26 Mar 2012

PNG Attorney General defends controversial judicial law

2:59 pm on 26 March 2012

Papua New Guinea's Attorney General Alan Marat denies that the controversial Judicial Conduct law, passed last week in parliament, erodes the independence of the judiciary

The law, which gives the government the power to suspend judges, met with a torrent of opposition from non-government MPs, sections of the legal community, university students and civil society.

The government says the law will better define and strengthen the role and conduct of national and Supreme Court judges.

Dr Marat says moves by the judiciary to stop his government's repeated attempts to suspend the Chief Justice over alleged mishandling of funds prompted the bill.

"It demands understanding, a deeper understanding of the constitutional provisions. The judiciary will still be judged by the judges. This new enactment, the Judicial Conduct Bill, addresses that very point that we encountered in the first suspension."

Dr Alan Marat