FREEDOM OF the press played a vital role in upholding the rule of law, but was only effective when backed by an independent and committed legal system, lawyer Stephen Kenny told delegates to the recent LAWASIAdownunder2005 conference.
Speaking at the plenary session on ‘Law and Politics’, Kenny said he believed the most important factor in maintaining the rule of law was an “impartial and independent judiciary backed by an active and alert community of lawyers”.
Kenny, who represented Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks, said he was proud of the role Australian lawyers, and particularly the Law Council of Australia, had played in upholding the rule of law through work they took on behalf of refugees and the “thousands of hours” of pro bono work done in Australia each week.
Well known ABC/Radio Australia Pacific correspondent, Sean Dorney, also addressed the session and told delegates lawyers and judges could do a lot for young journalists in the Pacific. “Legal issues can get very complex and if lawyers and judicial officers provided young reporters in these island countries with more advice and guidance I am sure the quality of the reporting would improve,” he said.