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The Wall Street Journal introduced its readership to the future application of the metaverse to the workplace in a recent article entitled Why the Metaverse Will Change the Way You Work: Virtual meetings that feel real, new ways to build and teach, plus jobs you haven’t heard of—soon it won’t be science fiction. The metaverse blends the real-time communication of internet video platforms with the virtual and augmented reality spaces. The pandemic demonstrated that many office jobs lend themselves to work-from-home options, which improves the lives of many individuals by limiting commuting time and taking cars off the streets. According to the article, the metaverse currently exists in its infancy, but its future applications seem nearly limitless. The article references virtual vacations that conjure memories of the 1980s movie Total Recall and virtual real estate walkthroughs with listing agents. The article reports that tech visionaries expect virtual spaces to eliminate or drastically reduce in-person workspaces and business trips. The metaverse combines the connectivity of Web 2.0 with the benefits of virtual and augmented reality settings that allow participants to interact with “goods like machinery or fabrics.”  

The article describes situations where virtual workers could “teleport” across large corporate campuses or even from points worldwide and engage in a fully immersive “work” space. While current hardware in this space is often clunky and cumbersome, the article maintains that drawbacks to its adoption, including size and expense, will drastically reduce as the technology develops The best quote from the article comes from John Egan, the chief executive of L’Atelier BNP Paribas, where he says, “The metaverse will be evolutionary, not revolutionary.”

Metaverse Courtrooms 

Adopting the metaverse in the public sector will have a tremendous impact on court proceedings’ future. From the pandemic’s beginning, federal and state courts raced to shift operations from traditional brick and mortar proceedings to online or “virtual” spaces. While many court systems adopted Zoom, or Microsoft Skype and later Teams, as the platform of choice to conduct their business, many glitches appeared. 

Specifically, a lawyer appearing before a judge could not remove a kitten filter during a routine conference. This clip went viral, demonstrating the generational divide among many legal practitioners and showing the limitations of video conference platforms to the judicial branch’s constitutional duties. The technology proved challenging to adapt for trials. In both trials before judges (bench trials) or before a jury it became increasingly challenging to evaluate witness testimony.

The New York State Unified Court System uses a Microsoft Teams platform to conduct its virtual business. While it includes an “all together” mode that mimics auditorium seating, it engenders a feeling more of a university lecture hall than a courtroom. The current technology does not adapt well for trial work, but it does meet a majority the requirements for efficiently conducting routine conferences and arguing motions and appeals before judges.

As the article states, the evolutionary aspect of the metaverse provides a comprehensive platform for the technological growth necessary to virtualize the constitutional duties of the judiciary truly. Fully immersive digital technology will allow trial lawyers, judges, witnesses, and jurors to exist in a shared digital courtroom. A shared metaverse courtroom will remedy the issues surrounding the evaluation of witness testimony and allow litigants to present physical evidence in a virtual setting. At the same time, it raises personal privacy concerns, where a judge or their clerk may ensure the attentiveness of the jury through biometric markers. Current hardware used to access the metaverse allows the environment’s creators to monitor biometric feedback from attendees. While such technology applications may raise red flags associated with personal privacy, they will assure jury engagement for trial lawyers and the court. While the pandemic forced courts across the country to pivot to virtual operations using clunky technology not designed for the intricacies of America’s confrontational judicial trial system, the evolution of the metaverse will leave most of those drawbacks behind.Report this

Published by

Jeffrey Alfano, Esq.

Jeffrey Alfano, Esq.

Professional Public Policy and Law Analyst, Judicial District Legal Manager


The US State Department on Tuesday released its 2022 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report that declared Pakistan remains on Tier 2, however, was upgraded in status by being taken off the “watchlist”.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken launched the report at a ceremony at the State Department.

TIP calls for action against domestic trafficking in human beings. The countries categorised under Tier 2 are those governments that do not fully meet the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with these standards.

Pakistan remains in Tier 2 on the country trafficking scale but has been removed from the “watchlist”, which means in case of a lack of further progress, the country would be downgraded to Tier 3, and sanctions would follow.

“The [Pakistan] government demonstrated overall increasing efforts compared with the previous reporting period, considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, if any, on its anti-trafficking capacity; therefore, Pakistan was upgraded to Tier 2,” the report said.

These efforts, according to the report, included increasing investigations, prosecutions and convictions, including increasing investigations and prosecutions under the 2018 Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act (PTPA).

“The government referred more victims for protection services. The government’s provincial departments increased implementation of standard operating procedures (SOPs) on victim identification and referral and trained more stakeholders,” it said.

“The government allocated resources for the implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) and amended the PTPA to remove provisions that allowed fines in lieu of imprisonment for sex trafficking crimes with women and children as victims.”

This is a step forward from last year when the report on the performance of 188 countries stated that “the government of Pakistan does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so.”

In addition, Pakistan has also been removed from the Child Soldiers Prevention Act (CSPA) list which identifies governments having government-supported armed groups that recruit or use child soldiers, a designation that could result in restrictions on certain security assistance and commercial licensing of military equipment.

However, a recent report released by the HRCP painted a grim picture of women trafficking in the country. The report identified Pakistan as a source, transit and destination for human trafficking, which indicates the danger women, particularly economically vulnerable ones, find themselves in.

Across the country, scores of women are abducted each year. Unfortunately, little priority is accorded to the issue, which has paved the way for the trafficking networks to thrive and coerce women into sex trafficking, child labour, bonded labour, forced begging and forced marriage.

Last year, the government had launched a comprehensive National Action Plan to combat human trafficking, but little progress has been made.

The FIA finds itself strained with minimal resources and capacity because of which it has remained unable to achieve the targets of the plan.

Lack of cohesion among the various law enforcement agencies, absence of reliable data on trafficking, and poor implementation of anti-trafficking laws have further impeded the process of tackling the problem effectively.

The government’s lacklustre attitude towards the issue is worrisome because nearly half of the population of Pakistan constitutes women of which a large proportion is threatened by traffickers.

Even women that have been retrieved from trafficking networks face the risk of re-victimisation due to a lack of protection and general awareness amongst society.

The Ministry of Law and Justice in light of the Supreme Court decision announced the establishment of the Directorate of Legal Education in the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC).  

The Law Ministry established the Directorate at the request of the Pakistan Bar Council and by the special efforts of Federal Minister for Law and Justice, Senator Azam Nazeer Tarar.  

According to a statement issued by the ministry, the Directorate of Legal Education would be headed by Osama Malik, Deputy Adviser to the Ministry of Law, and would serve as the Director of the Directorate of Legal Education while Zahoor Ahmed, Legislative Adviser to the Ministry of Law, would be the focal person on behalf of the Ministry.  

Other law enforcement officers and support staff had also been deployed.  Arrangements made by the Ministry of Law would continue till amendments in the relevant rules and establishment of a directorate by the Pakistan Bar Council.

Law is a system of rules enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. The law shapes politics, economics, history and society in various ways and serves as a mediator of relations between people. Law’s scope can be divided into 2 domains. Public law concerns government and society, including constitutional law, administrative law, and criminal law. On the other hand, private law deals with legal disputes between individuals and/or organizations in areas such as contracts, property, torts/delicts and commercial law. This difference is stronger in civil law countries, mainly those with a separate system of administrative courts.

In this world where we live, there is about 49% women and 51% men, and same is the case with Pakistan. We have a greater number of women than men and it is our duty to protect the right of women and take a stand for them. To encourage women empowerment and provide quality Law education in Pakistan, there is an Institute in Lahore, Model Town, working under the name of Lahore School of Law. The education of Law is vital for the citizens living in a country. The inhabitants of Pakistan are in a dire need of law education in schools, colleges, offices, universities, and work places. The country has been facing a legal education crisis for a very long time. There is a lack of institutional consensus about the entrance examinations for bar and law schools. Also, there is some confusion about the curriculum and method of teaching, and the method of final examination, etc. For years, the relevant institutions (HEC, Pakistan Bar Council), the government and the SJC (Supreme Judicial Council) have ignored the importance of law education and training of lawyers and judges. Under the HEC Ordinance 2002, the HEC is mandated to make sure the quality of higher education. However, under the 18th Amendment of the 1973 constitution, higher education was transferred to the provinces, but till now, no province has enlisted any legal framework or policy to regulate law education.

Regrettably, the law education system in the country does not fill the wide gap that exists among practice and theory. This is due to the reason that it fails to expose the students of law to legal practice which stops them from engaging with it completely or understanding several aspects of it which are essential to prepare them for the legal practice in future. Our curriculum just focuses on discussing the academic aspects of law. Thus, failure to cover the operational side of courts makes potential young lawyers and students face numerous issues. In this way, they are left behind blank regarding any career opportunity as they are not entirely equipped to understand the practical facets of the profession. Some of the pass outs prefer teaching career over practicing in courts whereas others keep trying their luck in limited places.

Published in Daily Times

The Supreme Court has ordered the constitution of an independent committee to make suggestions for regulating and improving the quality of legal education in the country and directed the law ministry to provide assistance in the formation of the body.

A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Umar Ata Bandial, said the proposed committee should determine the number of law colleges to be allowed to function as mushrooming of institutions affected the quality of teaching.

The court gave the order on a petition moved by Malik Aneeq Khatana, in which the petitioner had sought the issuance of an order restraining those lawyers from taking part in any elections who were enrolled either after passing on the basis of 40 per cent minimum marks, instead of 50 per cent, or without passing the Law Graduate Assessment Test (LAW-GAT).

The CJP directed the law ministry to constitute the standing committee after consulting bar councils across the country.

According to the petitioner, lawyers in Punjab find the standard of law education in the country “embarrassing and shocking” and feel that steps must be taken to stem the rot.

Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial observed that no one knew better than judges how to bear criticism despite showing good intentions but in the end only truth prevails. The observation came when Supreme Court Bar Association President Ahsan Bhoon regretted that the court have tolerated criticism with great forbearance.

On July 22, 2019, former CJP Asif Saeed Khosa had observed during a hearing that immediate measures were needed to improve the quality of law teaching as well as to bring back the “nobility of the legal profession”.

“We will have to launch a movement for restoration of the nobility of legal profession,” Justice Khosa said.

Essential attributes

The Supreme Court, acting upon a petition brought by the Pakistan Bar Council, had mandated that sound professional training and skills in both academic and vocational disciplines must be essential attributes for ensuring good advocacy.

The judgement had identified that PBC was the key regulator for monitoring standards in legal education.

Consequently, the PBC framed the Pakistan Bar Council Legal Education Rules, 2015 (Rules).

The petition regretted that in Pakistan, legal education has become a business and was no longer a medium of producing quality lawyers.

The most shocking example of this is the saturation of foreign degree programmes like the University of London degree courses, to which local regulations do not apply.

Published in Dawn, April 28th, 2022

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