This year the ALRC hosted Clifton Meleu Ruele, Legal Officer from Samoa Law Reform Commission, for a professional development placement over a period of three weeks. Clifton joined the Samoa Law Reform Commission in October last year after completing his law studies at the University of the South Pacific. In Samoa, Clifton’s work is focussed on property and homicide offences under the review of the Penal Code.
During his time at the ALRC, Clifton participated in team meetings and workshops for the Native Title, Disability and Privacy Inquiries and gained an overview of our inquiry processes. Clifton also attended specific training sessions on research strategies and methodologies, developing proposals and recommendations and on the practical planning and management of inquiries.
Australasian Law Reform Agencies Conference (ALRAC)
The Australasian Law Reform Agencies Conference was held from 28–30 May 2014 in Apia, Samoa, hosted by the Samoa Law Reform Commission. The conference theme was Challenges of Law Reform in the Pacific, with a focus on customary law. Delegates from across the Pacific—including from Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea—attended the conference. The theme of the conference was particularly relevant to the ALRC’s current Inquiry into the Native Title Act 1993. Two legal staff from that Inquiry attended the conference and presented on both this Inquiry and the ALRC’s 1986 Inquiry into the Recognition of Customary Laws. The ALRC Project Coordinator also attended the conference and shared knowledge about inquiry management and consultation strategies at a specially convened Administrators and Support Staff session.
The Opening Address was given by the Prime Minister of Samoa. The Attorney-General of Samoa also presented and spoke about harmonising customary laws and western laws and about practical law reform strategies in the Pacific.
The conference was a valuable forum in which to share knowledge and experience about law reform with other agencies in the region. It also provided an opportunity to reconnect with staff from both the Solomon Islands and Samoa Law Reform Commissions who had spent time on professional development and capacity building secondments with the ALRC, as well as to build new relationships with others working in law reform.
The next ALRAC will be hosted by the Victorian Law Reform Commission in 2016.