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Katalaina Sapolu

Deputy Director and Head of the Justice Section
Commonwealth Secretariat

SW181DF, United Kingdom

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About Katalaina Sapolu


Katalaina Sapolu - Professional Summary:


From 1992 until 2002, Katalaina Sapolu practised law in Samoa, first as a sole practitioner and then as the co-founder of the partnership Sapolu Lussick, Barristers, Solicitors, and Notaries. While practising as a Barrister and Solicitor, Katalaina Sapolu handled a wide range of legal matters from civil suits to criminal defense to business law. During this period, Katalaina Sapolu bolstered her career with several noteworthy cases.


Katalaina Sapolu represented the mother of an abducted child in the first international abduction case connected to Samoa. International child abduction has long been of interest because of the multitude of political and legal issues involved. In October 1980, The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction created a multinational treaty signed by a number of countries. Despite Samoa not being a signatory to the treaty, Katalaina Sapolu persuaded the Supreme Court of Samoa to take cognisance of The Hague Convention's doctrine and successfully argued the return of the child to his mother and to his country of residence.


Katalaina Sapolu took on another high-profile case in 2001. While participating in a Samoan boot camp owned by US citizens, 20 American teenagers filed allegations of abuse and mistreatment against the camp's workers. Through intense legal wrangling and court appearances, Katalaina Sapolu hastened their repatriation to the United States of America.


When then-Prime Minister Tofilau Eti Alesana sued the Samoa Observer, the biggest newspaper in the country, for defamation in 1997, he used Katalaina Sapolu as his solicitor. At the conclusion of the case, Katalaina Sapolu's client received the largest damage award in Samoan history (WS$50,000) for a defamation case.


Katalaina Sapolu - Education:


Queen Mary, University of London


Master of Laws (LLM) in the specialisation Public International Law

London, GB

05/1/2006 — 10/1/2008


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