JudicialConference

PM notes importance of judiciary

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PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill says a strong, competent legal system depends on an independent and competent judiciary and a skilled legal profession.
He told chief justices from Pacific island countries meeting in Port Moresby that the Supreme Court and National Court had played a vital role in national development, “ensuring the principles of the Constitution are upheld”.
“I welcome suggestions from the judiciary and the legal profession on steps our Government might take to strengthen legal education in our universities,” he said.
“The standards that exist in key professions such as the legal sector must be maintained. They must be kept under constant review so they do not decline in any area.
“Now, we also live in the era of modern communications. This has enormous implications for the Government and the judiciary.”
O’Neill told of his early family connection to the judiciary.
His late father Brian O’Neill arrived in PNG in 1949 and worked in Ialibu-Pangia, Southern Highlands.
“He became a magistrate, initially in Mt Hagen, and then Goroka, where he served for many years,” O’Neill said.
“After my early years in the village, I moved to Goroka to live with my father and complete my high school education.
“During those formative years, I was able to fully appreciate the role of the judiciary in our society.
“I am proud to say my father served with great integrity as a magistrate throughout his career.”

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