Global law firm White & Case LLP today announced the opening of the Kingdom of Bhutan's first law library, located in the country's capital, Thimphu. Known as the White & Case Law Library, the library is part of the Firm's collaboration with Bhutan's Royal Law Project.
"We are pleased to assist the Kingdom of Bhutan in improving its legal capacity as it makes a historic transition to democracy," said Hugh Verrier, chairman of White & Case.
The library offers access to legal reference databases previously unavailable in the country, as well as legal treatises, statutes, and other law books and materials. White & Case worked with LexisNexis® and Thomson Reuters to assemble a collection of legal and regulatory information. Both companies donated printed materials and are providing free access to their UK and US on-line services, and both have agreed to provide access to Bhutanese legal materials in their international databases for the first time. Thomson Reuters is also providing free access to Westlaw India. LexisNexis® contributed 10 laptops and other equipment.
Before the opening of the library, White & Case provided interactive training sessions on how to use the library's legal reference databases. Attendees included justices, lawyers and clerks from the Supreme and High Courts of Bhutan, as well as district court judges, lawyers from government ministries and state-owned companies and members of Parliament.
A small nation located in the Himalaya Mountains, Bhutan is undergoing an unprecedented transition from absolute monarchy to democracy, holding its first-ever parliamentary elections in 2007. Since 2009, the Firm has been working closely with the government to understand the country's legal and legal-education needs, provide pro bono legal advice on topics such as foreign direct investment and corporate law, and set up the law library.
As part of its collaboration with the Royal Law Project, White & Case will continue to provide legal training seminars and pro bono legal advice. Starting in 2012, White & Case will also sponsor scholarships to allow Bhutanese students to pursue LLB degrees at Indian universities.
"This wonderful country is engaged, uniquely in the world, on a path of pursuing human prosperity, not measured financially, but measured morally. That path leads across a bridge, a bridge of democratization and legalization, which can lead to happiness, equality and stability," said Ian Forrester, head of the Firm's Global Pro Bono Practice, who represented the Firm at the law library ribbon-cutting in Thimphu, Bhutan. "We are deeply honored to have the privilege of contributing one reliable stone in the building of that bridge."
White & Case's support of the library and scholarships is another example of the Firm's commitment to social responsibility and to legal education throughout the world.
Other legal education programs recently undertaken by White & Case include an agreement to team up with the Jindal Global Law School of O.P. Jindal Global University and the Firm's global sponsorship of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, the world's largest moot court competition.
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