University of New South Wales
Fourth Year BA/LLB Student
Internship: October 31-November 25th, 2016
This summer I spent a month in sunny Samoa interning at the Samoan Law Reform Commission. From the moment I arrived I knew the month would be unforgettable – the lush mountains and ocean were beautiful, and everyone at the office instantly made me feel like part of the family!
On my second day I was lucky enough to attend one of the Law Reform Commission’s public consultation days, which is where it meets with the community to receive input on how the law should be reformed. The consultation I went to was about the possibility of creating a legislative framework for the process of removing Matai Sa’o (paramount chief) who misuse their power. It was fascinating to witness the intersection of cultural knowledge and formal law in the consultation discussions and to see the participatory philosophy of the Law Reform Commission in practice – it really does create the opportunity for the general public to have a say in the law reform process. This is particularly essential where the law will affect areas traditionally governed by cultural customs, which is often the case in Samoa.
During my internship I had the opportunity to get involved in a broad range of tasks including researching drug law in other jurisdictions to guide the Commission’s process of modernising drug laws in Samoa, and helping draft and edit the Commission’s final report on Samoa’s civil procedure rules. This report will ultimately be sent to the Government which will then review, approve and implement some, or all, of the recommendations the Commission has made.
My time with the Law Reform Commission has really given me a greater insight into the nature and purpose of law reform, as well as practical experience in multiple stages of the reform process. I would wholeheartedly recommend an internship with the Law Reform Commission – the work is fascinating, the workplace is fun and the country is beautiful to explore!