Judges encouraged to be bold with decisions, reasons

National

By TREVOR WAHUNE
PRECEDENT cases should not influence the way a judge makes decisions, an experienced expatriate judge says.
Justice Oagile Key Dingake made the remarks at the Commonwealth Magistrate and Judges Association (CMJA) conference in Port Moresby yesterday in a presentation titled “Judicial accountability to Parliament”.
“Do not be afraid to take new paths in making decisions,” he said.
“But these decisions must also be given reasons to how you arrived at it.”
He said this was because people had an expectation that the judiciary was independent.
“Therefore, judges should make decisions without delay but with certainty to law,” he said.
“This comes back to how judges are selected – they must have confidence, experience and knowledge in law.
“And they must not be afraid to make decisions upon merit.”
Justice Dingake said that it was important to note that judges were also subject to disciplinary actions.
“But should be fair and free from political influence,” he said.
“We are not holy.
“We can be criticised.
“Thus, judges should not be easily removed from a judgment seat.
“We must never accuse ourselves.”
Justice Dingake was the first African judge to work in PNG and was a professor (teaching) at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.

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