The Bar Council of the Maldives visited the Law School to assist its efforts in regulating legal education and the legal profession in the Republic of Maldives.
The University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School recently hosted a delegation from the Bar Council of the Maldives (BCM). Created just two years ago, this regulatory body has been tasked with regulating legal education and the legal profession in the Republic of Maldives. The delegation’s goal for the visit was to collect information to improve legal education, develop professional standards, and inform BCM priorities in the creation of the nation’s first bar examination.
Dean and Bernard G. Segal Professor of Law Ted Ruger warmly welcomed the delegation, which included BCM President Maumoon Hameed, Secretary General Dr. Marium Jabyn LLM’07, and Director of Programs Anitha Moosa. They were joined by Humadha Ahmed, Program Manager for the American Bar Association (ABA) Rule of Law Initiative (Maldives), and Jessie Tannenbaum, the ABA’s Senior Technical Advisor, Asia and the Pacific Division.
Heimbold Chair in International Law, Professor of Law Eric Feldman was one of the delegation’s hosts for the day, and he was appreciative of the benefits of the visit for both the BCM and the Law School.
“Having the opportunity to meet with officials from the Maldives Bar Council and talk with them about legal education in the U.S. and the Maldives provided us with the opportunity to learn about a legal system with roots in civil law, common law, and Islamic law and enabled us to showcase various programs that may be valuable to our visitors as they carry out a wide-ranging set of legal reforms in their country,” said Feldman.
The Law School visit was part of the delegation’s three-week tour of the United States, which also included stops in Illinois and Wisconsin to observe the bar exam and in Washington, D.C., to meet with the ABA.
Penn has numerous ties to the Maldives, and the delegation met with several academics who have assisted the nation over the past few years. Most notably, the Maldives’ comprehensive penal code is based on the work of Colin S. Diver Professor of Law Paul H. Robinson and his students. This criminal code was the first in the world to incorporate the major tenets and principles of Islamic law. During their visit, the Maldives delegation engaged in a lively discussion with Robinson and his former student on this project, Adnan Zulfiqar L’08, who is now an Associate Professor at Rutgers Law School.
Secretary General Jabyn, who participated in the Transnational Legal Clinic as a student, reconnected with the clinic’s director, Practice Professor of Law Sarah Paoletti, in a meeting joined by Professor Praveen Kosuri, Deputy Dean for Clinical Education and Director of the Entrepreneurship Legal Clinic, to discuss the evolution of clinical legal education.
The Bar Council also met with Penn’s Bess W. Heyman President’s Professor and Chair of Philosophy Michael Weisberg, who serves as a climate advisor to the Maldives. Climate change presents an existential threat to the island chain, with some experts predicting that 80% of the Maldives could become uninhabitable by 2050. The meeting sparked a dynamic conversation about the challenges facing the island nation and the role that civil society and lawyers might play as advocates and changemakers.
The BCM delegation explored the fundamental changes transforming the legal profession with the Law School’s Future of the Profession Initiative, wide-ranging public interest engagement with the Toll Public Interest Center, and externship opportunities with Curricular Affairs as well. They also discussed skill-building with the Law School’s Legal Practice Skills and Center on Professionalism programs, which have created and supported innovative and invaluable experiences for law students.
“The knowledge acquired during the study visit has given our team new thinking and some excellent ideas toward building better partnerships between lawyers and legal education providers,” said Jabyn. “We are keen to introduce these initiatives at the Bar Council of the Maldives, which is still in its formative years.”