Overseas lawyer cleared to proceed with NCDC case

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BRISBANE-based lawyer Mal Varitimos QC, engaged by the National Capital District Commission (NCDC) in a court case, will continue his service after a bid to restrain him from representing NCDC was dismissed by the Waigani National Court on Monday.
The application to restrain Varitimos from representing NCDC was filed by the Central provincial government in a court proceeding in which NCDC disputed a decision by Internal Revenue Commission (IRC) Commissioner-General Sam Koim to distribute goods and service tax (GST) component collected in NCD to Central, Gulf and Motu Koitabu Assembly as well.
Central, through its lawyer, contended that Varitimos being an overseas counsel, who normally practised outside the country and as a non-citizen be restrained from appearing before the National and Supreme Courts in any basis for the NCDC or any party want of authorisation by the attorney-general that must be procured to the court, thus, show proof of valid general work permit.
Justice Thomas Anis found that claims by Central appeared to be mere accusation or inquiry which was also evident in its written submission, therefore, the application was not properly before the court and must be dismissed.
“I note that Varitimos QC has undisputed evidence of practising as a lawyer in the country with an unrestricted practising certificate for more than 24 years” Justice Anis stated in his judgment.
“Counsel has also been appointed or bestowed by Her Majesty the Queen of England as one of ‘Her Majesty’s Counsel learned in the law’ or as a Queen’s Counsel.
“Counsel is obviously a senior lawyer with vast experience in law in this jurisdiction amongst others. I note that the fourth defendant (Central) has not adduced a scintilla of evidence to show whether Varitimos QC currently or has in the past had issues with the Departments of Labour and Industry or Migration that involved issuance of work permit.”