PNG’S ATTORNEY GENERAL BACKS "MELANESIAN WAY" TO RESOLVE DISPUTES

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (July 28, 1999 - PACNEWS)---The Melanesian way of "dispute resolution" through mediation and conciliation needs to be developed and institutionalized throughout Papua New Guinea, according to Attorney General Michael Gene.

Speaking at a two-day National Legal Convention in the capital of Port Moresby, Gene said, "The "Melanesian way" is a process whereby disputes can be resolved amicably by the parties involved and the remedies agreed upon are favorable to both parties."

The convention was attended by members of the legal fraternity in the country, members of the judicial system and guest speakers from Australia and other Pacific countries.

The objective of the convention is to foster interest and discussion on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).

"ADR is designed effectively for disputes that are amenable for reasonable settlement, where a compromise is likely to be reached and remedies agreed upon are favorable to both parties," said Gene, who is also the Secretary of the Justice Department.

In his official welcoming address to the participants, he said under the Organic Law on Provincial and Local Level Governments, there is a provision for the establishment of a mediation and arbitration tribunal to resolve disputes between the three levels of government, but "this has yet to be established."

"The National Monitoring Authority must initiate a policy document for deliberation," he said.

"In almost all commercial and state contracts, arbitration clauses are standard and these provide for resolution of disputes between contracting parties through the arbitration process. Sadly, we do not use those mechanisms as often as we should or are required to," Gene said.

On the same note, he also announced that his department, in consultation with the judiciary, proposes major changes to the whole process of land administration issues, including jurisdiction, training, structure and personnel as part of the government’s rationalization process.

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