Bridging the Gap: The Professional Legal Practice Certificate (PLPC)

Certain occupational fields require continuous learning where accurate and effective application is vital for the intended outcomes. Judges, lawyers, and legal consultants alike must remain up-to-date with legislation, regulations, and amendments. The Judicial and Legal Studies Institute (JLSI) is a directorate under the Ministry of Justice, Islamic Affairs, and Waqf. It aims to enhance the legal profession in Bahrain through various programs. The JLSI trains judges, prosecutors, legal advisors, professionals in governmental entities, lawyers in legal practice, and in-house counsel.

In 2019, the JLSI introduced the Professional Legal Practice Certificate (PLPC) Program. The primary objective of the PLPC is to bridge the gap between theory and practice through sharing expertise and experience regarding the laws of Bahrain. Numerous experts in the legal field were invited to guide the participants toward an enhanced understanding and an effective implementation of laws. The average acceptance rate of the PLPC program is less than 50% with only 23 graduates in 2023, two of whom are lawyers at Zu’bi & Partners Attorneys & Legal Consultants.

The closing ceremony held on the 4th of June 2023 was attended by H.E. Shaikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa as Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) Vice President, Court of Cassation President; H.E. Dr. Ali bin Fadhel Al Buainain, Attorney General; H.E. Nawaf bin Mohammed Al Moawda, Justice, Islamic Affairs and Waqf Minister; and Counselor Nawaf Abdulla Hamza, the Legislation and Legal Opinion Commission (LLOC) Chairman.

The intensive 6-month program delved into 13 modules, enhancing the skills and knowledge of participants. The key takeaways from the program were as follows:

Legal Skills

The PLPC dedicated 6 modules which were presented by international experts covering the essential skills in the legal profession, such as legal ethics, research, interpersonal skills, and legal drafting. The aims of the modules were to demonstrate knowledge of the law governing legal practices in Bahrain and the various sources of laws and legislation with respect to the use of the LLOC legislation database, the SJC Court of Cassation precedents database, and LexisNexis among others. A significant study was presented showcasing the preferences of clients in transparent and clear communication regarding the legal services requested from law firms.

General Legislations and International Standards

 Corporate, financial, and contract laws were outlined in the PLPC program, where legal concepts and corresponding international standards were explained. This set of modules discussed the practical application of the laws where legal experts demonstrated the international standards integrated into Bahraini legislation. Precedents were explored as case studies aiding in the comprehension of the practice. One of the most essential topics discussed was the implicit necessity of lawyers to be knowledgeable in the peripherals of the legal field. This is due to the nature of the occupation, where corporate, financial, and contractual services require an understanding of business plans, balance sheets, and technological advancements.

Niche Areas of Law

 As advancements in the legal field arise, the PLPC program identified certain niche areas of the law that must be studied by legal professionals. The laws governing technology, anti-money laundering, and alternative dispute resolution were explained to the participants. The program demonstrated the legal provisions covering artificial intelligence and financial technologies, as well as the roles of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and Bahraini regulatory authorities involved in anti-money laundering. Additionally, experts in arbitration and mediation communicated their experiences in the field and a mock trial was conducted. Developing provisions essential on a national and international scale were discussed as these are vital to the legal profession and stakeholders involved.

The PLPC program of the JLSI successfully conveyed the significance of continuous learning to achieve the intended aim of bridging the gap for the future of Bahrain. Our graduates benefited greatly from this 6-month professional development program.

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