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From left, Russ Mathieson, Ninth Circuit office executive; Minara Mordecai, UH law school special projects director; Dennis K. Yamase, Supreme Court of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) chief justice; Marie Milks, UH law school lecturer; and Belan Yoma, FSM Supreme Court national justice ombudsman. (Photo courtesy of the William S. Richardson School of Law)

The William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa will offer legal training for another two years through a contract that brings judicial education to jurists throughout the Pacific, and also hosts them in Honolulu for intensive week-long sessions.

The program covers topics ranging from criminal law to judicial ethics and decision-making, to traditional land rights and evidence. It is part of the Pacific Islands Legal Institute administered by the Ninth Circuit Pacific Islands Committee, with funding provided by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

The committee is charged with the judicial education of judges to enhance the rule of law across the Pacific. While judges are prominent members of their communities, many do not have formal legal training.

The first of five sessions was held recently in Pohnpei with 22 judges from the region, including the Federated States of Micronesia (Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei and Kosrae), Marshall Islands, Palau and American Samoa. Training was on judicial ethics and professional responsibility.

UH law school special projects director Minara Mordecai oversaw the training; teaching was done by retired Hawaiʻi Circuit Court Judge Marie Milks, a lecturer at the law school.

“This program creates a connection between the law school and the Pacific Islands,” said Mordecai. “Not only are we offering the judges training in the legal field, but we’re also rekindling cultural and social ties between Hawaiʻi and other Pacific Island communities.”

For more information, go to the UH law school website.

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