A LOW LAWYER rate in Papua New Guinea is hampering access to justice, while in other South Pacific countries many lawyers have no understanding of their financial services legislation obligations.
These findings are made in a new report released by the South Pacific Lawyers’ Association as part of the first comprehensive study into the needs of developing law societies and bar associations in the South Pacific.
The survey reveals a number of findings that will be used to assist the South Pacific law societies improve the quality of services they provide to members and the community, said SPLA Chair Ross Ray QC.
“Specifically the research gives an insight into the legal profession in the South Pacific and highlights the current status of legal services and resources available.
“PNG, with a population of over six million people, has only 591 lawyers.
“The research suggests this low lawyer to population ratio is common within the South Pacific indicating an obvious access to justice issue for the region.
“This issue, combined with a lack of infrastructure, resources and training means the long term sustainability of the profession will be compromised unless immediate action is taken.”
Source: The New Lawyer, 26 October