Clerk of Court of the District Courts

The Clerk of Court of District Courts

District Court Registries keep records of court cases and other court documents in a particular district court establishment. The primary responsibility of the Clerk of Court is to keep registers and books of records of matters pertaining to court cases in his/her (geographical) area of appointment.

The office of Clerk of Court is a statutory office because it is established by the District Courts Act section 18, a statute or law or Parliament. A Clerk of Court is appointed for each District Court establishment in the country and supported by a Deputy Clerk of Court and other clerks as needed.

Qualifications Appointment as Clerk of Court.

Presently, experienced and longtime officers in the District Courts especially in the Registry have been appointed as Clerks of Court. An important consideration in the appointment of Clerks of Courts is that a person must have some paralegal knowledge and/or be familiar with the judicial system and procedures in the judicial system of Papua New Guinea.

The Judicial and Legal Services Commission in consultation and/or upon recommendations from the Chief Magistrate and his management officially appoints a Clerk of Court for a specific location.

Provincial Clerks of Courts

Provincial Clerks Of Court are appointed for each provinces and are located at all provincial centres. The Provincial Clerks of Courts are senior Clerks of Courts and supervise the registry businesses of other Clerks of Courts located in the districts.

 Deputy Clerks of Court and other Clerks

Deputy Clerks of Court and other staff of the registries known generally as clerks, support the Clerk of Court in his/her responsibility and in performing other responsibilities as directed by the Clerk of Court for the effective and efficient running of court business in each district courts.

Other responsibilities

Apart from the primary responsibility of keeping records, Clerks of Courts perform other duties including administrative duties. These duties are outline below.

Procurement of Stationary

The Clerk of Court is responsible for placing orders for important and necessary stationeries for use at his/her district court location. She is also is also accountable for all moneys spend in this regard and thus must keep and show receipts and delivery dockets to show transactions in this regard.

Managing Petty Cash

A small amount as petty cash is provided to each district court as emergency money. The Clerk of Court manages this amount and accounts for its spending.

Managing Registry Staff

The Clerk of Court is responsible for the efficient and effective functioning of his/her district court registry as the head of the registry.

To accomplish this, the Clerk of Court has other lower ranking clerks who perform various tasks in the registry and it is his or her responsibility to allocate duties, give direction and generally oversee the performances of these clerks.

The Clerk of Court in consultation with the resident or senior magistrate at his/her location, is also responsible for providing reports to the Registrar in regard to  each of his/her registry clerks for appraisal or disciplinary purposes.

The Clerk of Court does not have the power to discipline a subordinate clerk. He/she can only provide a report on any misbehavior or indiscipline of a subordinate clerk to the Registrar who alone can penalize or recommend penalties for registry staff.

Arranging District Court Circuits

Where there are no resident magistrates, magistrate go on circuits to hear and determine case. The Clerks of Courts in each district court are responsible for submitting requesting for court circuits in consultation and with the resident or senior magistrate in his/her location.

When a Clerk of Court in a district court location sees a need for a court circuit by way of statistics of number of registered or pending cases, he or she will make the request with the endorsement of the resident or senior magistrate in his/her location to the Chief Magistrate.

When the request is approved by the Chief Magistrate, The Clerk of Court is then responsible for making arrangements for the success of the circuit. He/she will contact all stake holders to inform them of the circuit such as the Police Prosecutor, Correctional Services and Parties in cases among others. The Clerk is also responsible to organize logistics such as transport and accommodation.

Co-Arranging of National Court Circuits

Where there aren’t resident judges, judge’s travel on National Court circuits. When a national court circuit is organized, Clerks of Court are very much involved. The Associate to the particular judge on circuit liaises with Clerks of Courts to make nearly similar arrangements as the district court circuits.

The Clerks however, do not request for a National Court Circuit. Judges normally schedule themselves in a year to travel to locations without judges for their circuits.

Manage Assets and Properties

The Clerks of Court is the immediate manager and caretaker of all assets and properties including vehicles, buildings and office equipment.

Supervise Security Personnel

The immediate supervision of the security personal on the ground is the responsibility of the Clerk of Court. The security personnel is accountable to the Clerk of Court.

Oaths, Affirmations and Statutory Declarations Act

All Clerk of Courts by virtue of their office and as empowered by Oaths, Affirmations and Statutory Declarations Act can administer an oath or affirm various legal documents as stated in the act . The Clerks of Courts are also Commissioner of Oaths and can administer a Statutory Declarations made under the Oaths, Affirmations and Statutory Declarations Act

Conclusion

Clerks Of Courts perform a vital role in the effective and efficient delivery of justice to the people of Papua New Guinea by managing the operations of each registry in each district court establishments.


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