Court hears ‘slip rule’ submissions

National, Normal


SUBMISSIONS on specified questions and issues raised by the Supreme Court through Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia relating to the case laws on the ‘slip-rule’ were made and discussed by lawyers representing South Bougainville MP Stephen Pirika Kamma and his predecessor Michael Laimo and the Electoral Commission on Monday before the five-judge bench headed by Justice Bernard Sakora.
The issues directly relating to the jurisdiction and the nature of the slip rule application are; whether or not the slip rule application should be made before the same Supreme Court judge or before other judges and how many judges should constitute it and finally, whether or not leave is required for the slip rule to be heard.
The slip-rule is the court’s last available legal process that looks into the possible alleged errors by either the court or the presiding judge when dealing with and handing down its final decisions. 
Brought before justices Sakora, Elenas Batari, Catherine Davani, Salatiel Lenalia and Derek Hartshorn, all parties agreed that the slip rule was a Common Law Principle derived from the Law of England and practiced in that country, Australia and New Zealand which PNG adopted.
Mr Laimo’s lawyer, Ben Lomai, submitted that the slip rule precedence set in the previous case of Pato Kakaraya and Albert Kipalan and Others, based and adopted from the Australian high court decision in AutoDesk Inc matter must be applied.
Mr Lomai argued that the “the power to reopen a concluded Supreme Court matter is part and partial of the Supreme Court’s inherent jurisdiction”.
“It is settled law that the Supreme Court has the jurisdiction to reopen and review its own decision in appropriate cases. This jurisdiction is inherent in the fact that it is the court of last resort.”
Mr Lomai also pointed out that in this regard, the aggrieved party must also satisfy the court for the court to decide whether or not to reopen the close matter.
Alfred Manase for Mr Kamma, on the other hand, took to task the definition of the word “slip” as in slip rule and outlined that only on the case of “glaring errors or mistakes” should there be an application of the ‘slip rule’.
The court reserved its decision to a date next month.