Be­come trusted lawyers: Gates

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The Uni­ver­sity of the South Pa­cific’s ( USP) School of Law (SOL) held the grand fi nale of its Moot­ing Com­pe­ti­tion at the High Court in Suva, Fiji on last Tues­day.

Judges that presided over the fi­nal were Jus­tice Wil­liam Calan­chini, Pres­i­dent of the Court of Ap­peal, Jus­tice David Al­fred and Jus­tice Riyaz Hamza. Dur­ing the prize-giv­ing cer­e­mony at Café 30 in Suva, SOL’s se­nior lec­turer Wil­fred Gol­man ac­knowl­edged the pres­ence of Chief Jus­tice An­thony Gates, judges and se­nior law prac­ti­tion­ers. He thanked the Fi­jian Ju­di­ciary for their sup­port in lend­ing the premises (High Court no.1) for the fi­nal to be con­ducted suc­cess­fully. Jus­tice Calan­chini said the law stu­dents did a very good job con­sid­er­ing it was their first time in a for­mal court room. “I un­der­stand how ner­vous you might have been and how ap­pear­ing be­fore three High Court judges can be dif­fi­cult but you han­dled the ques­tions very well. You each demon­strated a cer­tain amount of nerve when you first started but as your ar­gu­ment pro­ceeded you be­came more firm,” Jus­tice Calan­chini told the stu­dents. Chief Jus­tice An­thony Gates ad­vised the stu­dents to be­come lawyers who can be trusted. “When do­ing pri­vate prac­tice you will need to mas­ter ad­vo­cacy, writ­ing, draft­ing and of course, your ad­vice to clients. You will also have to do a lot of read­ing,” he en­cour­aged.

Th­ese, he said, are dif­fi­cult things to mas­ter. “All those things you learned from uni­ver­sity are not go­ing to help you in pri­vate prac­tice un­less you have the dili­gence and hu­mil­ity to mas­ter the nuts and bolts of the le­gal pro­fes­sion – lit­i­ga­tion, and even sim­ple things like debt col­lec­tion as many of the claims in court are es­sen­tially about peo­ple chas­ing money,” Jus­tice Gates said.

Jus­tice Gates said it was im­por­tant to note that when in court, lawyers had to know what they were talk­ing about.

“It is not easy, you have to pre­pare your­self well. You will need to per­suade the court and you must have facts at your fin­ger­tips,” he said.

Jus­tice Gates told stu­dents that if they were se­ri­ous about be­com­ing lawyers, they should be ready to com­mit them­selves to a lot of hard work and prepa­ra­tion.

Photo: Uni­ver­sity of the South Pa­cific

Chief Jus­tice An­thony Gates (left), presents the prize to the fi­nal­ists of the Uni­ver­sity of the South Pa­cific School of Law Moot­ing Com­pe­ti­tion.

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