ABA ROLI Holds Legal Education, Legal Profession Conferences in the Gulf

Participants discussed regional and international developments in legal the profession.

Participants discussed regional and international developments in the legal profession.

June 2009

 The ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) held a legal profession conference in Bahrain and a legal education conference in Qatar. The conferences addressed best practices in professional development and legal education in the Arab world. The conferences were sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Middle East Partnership Initiative.

Bahrain’s Ministry of Justice, in cooperation with ABA ROLI, hosted the legal profession conference in Manama from March 29–30. The conference, which was attended by 63 experts from 12 countries, allowed participants to discuss best practices and professional development. Participants discussed regional and international developments in the profession and their applicability in the Middle East and North Africa region.

His Excellency Sheikh Khalid Bin Ali Al-Khalifa, Bahrain’s minister of justice, and Sheikh Khalifa Bin Rashid Al-Khalifa, chief justice of Bahrain’s Court of Cassation, opened the conference. They said the ministry of justice strives to promote lawyers’ professional development. Plenary sessions addressed various issues including the role and importance of post-graduation professional development opportunities and professional associations in professional development.

On the second day, participants broke out into smaller groups to discuss the topics in greater detail. Facilitated by the panelists, participants drafted a set of recommendations for regional and country-specific action items to strengthen continuing legal education programs and post-graduate professional development.

Qatar University College of Law cosponsored and hosted the legal education conference held in Doha, from March 18–19. Law school deans and professors from the region, including Cairo University (Egypt), Lebanese University, Sultan Qaboos University (Oman), La Sagesse University (Lebanon), Isra’a University (Jordan), Kuwait University, United Arab Emirates University, Rabat University (Morocco), Bahrain University, Philadelphia University (Jordan), Oujda University (Morocco), University of Sharja (United Arab Emirates), Damascus University (Syria), University of Tizi-Ouzou (Algeria), Jordan University and Al Quds University (Palestine), attended the conference, where distinguished faculty from the U.S. and Germany conducted panel discussions.

Participants attended plenary sessions in the mornings and further discussed panel topics in smaller groups in afternoon breakout sessions, where they drafted recommendations. The first day panel topics focused on the role of law faculties in preparing students for the increasingly global legal profession. The second day sessions discussed strategies for incorporating practical training into traditional theoretical scholarship. Following the conference, Qatar University College of Law Dean Hassan distributed conference recommendations and participation certificates to attendees.

To learn more about our work in Bahrain and Qatar, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at <rol@staff.abanet.org>.