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Profession has a role to play in Pacific: LCA

Profession has a role to play in Pacific: LCA

The peak body representing Australian lawyers has welcomed the federal government's acknowledgement of the profession's role in the administration of law and justice in the Pacific region.

THE peak body representing Australian lawyers has welcomed the federal government’s acknowledgement of the profession’s role in the administration of law and justice in the Pacific region.

The Law Council of Australia’s comments come in the wake of the Government’s release of its “Framework for Law and Justice Sector Engagement in the Pacific”.

The document is designed to help Australia assist Pacific nations to strengthen the rule of law and protect human rights in the region.

The Framework emphasises the need for practical mechanisms to improve the coordination of Australia’s law and justice sector activities and their role in the Pacific.

Law Council president Glenn Ferguson welcomed the release of the Framework and said the Council was committed to working with the Government, law and justice agencies and aid organisations to improve the coordination of Australia’s engagement in the Pacific law and justice sector.

He said the Attorney-General’s International Pro Bono Advisory Group was a valuable means of providing input from the legal profession to assist in the coordination of Australia’s law and justice activities in the Pacific.

“The Law Council is able to provide information through that group on its involvement with the South Pacific Lawyers’ Association,” Ferguson said.

The South Pacific Lawyers’ Association represents law societies and bar associations from 15 Pacific nations and is actively supported by the Law Council, the New Zealand Law Society and the International Bar Association.

“The legal profession has an obligation to actively defend the rule of law and lawyers are effective weapons in the fight to promote law and justice in the Pacific region,” Mr Ferguson said.

Attorney-General, Robert McClelland and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Stephen Smith launched the new agenda in a bid to enhance government partnership with non-government organisation and the private sector to reduce duplication and enhance effectiveness.

The new framework provides a statement of the priorities and principles that will guide Australia’s work in the Pacific in the law and justice sector, McClelland said.

It includes working with Australia’s Pacific Island neighbours to develop approaches to law and justice appropriate to local circumstances and contexts, the government announced today.

Australia is committed to helping Pacific countries strengthen the rule of law and protect human rights, McClelland said.

“Effective law and justice promotes regional security, helps attract foreign investment and is critical to ensuring access to justice, particularly for the poor and vulnerable,” he said.

“Our assistance to the law and justice sector is vital to Australia’s broader development assistance objectives in the Pacific region,” Smith said.

In a speech in Canberra today, McClelland said a roundtable would look into how to improve law and justice in the Pacific.


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