Telei’ai Dr Lalotoa Mulitalo- 2017 Greg Urwin Awardee speaking at the launch of her book- “Legislative Drafting in the Pacific Context” at the University of Queensland’s TC Beirne School of Law in Australia on Friday (July 14). Picture: University of Queensland’s TC Beirne School of Law

July 20 2017- Telei’ai Dr. Lalotoa Mulitalo of Samoa recently completed her 2017 Greg Urwin Awards placement with the launch of a publication she wrote- “Legislative Drafting in the Pacific Context” at the University of Queensland’s TC Beirne School of Law in Australia on Friday (July 14).

Dr. Mulitalo is one of three outstanding Pacific islanders who received the 2017 Greg Urwin Awards earlier this year. The Awards provided recipients with opportunities to develop skills, experience and networks in their fields of expertise. Other awardees were Ms Etivina Lovo and Mr Vincent Lal.

A lawyer by profession, Dr. Mulitalo used her placement at the TC Beirne School of Law to develop Pacific focused legislative drafting guidelines  that she hopes will be used by drafters and law makers in creating relevant and suitable laws for Pacific island countries.

A former  Parliamentary Counsel to the Samoan Parliament, Dr. Mulitalo is an experienced drafter. She developed draft model laws for Pacific countries based on international conventions and agreement and led the drafting of the Legislative Drafting Handbook for Samoa.

We spoke to Dr. Mulitalo this week about  her newly launched publication.

PLP: How did the Greg Urwin Award assist you with your work on the publication- Legislative Drafting in the Pacific Context?
Dr. Mulitalo: I shall be eternally grateful to have been one of the awardees of 2017. The Award assisted me in many ways and gave me the opportunity to write about something I have always wanted to record, that Pacific Island laws must be drafted with local context in mind, that is the cultural setting, the custom values and so forth. Not all customs would be favourable in laws but they must be considered as this is the way of life of the people  for whom those laws are drafted.

PLP: What is next on your plan in sharing the publication with other countries?
Dr. Mulitalo: I have been invited to speak on the Guide at the Pacific Legislative Drafters Technical Forum that will be held in Nuku’alofa, Tonga from August 23-25. So I will be taking copies of the Guide for each Pacific Island Drafting Office, as this is the perfect forum to hand them out.

I hope this Guide will indeed go some way to contributing to the development of legislative drafting in the Pacific. I look forward to future developments and improvements and additions to this Guide by legal professionals and legislative drafters of the Pacific as we strive to seek suitable drafting techniques and principles.

The last six months have been busy for Dr. Mulitalo,  in June Dr. Mulitalo was appointed Executive Director of the Samoa Law Reform Commission.

The Greg Urwin Awards are a joint initiative of the Australian Government, through the Pacific Leadership Program (PLP) and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS).

The Awards were set up in 2008 to honour the memory of former Secretary General of PIFS and former Australian High Commissioner to Fiji, Samoa and Vanuatu, the late Mr Greg Urwin. Awardees receive financial support to undertake a three-month placement to enhance their experience and knowledge and contribute to development in the region.

A total of 24 emerging leaders from the region have completed placements under the Awards since its commencement in 2008 on issues including cancer research and palliative care, human rights advocacy, agriculture research, forensic accounting and biosecurity.

 

More pictures from the launch are available on the Pacific leadership Program’s Facebook page.