BSP lawyer attends Australian Bar advocacy course

A lawyer with Bank South Pacific (BSP) was recently awarded an Australian Bar Association scholarship through the South Pacific Lawyers Association (SPLA) to attend the 2016 Effective Trial Advocacy Course in Australia. Mr Michael Henao was one of two scholarship recipients selected from across the Pacific islands; the other was Ms Seruwaia Nayacalevu of the Fiji Bar.  BSP supported Michael by providing airfare and stipend assistance.  The pair joined 30 other barristers from across Australia and Hong Kong for an intensive week-long course, which culminated in the readers running trials before superior court justices in Adelaide. 

The course was run by the Australian Bar Association (ABA) with the teaching faculty made up of senior barristers from across Australia’s civil and criminal Bars as well as academia.  Readers were required to prepare and present opening and closing addresses, research and file lists of authorities (case-law and statute), conduct examinations-in-chief, cross-examinations and re-examinations of witnesses.  Each performance was assessed and critiqued by the Faculty, which included a voice and performance coach from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts.  Due to the volume of work, much of the preparation had to be undertaken prior to the official opening by the Chief Justice of South Australia, the Honourable Christopher Kourakis. 

At a gala dinner at the conclusion of the course, on behalf of the Pacific island pair, Henao thanked the SPLA, ABA and BSP for their support of Pacific island lawyers.  In presenting gifts of Papua New Guinean coffee and bilums, Henao paid special tribute to the late William “Ross” Ray QC who tragically passed away in May 2016.  Mr Ray was a staunch advocate of the rule of law in the Pacific islands and was the inspiration behind the SPLA scholarship program.  In addition to being a member of the Executive of the Law Council of Australia for many years, Mr Ray was the Council’s president from 2007-2008.  Notably, he was Chair of the South Pacific Lawyers Association since its inception in 2007 until his untimely passing.