Thousands wait years for day in court in PNG

11:10 am on 10 March 2015

The Chief Justice of Papua New Guinea says the courts have a backlog of more than 21,000 cases dating back 32 years because of what he calls "bad lawyering".

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Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

The Post Courier reports that Sir Salamo Injia says the backlog continues to increase every year because of the inability of the courts and lawyers in conducting cases with "due despatch" and efficiency.

He says the National Court has more than 20,000 pending cases dating back to 1983 while the Supreme Court has more than 1,200 pending cases dating back to 1994.

Sir Salamo says it is the duty of the courts, assisted by a competent legal profession, to deal with cases in a timely manner.

He says if it was not for poor or bad lawyering, the courts' workload would be reduced by 30 per cent.

The Chief Justice says there are also instances where cases are brought to court prematurely without exhausting alternative dispute resolutions.