UG launches Legal Resource Centre
By Shirley Thomas
Guyana Chronicle
February 20, 2003

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THE University of Guyana Faculty of Law has formally opened its Legal Resource Centre with the commissioning of five Dell computers and adequate space to seat 20 of its 130 law students at a time.

The computers were acquired through funds provided by the university.

Giving a profile of the facility at the opening ceremony Tuesday at the Turkeyen campus, Dean of the Faculty, Professor Rudolph James, said setting up the Legal Resource Centre was one of the university's most ambitious projects.

"The University of Guyana, in an effort to keep on providing 'quality education' and improve research facilities, has embarked on one of its most ambitious projects - the Legal Resource Centre," he commented.

He said that recognising the importance of information technology to the education process and development of law, the centre is equipped with five computers - all with the latest `All England Reports' and 'West Indian Reports', Laws of Guyana and Laws of Belize.

Of the 130 law students in the faculty, nine are from Belize - two in their second year and seven in their first year. There is one student from Jamaica in the third year, and one from St. Kitts in the second year classes.

Professor James said the computers are Internet ready, and one of them is fully equipped with publication software. He said that as more information becomes available, this will be added to the service provided.

The university plans to launch a website, officials said.

University Bursar, Mr. John Seeram, who was on leave when plans for the purchase of the facilities were finalised by Acting Bursar, Mr. Neil Browman, complimented the initiative, adding: "It is good to see we are keeping up with the developments in technology."

Seeram expressed the hope that with space available for 20 users, by the next academic year another five, or at least three more desktop computers, and possibly some laptops would be made available.

Commending the effort, he assured that the university was supportive of the initiative, and as far as possible, within its constraints, will be willing to render more assistance. He also threw out a challenge to the private sector for assistance towards this end.

James announced that Professor Bandele Kasunmu of the University of Lagos, Nigeria, has already committed to presenting two computers to the university - one for the Legal Information Service and the other for Jessup Moot.

Professor Kasunmu previously made a major contribution to a local law student, Ms. Elias who went to the Oxford Law School, by funding her entire book requirement for the programme.

The core objective of the Legal Resource Centre, James said, is to provide all law students an equal opportunity to access the most updated legal information in their respective courses.

The centre also seeks to cater to students' needs for their term papers and assignments, while encouraging them to use the facilities to publish their own law journals and law magazines.

The University of Guyana Faculty of Law aims to give students a competitive edge in the global world, but also wants to provide them with the proper environment in which to grow and discipline themselves, James said.

And referring to the care of the equipment, he added that "with this in mind, the students will also be made responsible for the care, upkeep and management of the centre."

He said the department hopes the students will make full and good use of the facilities, while ensuring that the equipment is not vandalised, abused or damaged.

He stressed that students are expected to respect the rights of others using the facilities, by maintaining at all times, a healthy working environment conducive to learning and betterment.

Initially opening hours will be from 08:30 hrs to 16:00 hrs Mondays to Fridays. Special arrangements may be made with Professor Aubrey Bishop for opening on Saturdays.

In the interest of students' safety the centre will not be open after dark, officials said.

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