The Foundation concludes workshop on skills in legal drafting for lawyers in the Maldives

The workshop was held in collaboration with the Bar Council of the Maldives from 20 – 22 November 2023.

The workshop brought together thirty lawyers to discuss drafting skills relevant to composing and reviewing legislation, contracts, and documents necessary in litigation. Held in Malé, the activity aimed to effectively advance access to justice by supporting the professional development of participants.

Each day of the workshop focused on skills relevant to drafting in different legal areas. The first day examined legislative drafting and explored the three-fold role of lawyers in the legislative process. By consulting on draft laws, reviewing draft laws and bringing litigation to challenge the constitutionality of enacted laws, lawyers are critical to ensuring the quality and legitimacy of legislation. Skills discussed included how to: ethically fulfil this role, technically ensure legal effect, and conduct reviews of laws to ensure that the rule of law is advanced. The second day focused on skills in drafting contracts in terms of Maldivian law. It explored complex technical issues that lawyers engage with regularly, including contractual clauses on liquidated damages, dispute resolution and jurisdiction. The final day explored drafting for litigation from both a practitioner and judges’ perspective. The practical implementation of key recent pieces of legislation, such as the Civil Procedure Code, was discussed and participants were exposed to considerations relevant to drafting documents for both trials and appeals.

The programme was delivered by Foundation Research Fellows and various local experts. Ms Junaina Ahmed and Ms Aishath Haifa from the prominent Maldivian law firm SHC Law and Tax LLP presented sessions on contract drafting, while Mr Moosa Alim from the same firm brought in an experienced practitioner’s perspective to sessions on drafting for litigation. Four Justices of the High Court of the Maldives, Justices Mohamed Faisal, Huzaifa Mohamed, Dheebanaz Fahmy and Mohamed Shaneez Abdulla, joined the workshop to provide participants with insights into best practices in court practice and drafting. The reliance on experts from multiple sectors provided participants with unique and multi-faceted insights into how to best serve their clients’ interests and the interests of justice more generally.

This is the first workshop implemented with the Bar Council as part of the Foundation’s current project ‘At the Crossroad Between Progressive Reforms and Democratic Backsliding: Supporting the Stabilisation of the Maldives‘, supported by the German Federal Foreign Office. Further activities are planned for 2024.