Find Legal expertise in Papua New Guinea
- Legal System
The legal system of Papua New Guinea is based on English Common Law but recognises customary law particularly with regard to customary land rights. The lower courts include district, local, village and magistrates’ courts; superior to these is the National Court followed by the Supreme Court which is the final court of appeal and the constitutional court. Serious criminal and civil cases are heard by the National Court. In 2012 it was estimated that there were some 13, 000 officials operating in 1,100 village courts which hear around half a million cases every year. In addition there are specialised courts which deal with civil cases related to the mining sector, family law and customary land disputes. The autonomous region of Bougainville has a separate judicial system and court structure.
The Papua New Guinea Law Society governs legal practitioners in the country and is a member of the South Pacific Lawyers Association. Bachelor of Laws and Master of Laws courses are available at the University of Papua New Guinea School of Law. Foreign lawyers who have a degree in law and have been admitted to the bar of certain countries (Australia, New Zealand or the UK) and have three years experience are permitted to practice in Papua New Guinea. To obtain a full licence to practice they must first meet the prescribed academic standards, be admitted to the bar and hold a certificate issued by the Papua New Guinea Law Society. In addition they must also hold a certificate approved by the Attorney-General; foreign applicants are often asked to sit examinations on customary, land and constitutional law specific to Papua New Guinea before such a certificate can be issued. They are, however, permitted to seek a limited licence which would allow them to act as an advisor on foreign and international law as a foreign legal consultant.
Not included in the World Economic Forum, The Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013.