31 new magistrates appointed

About 31 magistrates and eight acting principal magistrates were appointed to join the magisterial service of Papua New Guinea.

The Judicial and Legal Service Commission announced this development in Port Moresby today.

Chairman of JLSC and Minister for Justice and Attorney General Pila Niningi was joined by members of JLSC which included the Chief Magistrate Mark Pupaka, Chief Ombudsman Richard Pagen and Deputy Chief Magistrate Samson Tatakali during a Press Conference today in Port Moresby.

The 31 magistrates consist of five fully accredited mediator magistrates and 26 provincial accredited mediator magistrates.

While announcing the appointment and reappointment of the magistrates, Minister Niningi said the magisterial service was never seriously looked at in the past.

Niningi said this is due to the government not providing enough funds to recruit and train magistrates in the past.

“The need was there but the past governments did not provide funds. It was quite a struggle but I am happy to say the current government recognized the need and has now stepped in to support,” he said.

Chief Magistrate Mark Pupaka said the magistrates appointed by the Judicial and Legal Service Commission will be performing their duties as peace mediators.

“We are capacitating district court magistrates to be mediators and resolve conflicts through mediation,” he said

Pupaka cleared that mediation is a controlled practice that allows parties to find resolutions to their conflict and mediators guide them through the process.

He added that the magistrates performing their duty as mediators will deal with civil cases and not criminal cases.

Minister Niningi further elaborated that the objective of appointing them as mediators is to better train them before they take on the role of a district court magistrate.

The minister added that plans are underway to recruit more magistrates to reach all the districts in the country because at this stage few districts do not have magistrates.

The Chief Ombudsman Richard Pagen, said the Ombudsman is keen to support the magisterial service but the eagerness for people to work in this industry is very poor.

Meanwhile, the total number of magistrates in the country now stands at 87. 

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