Colvin; Professor Armstrong and Professor Coll, USP’s Deputy VCs.
The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) School of Law (SOL) launched three (3) publications during a special ceremony at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva on 16 November 2018.
His Lordship Anthony Gates, Chief Justice, officiated at the launch of Introduction to South Pacific Law by Jennifer Corrin & Professor Don Paterson; The World Trade Organisation Dispute Settlement Mechanism and the South Pacific Island Nation Participation by Dr. Wilfred Golman; and Criminal Law of Fiji by Professor Eric Colvin.
Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President said the essence of any university is the creation and dissemination of new knowledge via research and innovation, and USP is no different serving this unique and diversified region with provision higher education and quality research and innovation.
He said that while USP’s School of Law was not one of the founding Schools of the University, it was established half way through the life-span of the University, with a clear mandate of training persons for admission into the legal profession.
“If asked about research, the original planners would probably have said: the School should do what law schools have always done – shape the development of the law of the jurisdiction(s) in which they are placed by providing critical commentary on the existing state of law and the work of courts and legislatures – with the focus, in this instance, on the laws of the Pacific Island countries,” he stated.
“It is therefore a pleasure to see that these three (3) books are about Pacific law: two based generally on the Laws of the Pacific and one specifically on the Laws of Fiji,” he noted.
This he said, demonstrates how USP’s Law School is seeking to meet the needs of the region, which USP was established to serve.
He said that as USP looks beyond the 50th Anniversary, “the new Strategic Plan projects a significant expansion and enhancement of regional campuses and ensuring that they are integrated more with the University’s academic life. The School of Law has a special role to play with respect to this, as one of the two academic schools of the University that are located outside Fiji”.
According to Professor Chandra, its success including its capacity to generate quality research, presents a model from which the University as a whole can learn.
“It may seem ironic that a book on the Criminal Law of Fiji should be written by a staff member located in Vanuatu but it captures the essence of USP as a truly regional institution,” he added.
Dr Akanisi Kedrayate, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Law and Education congratulated the authors for their achievements saying it is a celebration as it is the first time that SOL is able to have a ceremony to launch their publications. She noted that a special feature was having the launch in Fiji and by the Chief Justice himself.
In his address, Chief Justice Gates said that it is important to value scholarship about law in the region. This means that books of these kind must be fostered, researched and debates on it be encouraged.
He noted that Professor Paterson’s book, now in its fourth edition, The Introduction to South Pacific Law, has been around for almost 20 years, clearly a book which started law studies for many students..
“Long may it continue with that concise purpose,” he stated.
On Dr Golman’s book, WTO Dispute Settlement Mechanism and the South Pacific Island Nation Participation, Justice Gates said it was indeed timely.
“The extension of international arbitration is another field demonstrating that we in the South Pacific Islands recognise that we are part of the mechanisms existing worldwide. This is important, it affects investors and traders,” he said.
“A shyness to embrace these systems and organisations is something we have to overcome,” he added.
On Professor Colvin’s Criminal Law of Fiji, Justice Gates said the book will assist prosecuting and defence authorities when dealing with elements to be proven and available defences.
“How often do we find that these matters are inadequately prepared for? As a result how the case is to be litigated, and worse how it is to be investigated can be flawed,” he noted.
Justice Gates added he was glad that Professor Colvin goes further and identifies areas which need reform.
“I hope the draftsmen and women and the authorities deciding what to reform take the recommendations in a good spirit. Working together scholars, judges, draftsmen, policy makers as well as the prosecuting and public defender fraternity can achieve the necessary and amicable discussions leading to beneficial change,” he added.
The launch was attended by Mr Christopher Pryde, Director of Public Prosecutions; Ms Laurel Vaurasi, Fiji Law Society President; Staff of the School of Law and Faculty of Arts, Law and Education.
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