Deputy Registrar conducts webinar on Customary Law in PNG

The Pacific Centre for Judicial Excellence recently conducted a webinar on Customary Law in PNG, Lessons for the Pacific on 23 May.

The one-hour webinar was moderated by PCJE Program officer – Ms. Arabella Owen and presented by Deputy Registrar Supreme Court, Mr David Gonol.

The webinar was conducted at the PNG Centre for Judicial Excellence (PNGCJE) premises.

PNGCJE Research and Publications Manager, Ms Debbie Laudiwana, while giving the welcome remarks, said Mr Gonol was an expert in the area of PNG underlying Law particularly in Customary Law, and is very passionate about ensuring PNG Customs and customary law finds its place in the PNG legal system.

He is also the first Papua New Guinean to write a book on the Underlying Law in PNG.

Mr Gonol shared on the topic of Customary Law in regard to the PNG experience.

“Section 9 of the PNG Constitution – Hierarchy of Laws provides for the different hierarchy of laws. There are:

1. The Constitution;

2. The Organic Laws;

3. Acts of Parliament;

4. Emergency Regulations;

5. Provincial Laws;

6. Sub-ordinate legislation or any other law made under the constitution; and

7. Underlying Law.

The underlying law is the common law in PNG which is a very interesting law,” he said.

“Under the Underlying Law, we have the Customary and the English Common Law as well as rules formulated by the courts, especially in situations where there are no rules of law.

For instance, if a matter comes before the courts and there are no applicable rules of law in the legislation under the constitution the courts have the power to formulate new rules to apply and these rules become Underlying Laws.

Mr Gonol whilst facilitating the webinar also gave examples of the underlying law in PNG for the participants to understand.

A 15-minute question-and-answer session was concluded successfully.

Mr. Gonol thanked the participants in PNG and the Pacific for the one-hour webinar and for the positive feedback to the webinar.

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