ENB village court officials trained

Fifty village court officials in East New Britain Province (ENBP) have recently completed a training facilitated by the Department of Justice and Attorney General (DJAG).

The four-day training is a pilot program for four (4) court areas of Bitapaka and Kulaun in the Kokopo District, and Balanataman and Rabaul Urban LLGs in Rabaul District.

The training, hosted at the Vunapope Conference room in Kokopo, concluded on Friday, June 28th.

Advisor for the Division of Village Court and Land Mediation in the ENB Provincial Administration (ENBPA), Danley Puapena, said the training focuses on amendments to the Village Court Act of 2018, the Family Protection Act of 2013, and the data management systems used to record village court cases.

“This training intends to prepare village court magistrates, clerks and peace officers as we are now shifting into modernised village courts. The data management system will assist village court officials in having correct, digitised documents, so we move away from the outdated ways of storing records,” Puapena said.

Puapena further commended the DJAG officers and the Senior Provincial Magistrate (SPM), Samuel Lavutul, for facilitating the training.

“We have witnessed an increase in law and order cases across the province, and we anticipate that this training will aid our officers to deal with village court cases in their respective court areas,” he added.

Speaking during the closing of the training, Senior Provincial Magistrate, Samuel Lavutul, said all village court personnel must have strong work ethics, which will be reflected in the decisions reached at the village court level.

He stated that the village court is governed by a Parliamentary Act and should be seen as a valuable tool for resolving communal feuds or disputes.

“We try as much as possible to decrease the number of individuals racing into the district court with a small K500 claim, because this issue may simply be handled at the village court,” he stressed.

SPM Lavutul also said local court officials are under-performing, and this is evident in the province's increasing number of communal conflicts.

Meanwhile, ENB Deputy Provincial Administrator responsible for District and LLG Services, Nicholas Larme, said the training is part of ward empowerment programs.

“This training is part of ward-focused programs to enhance our processes at the ward level,” he stated.

Larme further urged the local court officials to view their jobs as a way of life, and not just a job.

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