Pacific Island judges at Law School for intensive week of trainingUniversity of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Media Consultant, William S. Richardson School of Law
Fifteen Pacific Island judges will be in Honolulu during July 19-25 for a week of intensive training at the William S. Richardson School of Law as part of the Pacific Islands Legal Institute administered by the Ninth Circuit Pacific Islands Committee.
The committee is composed of federal judges of the Judicial Council of the Ninth Circuit, headquartered in San Francisco.
This specialized program – financed by the U.S. Department of the Interior – is designed to provide legal training to Pacific Island judges who do not have law degrees. In several Pacific jurisdictions prominent community members sit as judges, but they may not have legal backgrounds.
As part of the Institute, the judges will receive training in the rules of evidence taught by UH Mānoa Law Professor John Barkai, and they also will visit courtrooms in Hawai‘i. The Institute has been organized by the Ninth Circuit’s Pacific Islands Committee chaired by The Honorable Consuelo B. Marshall, who will also be in attendance.
“The judges coming to the institute are from Palau, American Samoa, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Marshall Islands,” said Minara Mordecai, Director of Special Projects for Richardson Law School.
“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.”
The Ninth Circuit is responsible for providing judicial training to judges in the Pacific islands.
“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,” said Sally Pym, Education Specialist for the Pacific Islands Judicial Program.
“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,” said Pym. “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.”
This is the first time Richardson Law School has partnered directly with the Ninth Circuit to offer training for Pacific Island judges, and the hope and expectation is to continue the partnership with additional training sessions in the future.