A week-long training to upgrade sheriffs in their law enforcement duties is currently taking place at the National Court and Waigani Supreme Court facilities.
The training started on Monday February 7 and will end this Friday.
Training is ongoing to hone the sheriffs on the laws regarding how they should carry out their duties as enforcement officers.
The main objective of the training is to work with the Chief Justice in three priority areas, including resolving 150 cases per judge per year, increasing the resolution rate to reduce the backlog of cases and the use of ADR and mediation services.
The Sheriff’s Division is a division in its own right, empowered by the Sheriff Act to enforce court orders through writs and warrants. It is one of the three divisions of the judicial system and its head is the Registrar of the National and Supreme Courts. The sheriff is appointed by the head of state and he and his officers are responsible for enforcing court orders.
Under Section 3 of the Sheriffs Act, the primary role of the sheriff is to enforce court orders and maintain security on court premises, serve documents, including complaints and summonses for a fee, to perform executions, to make affidavits and returns, and to escort persons to court under a warrant of arrest/by writ of habeas corpus.
The training was facilitated by trainers from the National Registry and the Supreme Court.
Lead facilitator Jeffery Maruse said the training was a reminder to empower sheriffs on the enforcement process and procedures.
There were over 25 participants, including sheriffs from other provinces who flew in to participate. Training topics included legislation and legislative authority, key enforcement functions, roles and responsibilities of enforcement officers, enforcement processes, calculation of writs, sheriff trust, process auctions and many more. The training activities included group discussions, presentations and individual participation in the form of questions and answers. At the end of the Friday training, each participant will receive a certificate.
Deputy Clerk Baka Bina while going through one of the topics with the sheriffs urged them to say that what they do as sheriffs affects people’s lives so they need to know the rules, the rights and laws concerning their duty.
“The way you serve the customer order should have an order in itself. The order must contain a human rights provision. When sheriffs don’t execute orders very well, it puts a dent in the system,” Bina said.
He added that the division’s goal after the training was to ensure confidence in the order that is executed.
Mr Bina said sheriffs face many challenges especially with exercising and implementing the correct process and procedures when executing writs and court orders.
“The main areas of concern are the lack of continuous training to improve skills and equip enforcement officers with the appropriate knowledge and attitude to carry out their enforcement duties effectively and efficiently.”
He further alluded that with this training, they would be able to develop and maintain sheriff enforcement standards which will improve the quality of sheriff operations in national court personnel departments and improve enforcement. processes, management skills and knowledge of application operations.
Operation of Sheriff’s Offices
Sheriff’s offices operate in each of the national courts. All writs, summonses and warrants are received and served by the sheriff’s office located at the nearest state court.
Location of Sheriff’s Office Sheriff’s offices are located in each national courthouse and serve the following areas:
• Waigani – Waigani National Court and serves Central, Gulf, West and Milne Bay.
• Lae – The National Courthouse Sheriff serves East and West Sepik respectively.
• Madang – Madang National Court.
• Kokopo – National Court Kokopo also serves Bougainville, Manus and New Ireland.
• Kimbe – Kimbe National Court.
• Mt Hagen – National Court Mt Hagen deals with Jiwaka.
• Wabag – Wabag National Court Sheriff’s Officers look after the Southern Highlands and Hela Provinces.
• Goroka – National Court of Goroka.
• Kundiawa – Kundiawa National Court.