SNC – held on 23-08-2014 – Press Release
The School of Law hosted the Second National Conference on CPD in Law on Saturday 23rd August 2014 at its campus in Lahore with the aim of ‘Operationalizing CPD in Pakistan’.
It focused on the following thematic areas:
- The State of Legal Education in Pakistan necessitating CPD
- Case-Studies from other Jurisdictions (i.e. Comparison with other jurisdictions as to how they have accommodated and adopted the practice of CPD in their legal systems)
- Developments in other developed/neighbouring countries as regards CPD
- Role and Responsibilities of CPD providers (such as institutions and employers)
- Faculty Management and Curriculum Development
- Quality Assurance Mechanism (i.e. how and who will/should ensure quality)
- Operationalizing CPD for Lawyers in Pakistan
This year, the conference attracted a number of members of the Punjab, Sindh and KPK Bar Councils, as well as members of the Lahore High Court Bar Association Legal Education Committee. The speakers comprised of highly qualified leading lawyers and academics of Pakistan.
The panel of speakers included:
- Mr. Akhtar Ali Nahki Khan – Vice Chairman, KPK Bar Council
- Mr. Amar Naseer – Director Legal and Company Secretary at Unilever Pakistan Limited
- Mr. Syed Bulent Sohail – Vice President of CLE Institute of Pakistan
- Ms. Zarmeeneh Rahim – Founding Editor of ‘The Counsel’ Magazine
- Barrister Ahmed Uzair – Partner at law Firm and Visiting Faculty Member University College Lahore
The Vice Chairman of KPK Bar Council Mr. Akhtar Ali Khan Nahki discussed the importance of CPD in urban and rural Judicial Districts and the lack of facilities available in respect of CPD. He stressed on the idea that regular workshops should be arranged to improve communication skills and introduce tolerance within the legal sector in Pakistan.
Mr. Amar Naseer focused on In-House Counsels and that they are an integral part of the management team in any progressive and growth oriented organization. He said that general knowledge and awareness of critical issues and current affairs is critical to survive in a professional in house environment, in which case the CPD programs are the springboard for the In-house lawyers to stay abreast, add value to the growth of the enterprise, create meaningful interface with the external counsel and for self development. Lastly, he emphasized that CPD Programmes need quality and under Continuing Legal Education Institute of Pakistan and Law School collaboration, they could be developed into a meaningful, effective and cost efficient continuing professional exercise.
Mr. Bulent Sohail started by laying stress on the importance of CPD. He said that CPD touches the very heart and spirit of the responsibility to represent clients’ interests to her “utmost learning and ability” and CPD can effectively discharge this fundamental responsibility because of the way in which it is designed. According to him, it may take several years for or even several decades for CPD to become a regular part of our system. He reiterated the proposals made in the SOL Resolution on CPD signed at the First National Conference on CPD in Law on 31st August 2013 which included amongst others, having Bar Councils play a vital role in the supervision of CPD and employers encouraging employees, and even sponsoring them at times to take CPD courses. He concluded by discussing the steps CPD providers like SOL could take in terms of faculty management and curriculum development and encouraged that experts be involved in the development of the CPD courses for sake of credibility of such initiatives. SNC papers
Ms. Zarmeeneh Rahim provided an insightful case study on CPD as in the US and discussed how they have accommodated and adopted the practice of CPD in their legal systems. She gave solutions as to how to overcome the challenges faced as regards CPD. Because of the vast difference in the quality of education, those who can afford, only they attain good quality education. This in turn, not just affects the lawyers but the system as well. She put forward the idea of incubators which are similar to a bar vocational course to be especially designed for fresh graduates and low income families. She said that if incubators are implemented properly, they can prove to be a success in Pakistan as they were in the US.SNC papers
Barrister Ahmed Uzair spoke about quality assurance mechanism that ought to be in place for CPD to be operationalized in Pakistan. He explained the role that CPD plays to raise the standard of professionalism of lawyers by updating their knowledge and improving skills, and said that this was only possible with appropriate regulatory framework. He laid emphasis on the fact that Bar Councils and Legal Education Providers need to work together to raise the standards of the Bar. He added that Pakistan Bar Council can devise the courses and guidelines and set up appropriate accreditation requirements through a central CPD Board. Experienced layers can be requested to teach these programs while others can participate as moderators or judge law competitions, mock trials and moot court arguments. He concluded by stating that there needs to be significant groundwork done before CPD can be made mandatory and Pakistan Bar Council needs to play a central role in encouraging the development of CPD in Pakistan and to ensure its quality in the long run.SNC papers
The Vice Principal of School of Law, Ms. Nida Mahmood shared with the participants Sol’s vision as regards CPD and summarized the CPD initiatives that SOL had undertaken in the academic year 2013-14 in furtherance of its commitment envisaged in Sol Resolution on CPD. She was especially pleased to share with the participants SOL’s innovative learning concept called ‘Knowledge Café’ inspired by Pak Tea House, where students and/or guest speakers with inspiring life stories sit together over tea and snacks to discuss issues of topical interest and current affairs. The idea is to promote mutual and consultative participatory process of learning instead of a dictatorial form of teaching. Ms. Nida then announced the upcoming CPD lectures, workshops and initiatives that SOL will be a part of in the academic year 2014-15. In her address, she also revealed SOL’s work on the draft CPD Bill that will be needed in order to implement and operationalize the CPD regime in Pakistani legal structure.
Mr. Hammad Altaf Khan is working in association with the School to draft the proposed Bill and he briefly explained the kind of amendments he had made to the Legal Practitioners and Bar Council’s Act 1973 to accommodate the CPD regime in Pakistan. He said that the proposed Bill and Regulations would be presented to the stakeholders for their comments and feedback in due course in the hope that it would be adopted to be formalized into actual Law.
SOL received some valuable input on the entire conference during the Q and A session when the Chairman and the Secretary of the Legal Education Committee of the Lahore High Court Bar Association not only appreciated our efforts but also invited us to conduct CPD workshops in the Bar.
In the end, Mr. Ehsan Chughtai, Chairman, School of Law, closed the ceremony with a formal round of thanks and expressed his gratitude to the Bar Councils of Punjab, Sindh and KPK for their support for this initiative in principle and hoped that they would also back our efforts in practical terms.
SOL is open to all opportunities, both national and international, to collaborate on CPD initiatives and ventures with other interested parties and fellow colleagues and our offices can be contacted for further details.