Wednesday, March 10, 2010

House favours bill to have separate judges

THE National and Supreme courts will have separate judges sitting on benches of the two high courts, The National reports.

Parliament gave its first approval with an 85-0 vote for the bill relating to the appointment of separate and distinct judges to sit on the Supreme Court and National Court separately.

The amendments, tabled by Esa’ala MP Moses Maladina, stated that unlike other jurisdictions, “in PNG we have both judges presiding over both the National and Supreme courts”.

“This is not only inconvenient but also gives rise to the issue of capacity.

“We have come to a stage where the population has increased and are at a stage of development now where we require a separate and distinct Supreme Court with fulltime judges and a separate and

distinct National Court with

its own judges,” he said.

Mr Maladina said the amendments had been made in consultation with the Attorney-General and with the Chief Justice.

He said this was also in line with the law and justice sector white paper that was approved by Parliament.

In the law and justice white paper, the recommendation made by the Chief Justice and the judiciary was the creation of a permanent Supreme Court with the best judges appointed fulltime to that court.

The amended section 161 provided that the Supreme Court will not have fewer than five judges and those judges will be chosen from among the National Court judges.

Mr Maladina said section 164 of the Constitution also provided for the increase in the number of judges from 20 to not more than 40.


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