The MOU approach is the key priority activity of Land Court Project, Magisterial Services under National Land Development Program (NLDP) to trigger critical stakeholder engagements in seven pilot provinces for rollout and mainstreaming with a core aim to develop and replicate activities around an effectively functioning PLDC.

PNG National Research Institute (PNG NRI) attended the signing of MOUs in three provinces through invitation from Magisterial Services to show support for the implementation of land court functions in seven pilot provinces under NLDP.

The tri-partied collaboration will be rolled out to other four provinces in 2018, which include National Capital District, Gulf, Western and Milne Bay.

PNG NRI has been involved in land research following the National Land Summit in 2005 on land access, land use, property development and land administration, which includes resolution of disputes associated with customary land. As a stakeholder, PNG NRI provides research support to Magisterial Services in promoting development of customary land and single land court system in the country.

The Deputy Chief Magistrate Land Court Mr Mark Selefkariu made a courtesy visit to former PNG NRI Director Dr Charles Yala on 8th February 2017. During the visit, he presented the Land Court Project Phase I Report to PNG NRI. The report stated several issues, including data file management and backlog of cases associated with customary land.

PNG NRI has committed to support Magisterial Services through research by including land court case file management project in the 2017 work plan. The main objectives of the research project were to investigate the existing process of handling land court data, examine issues surrounding storage and management of land court files, and develop effective strategy for managing
land court data.

Under the research project, Magisterial Services arranged PNG NRI to access file audits, storage facilities and data management systems in Lae, Port Moresby, Buka and Mount Hagen. The file management research report was completed in December 2017 and will be launched in the second quarter of 2018.

PNG NRI will continue to support Land Court Project at Magisterial Services through effective research and collaboration especially on streamlining of land dispute settlement functions in Papua New Guinea.

Thomas Wangi is a Research Fellow with the Property Sector Development Program at PNG NRI.

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