Sen. Ward updates Alabama Bar

Published 7:10 pm Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sen. Cam Ward spoke at the Alabama Bar Association’s Annual Meeting in Destin, Fla., updating them on the progress and changes of The Alabama Law Institute during his first year as president.

Ward, the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, previously spoke to the Uniform Law Conference in Nashville and Alabama Association for Justice annual meeting regarding the issues facing Alabama’s legal system.

“It is an honor to serve as president of the Alabama Law Institute,” Ward said. “Former Alabama Supreme Court Justice and United States Sen. Howell Heflin was the first president, and I only hope I can live up to such a task. I believe we have made some steps to putting ALI on track to continue its mission into the 21st Century.

“There is a lot of good work being done in our courts, but we face one of the greatest threats to our state judiciary in a generation. The shortfall in the state general fund budget threatens to cripple the court system in this state. A further reduction in funding will deny many people in this state their constitutional right to justice as well as adequate due process of law. As attorneys we have a moral obligation to fight for adequate access to justice.”

Ward also highlighted several changes in the operation of ALI, including a presence in the Alabama statehouse, which will better allow the institute to provide legal analysis and counsel to state lawmakers. It will also save the state thousands of dollars a year. They maintain a presence at the University of Alabama as well, where a more than 40-year partnership has helped accomplish its core purpose of systematic code revision.

The Bar association was also told of several bills passed during the 2012 Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature which were pushed by ALI, including bills detailing the application of foreign laws, conforming to national IRS standards, and the merger of corporations. All of these laws make Alabama law clearer and more uniform with national standards, lessening the legal burden on businesses and helping to get Alabamians back to work.

“We worked hard to make sure the institute sponsored smart and honest laws that streamlined the Alabama code,” Ward said. “One of my goals as president is providing Alabama’s citizens with the best legal protections we can, while lessening the burden on business – allowing our citizens to get back to work.”