The Model Law Commission has come to an end for the third year in a row. The project which began in October concluded with a presentation in Parliament on the 16th of December 2015. It is not possible to exaggerate how much I have thoroughly enjoyed the project from start to finish.
Photo: Students presenting their reform ideas in front of an audience of legal professionals and parents at the Model Law Commission launch in December 2015.
The presentation itself was a raging success. To see myself and my fellow youths standing in front accomplished members of the legal profession quoting facts about the current law in our different categories and giving our opinion regarding reform filled me with great pride. As cliché as it sounds, it really does seem like yesterday that we began the project and we were introduced to areas of law we had more than likely never come across before. I certainly knew nothing
of surrogacy law which was the area of law for my group. Initially I had very strong opinion about the current law which did not exactly weaken but became more rounded as the project unravelled and I learnt of the law’s origin. Understanding why the law is the way it is and the intention of those that created it made it a lot easier to see where and why reform was needed.
Our research into surrogacy law took us as far back as 1984 at which time the Warnock Committee published a report regarding Human Fertilisation and Embryology, following which the first laws guiding surrogacy came into being in 1985. Of course it goes without saying that education must precede any judgement on an issue and I am happy that I was able to learn so much about my area of law. Indeed the more I learnt the more I wanted to learn which I must say was surprising as at first I had not wanted to be in the family law category. I spoke to a team mate who initially had shared my dislike for family law and dare I say was almost apathetic to the project, but stated at the end of the project she would not have wanted to be in any other group and has actually loved being part of the Model Law Commission project. It was interesting to see how views changed on the topic within my group.
Originally there was a drastic difference in the opinions regarding the area of law in question. This was especially intriguing because it challenged us the youths and made us think about why we stood for what we stood for. Sessions were filled with heated but productive debates and were for me a chance to increase essential skills like listening and critical thinking. The project has also been a big reminder of the importance of open mindedness. In our team we reached an impasse regarding the recommendations for reform but a compromise was reached allowing for the results of the consultation and the diverse opinions of the entire group to be reflected in our finalised report.
During the course of the Model Law Commission project I have read legislation, debated about current law, and learnt enough about surrogacy law to convince anyone that I am an expert. I have seen the work of the Law Commission in a new light and been shown how to write a law reform report. I have improved in vital skills such as critical thinking, communicating, perspective taking and public speaking. However the most important occurrence is my increased confidence in me and my ability to pursue a legal profession. As an A Level student I still have a long way to go before I can say I have a career in law but the Model
Law Commission has made the journey to this seem a lot less scary.
In the words of Plato; “Justice in the life and conduct of the State is possible only as first it resides in the hearts and souls of the citizens.” My passion for law occupies my whole being and I yearn for justice in all aspects of life which can translate to something as simple as the smooth running of day to day activities.
I am proud to have been part of the Model Law Commission project and have taken a lot from
it. The future is a frightening concept, one that shouldn’t be taken lightly but in regards to my future career path, I have never been more determined to pursue my passion. It might be a hard journey but I dare say I’m ready.