Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Government moves to enact law to ‘suppress’ judges

THE government has given notice that it will introduce a proposed law to control and suppress the conduct of judges of the National and Supreme Court during the current session of parliament, The National reports.
 The Judicial Conduct Bill 2012 is aimed at enacting section 157 of the Constitution to control the ethical conduct of members of the judiciary.
Former chief justice Sir Arnold Amet immediately branded the proposed law as dangerous and contrary to
the independence of the judiciary.
The Madang regional MP said there were universal conventional laws built in to the code of ethics of the judiciary which all judges followed and were guided by and there was no need for any other law.
He said the judges were leaders who were also subject to the Leadership Code.
Therefore there was no need for any legislation.
Sir Arnold said the bill was questionable, coming during the ongoing political impasse and continuing attacks on the judiciary by the O’Neill-Namah government.
The government though insists it wanted to safeguard, promote and protect the integrity of the legal system based on the principles that an independent, fair and competent judiciary shall interpret and apply the laws that govern everyone.
It said that judges, individually and collectively, must respect and honour the judicial office as a public trust and strive to enhance and maintain confidence in the legal system and for related purposes.
It said the judiciary must respect and honour all decisions made by the national parliament to be deemed to come into operation on Nov 1 last year.
It further stated that where parliament has made a referral of a judge to the head of state, such judge shall not hear or continue to hear legal proceedings or exercise his powers
as a judge pending the provision of the report from the leadership tribunal to parliament.
In the case of the chief justice, the deputy chief justice shall act as chief justice.
The proposed law states that when the parliament makes a referral of a judge to the head of state any order or judgment in that proceeding made by that judge shall be stayed pending the provision of the report from the tribunal to parliament

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