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Pacific Islands Judges Will Begin Week of Legal Training

university of hawaii

From July 19 through July 25, there will be 15 Pacific Island judges in Honolulu for intensive training at the William S. Richardson School of Law, according to a press release from the University of Hawaii System. The training will be part of the Pacific Islands Legal Institute, which is provided by the Ninth Circuit Pacific Islands Committee.

The committee is made up of federal judges from the Judicial Council of the Ninth Circuit, which is based in San Francisco.

The program is financed by the United States Department of the Interior and it offers legal training to Pacific Island judges who do not hold law degrees. Multiple Pacific jurisdictions have judges who are prominent members of the community, but they have no legal background.

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Judges will receive training in rules of evidence. This will be taught by University of Hawaii Manoa Law Professor John Barkai. The judges will also visit courtrooms.

Minara Mordecai, the Director of Special Projects for Richardson Law School, said, “The judges coming to the institute are from Palau, American Samoa, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Marshall Islands. The judges never had a chance to attend law school so this training is intended to assist them learn together, and strengthen the rule of law in the Pacific.”

According to the release, Sally Pym, the Education Specialist for the Pacific Islands Judicial Program, said, “This program is funded by the Department of the Interior specifically for judicial education for the courts of the American territories and former American territories. The idea of the Institute is to replicate in an intensive way what a lawyer might get in training in the first year of law school. It gives them the basics. Some of the judges have served on the bench for many years and some are new. One of them has just been judging three months.”

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