Judges to increase

The National Judiciary is looking at significantly increasing the number of judges on the bench by the year 2020.

Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia recently made it known that the aim is to get 80 to 100 judges sitting on the bench by 2020 so that all provinces in the country have a resident judge.

Facilities and manpower go hand in hand in service delivery and the higher judiciary is seeing a lot of development in delivering justice to the people.

Currently there are 39 judges on the bench, an increase of 20 appointments since Sir Salamo became the Chief Justice.   

Vanimo, Manus, Gulf, Central, Hela, Jiwaka and Popondetta are the only provincial towns without a resident judge for the National Court.

“Currently we have almost 40. The idea is to place enough judges in the provinces. They should not be concentrating in Waigani because Waigani is where a very small portion of population live there. Maximum number of judges that Waigani can hold can be no more than 20,” he said.

The rest, he says, should live and work in the provinces. 15 of the 39 judges are living and working in Port Moresby.

Lae, Mt Hagen and Kokopo are the three regional areas with three residential judges each. That will increase in due course.

“Sub regional centres are the next level of courts and the judiciary has already identified four sub regional centres; Kimbe, Goroka, Wewak, and soon to open Mendi.

“We will put a minimum of two judges in those locations. Maximum can be any number. We already have two judges in Wewak, Goroka, Kimbe and one in Mendi. We are looking to put another judge,” stated Sir Salamo.

“In other provinces, we are putting one judge each and as the need arises, we could increase the number to two.

“All provinces in Papua New Guinea, except seven, have got judges living and working in it. And it is not impossible to put all judges in every province by 2020. We only got seven more judges to cover.”

The Judiciary also intends to increase the number of staff in those facilities.

Sally Pokiton