17th A-G Conference Signals Hope For All Fijian Lawyers

This is an edited version of Nemani Delaibatiki’s  My Say in FBC TV’s 4 The Record programme last night.   This weekend was a weekend of great ideas and hope
14 Dec 2015 12:33
17th A-G Conference Signals Hope For  All Fijian Lawyers
InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa.

This is an edited version of Nemani Delaibatiki’s  My Say in FBC TV’s 4 The Record programme last night.


This weekend was a weekend of great ideas and hope for the more than 400 lawyers who attended the 17th Attorney-General’s Conference at the Intercontinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa at Natadola.

The conference was aptly called ‘Law at the Cutting Edge’.

The high number of young legal practitioners, both women and men, who attended made this a special conference. Gone were the days when the legal fraternity was dominated by grey-haired men from a particular ethnicity. I would say there was fair representation of women and greater racial mix. Don’t get me wrong, I am not looking at the conference purely on the basis of the two issues.

Lest we forget, the turnout at the weekend and the interaction and engagement on a number of issues was healthy and productive.

When we talk about equal citizenry, this is what it’s all about, people of common professional interests coming together to share and discuss ideas on equal grounds.

The interest showed by the high attendance of young lawyers, augers well for the future. These are our future leaders and their involvement prepares them to face the challenges that lie ahead.

As the A-G said, law is not just about representing a client in court. That is part of it. A lot of work also happens outside of a court. In fact a lot of developments today involve law. There are legal implications to almost everything we do just as there is a cost to every decision. There is a cost to progress.

The conference looked at a number of topics. Mr Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum described them as accletic, meaning they are not the normal run of the mill stuff we regularly talk about. Someone had actually asked him whether the topics were relevant to law.

The topics included deconstructing construction, planes, drones and open skies, asylum, refugees and borders, reptiles, insects and zoonosis, evasion, avoidance and compliance, footprints and cyber security.

Of course, all these are part of law.  This may be new frontiers for many of our lawyers. But they all offer opportunities for legal work outside of the court and they can be financially rewarding.

When some lawyers say there is not enough work to go around it is because they have not ventured into new territory. The conference should open their minds that there are many opportunities out there. There is plenty of work available in the private sector. Lawyers need to think outside of the box, become proactive and innovate to capitalise on these opportunities.

It requires them to prepare themselves, learn and know the areas they want to go into.

The A-G talks about one or two lawfirms that have started websites are doing pretty well for themselves.

Lawyers need to register themselves with institutions like Trade Investment Fiji and

Film Fiji and make themselves known.

From tax laws to aviation and biosecurity any developments there would require lawyers.  Tax avoidance, evasion and compliance was discussed in-depth. The message that came out was that lawyers should give clients proper advice. There are cases where it would be better to resolve them outside of court than proceed with litigations.

The issue of asylum, refugees and borders offer new opportunities. If our friends from Kiribati relocate to Vanua Levu in the event of their islands disappearing underneath the sea because of climate change, what would be their status here. The legal ramifications are huge.

Another issue is how we deal cyber crime. Some Fijian companies have lost thousands of dollars because of cyber crime. Again this is another area that needs exploring in law. How can we protect our people from it.

As we move into the future these are relevant issues that we cannot ignore.

For our lawyers, it provides them with opportunities to practice their craft.

Edited by: Nemani Delaibatiki



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