FORMER FEDERAL Court judge, Marcus Einfeld QC called on the legal profession to use its skills to help rebuild countries affected by last year’s tsunami disaster.
He told delegates at the Australian Lawyers Alliance conference, held in the Blue Mountains recently, that senior lawyers are needed in Sri Lanka to train mediators to help resolve claims of people who have lost everything, including every piece of documentation they owned.
Einfeld, who is president of Australian Legal Resources International, a body of lawyers that supports developing countries, recently returned from Sri Lanka and the Maldives. “We are trying to set up a mediation service to resolve legal disputes and also to devise mechanisms by which those disputes can be settled,” he said.
“There are tens of thousands of claims ranging from people who have lost their income and can’t meet hire purchase payments for goods such as bicycles and other basic necessities, to people who are concerned that land they previously occupied will be handed over to developers.”
He said the situation required senior people — judges, former judges and senior lawyers — with standing and authority to get action out of the bureaucracies “in these very complicated societies”.