Sabah legal fraternity urged to do pro bono legal work

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KOTA KINABALU: The legal profession in Sabah should consider pro bono legal work to provide access to justice to those who cannot afford legal advice and representation.

“It is a social responsibility and law firms can build pro bono projects into their business model to give back to society and promote a positive reputation,

“It is a noble calling, a responsibility to our community, and something you can all be proud of,” Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Hajiji Haji Noor said at the Sabah Law Society (SLS) inaugural Gala Night at the Magellan Sutera on Saturday.

He said getting good justice was for everyone and that he hoped the SLS would ensure that its members continue and expand representation to the unrepresented in Sabah.

The text of his speech was read by Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Christina Liew.

The Chief Minister also said the SLS embodied professionalism and entrusted with the vital responsibility of regulating the conduct of legal practitioners in Sabah.

“It plays an essential role in upholding the rule of law, a cornerstone upon which any just and equitable society firmly rests.

“And, I wish to see your continued rise to excellence. I want to see it evolve into a symbol of legal eminence, setting elevated standards for lawyers in our region.

“In order to achieve this, it is imperative for the Society to remain attuned to modern practices and fully embrace innovation,” he Hajiji added.

As a guardian of justice, he pointed out that the SLS must extend its influence beyond the courtroom and fully embrace its role as a catalyst for positive societal transformation.

According to him, the State Government valued the important partnership with the SLS – such as the setting up of the Borneo International Centre for Arbitration and Mediation (BICAM) launched in July this year.

“We take pride in supporting and providing the initial funding of this significant milestone in our journey towards excellence in professional services and the promotion of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) not only in the Borneo region but also the broader Nusantara and BIMP-EAGA regions,” the Chief Minister added.

Hajiji also said the state government also appreciated the Society’s invaluable contributions in shaping laws that have an impact on Sabah.

“Your active involvement in stakeholder consultations is instrumental in ensuring that our legal framework aligns with the aspirations and needs of our state.

“We also recognise the pivotal role played by the Society in promoting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) through legal visits to other countries.

“Your efforts in establishing connections and fostering international partnerships are vital in attracting investments that drive economic growth and create opportunities for our people.

“Indeed, your efforts complement the state government’s push to attract investors to Sabah,” he said.

The Chief Minister was also pleased to learn of the SLS’ continued plans to host international law conferences in Sabah.

“International law conferences will also attract legal luminaries, scholars, and experts from around the world and they will serve as platforms for the development of the state’s human capital in addition to offering local legal practitioners and scholars the opportunities to engage with global thought leaders, gain insights into cutting-edge legal practices, and expand their horizons.

“We note the pivotal role the Sabah Law Society has played in hosting international law conferences, such as the SLS/LAWASIA Employment Law Conference this year as well as the upcoming SLS/Commonwealth Law Association Borneo Rainforest Law Conference to be held in February next year.

“Together, we can put Sabah on the map as a premier destination for legal discourse, enrich our human capital and further strengthen our position as a region of growth and opportunity,” Hajiji said.

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