Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Devete sets new goals for office

A POOR showing by the Office of Solicitor-General has seen millions of kina paid out to claimants against the state, the government’s top litigation lawyer has admitted, The National reports.

Solicitor-General Neville Devete said most of the cases filed against the state were cases that could easily have been defeated, which would have saved the government millions of kina it paid out in the past 10 years.

Inefficiencies and slackness, including lack of manpower, are problems that are known to have existed in the office Devete heads, but little has been done over the years to address this.

The office has often attracted the ire of judges when lawyers fail to turn up to defend cases.

Now, the office aims to minimise this and is conducting workshops around the country to establish good working relationships with government agencies in all regions.

Devete, who is in Kokopo, East New Britain, said with the support of the Attorney-General and Justice secretary Dr Lawrence Kalinoe, they wanted to bring a new focus to the representation of the state with all matters that go to court.

This focus getting government agencies such as police, Correctional Services, health department, provincial works and others to be prompt in referring cases to the office when actions are filed.

Devete said his office was responsible for representing the state in all matters defending the state in the event that it was taken to court by organisations or companies.

The office also files cases on behalf of the state to take other organisations to court.

Devete said two workshops had already been conducted in Mt Hagen.

He said as a result of these workshops, they had seen a big improvement in the response of state agencies based in the province.

He said this minimised many cases, where in the past there had been no one to defend because representatives from the office were not provided instructions, and they could only go to court when they received instructions from state agencies taken to court.

Devete said the office was keen to establish better consultation and co-ordination in order to better represent the state.

The two-day workshop at the Kokopo Village Resort ends today.



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