by Vasinatta Yama – EM TV News, Port Moresby
Going back 20 years or so, the Judicial and Legal Services Commission had problems in identifying good lawyers to move on to become judges.
This was said today by Chief Justice, Sir Salamo Injia, upon the swearing in of William Neil, as a National and Supreme Court Judge.
Neil was sworn in by the Governor General, Sir Michael Ogio, in Port Moresby today.
Justice Neil is from New South Wales, Australia, and is a permanent resident of Papua New Guinea.
He was admitted to practice law in PNG in 1970. Over the years, he has practiced throughout PNG, Australia and New Zealand.
In PNG he provided legal advice for many years in both the public and private sector and has a vast knowledge and experience of civil and commercial proceedings.
He will serve for a term of three years. He has four adopted children, who were at Government House today to witness his swearing in.
The swearing in now adds the total number of judges within the PNG legal system to more than 40.
Sir Salamo said more judges are needed to cater for the number of cases currently pending.
The Chief Justice said an increase in judges to at least 60 or 80 will help to decrease the number of pending cases.
However, budget constraint is one problem that the commission is facing when planning to appoint judges.
Sir Salamo also said that availability of lawyers and the pool of national and international lawyers are good at present, but more screening is needed to appoint experienced lawyers.