Laingane Italeli Talia, from Tuvalu, studied the LLM in Drafting Legislation, Regulation, and Policy at the Institute of Advanced Legislative Studies (IALS) after practicing law as Senior Crown Counsel at the Attorney General’s office in Tuvalu.
I started my legal career in 2006 by undertaking the LLB program at the University of the South Pacific, and pursued the Professional Diploma in Legal Practice as this was a requirement to be able to be admitted to practice in the Courts of Law. I managed to pull through all these with the financial support from the Government of Tuvalu as one of the recipients of its government funded scholarships.
I knew that IALS would be able to offer me the professional assistance and coaching to become a qualified professional legal drafter – which is now my dream within the legal profession.
Upon finishing my studies, I started practicing law and gained the position of Crown Counsel at the Attorney General’s office in Tuvalu. Within five years I had progressed to the role of Senior Crown Counsel and took over responsibilities from the Attorney General when she was absent from the office for work purposes or annual leave. This experience led me to act in her position for four years when she pursued further study.
Working in the Attorney General’s Office gave me the opportunity to deal with a range of legal matters from appearing in courts, advising government ministry departments, NGO’s and Civil Society, and drafting laws and policies. I have limited knowledge and skills in legislative drafting which was daunting, but the extensive hands on work that I undertook in the Attorney General’s Office enabled me to increase my knowledge. However, I knew that I needed to gain more skills and insights of legislative drafting to make a difference in my work.
When I started to look for legislative drafting courses I found the LLM in Drafting Legislation, Regulation, and Policy at the Institute of Advanced Legislative Studies (IALS).
Coming from a very remote, small island in the middle of the Pacific, it wasn’t an easy decision to fly to the other side of the world to pursue an LLM.
My motivation to study in the UK was the excellent academic standards that the University of London could offer. Through my research of SAS and IALS, I found out that the academic standard was very high, with well-equipped professors in their areas of expertise.
I applied for the Chevening Scholarship; a UK government funded award that is usually granted to international students including the Pacific Islands. I was fortunate enough to be selected as one of the recipients of the scholarship from Tuvalu, which has helped me through my studies.
I moved to London with my family to undertake this course and adjusting to London culture was an experience! I could write a whole essay on the culture differences as there are so many interesting and unique explorations that I came across. One big difference that I noticed is the way that people live in London, as it is really different from home. This said, London is the centre of history and has the most powerful monarchy, and these are just two things amongst the many that I love about London.
The course itself is very interesting, especially when you pursue something that you always had the ambition to go for.
My lecturers make me feel at home and they’ve given me all the advice and support that I’ve needed along the way. I am blessed to have come across such lovely and caring people, who are affable and supportive.
I decided to study full time as I knew it will be quite difficult to manage my time if I studied and worked at the same time. It is also a condition of the scholarship offer that I was awarded. Besides two children at home and studying for an LLM is enough whilst I am in London – playing the role of both being a mother and a student is quite intense.
Given my passion for Legislative Drafting, my current plan is to continue my studies with a PhD at IALS. It’s something for me to consider as I have received some very positive feedback from my lecturers regarding considering to continue with my studies.
I know for a fact that when I have completed this course, I will be qualified as a drafter but more practice over the years will enrich my knowledge and unique skills within the fraternity.