THE LAW Council of Australia cemented strong ties with the Fiji Law Society last weekend, with both legal bodies signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), recognising their mutual interests in the law.
Law Council president-elect Tim Bugg, who signed the MoU in Fiji, said “The Law Council prides itself on the relationships it has built with law societies and bar associations in the Asia-Pacific region”.
Since 1985, the Law Council has signed ten memoranda of understanding with international law societies and bar associations, the most recent being with the Malaysian Bar Council in 2000. Other bodies to sign MoUs with the Law Council include the All China Lawyers Association, the Law Society of Thailand and the Japan Federation of Bar Associations.
In 2005, the Law Council assisted the Fiji Law Society in opposing the Government of Fiji’s Promotion of Reconciliation, Tolerance and Unity Bill. The Bill sought to introduce a South Africa-style truth and reconciliation commission regarding the George Speight coup of May 2000, but critics charged it divided the country with little prospect of ‘unity’ between indigenous and Indian Fijians. The Law Council voiced grave concerns about the Bill and backed calls from the Law Society of Fiji for it to be abandoned.
The MoU with the Law Council recognised the two nations’ mutual support of the rule of law and the development of the legal profession’s role throughout the world, said Bugg. “This MoU illustrates the bonds we have established with our counterparts in Fiji, and the strong working relationship we currently enjoy. [It] recognises the growing importance of trade and other ties between the two nations, and will assist in strengthening the friendship and exchanges between lawyers in Australia and Fiji.”
The Law Council of Australia represents the Australian legal profession at the national level, and aims to promote the administration of justice, access to justice and general improvement of the law.